Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Oct. 16 Don Mattingly postgame interview

Q. Talk about Zack and what Zack did today in a crucial game for you guys?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, obviously tremendous. Started and looked a little rough early there. Carpenter went out there, Holliday's ball drops and it looks like we're in trouble. He gets a big punch out there and then gets Yadi to hit into the double‑play. Then the rest of the day kind of set the tone. The one, obviously, the one inning in there that we get the two and they get it right back. But from there, they've settled down and he does what he does.

Q.  In a series when the long ball has been at a premium, for you guys especially, can you just talk about how comforting it was to finally get some sock?

DON MATTINGLY:  Well, Adrian's first homer was huge. I felt like we get the two runs, and then they come right back and get him right back. But then Adrian pops one for us and puts us on top and gives us that lead right back. From there, Zack kind of took over, then Carl kind of one at a time. Then Carl hits his; A.J., and then another one after that for two for Adrian.             So obviously we hadn't been hitting them. We know the ball carried here during day, but it was just one of those days that we were a little better, got some runs, good feeling.

Q.  Not just the home run today, but it seems like all your postseason Crawford has been giving you something every day. How important has that been for you? Was there anything that you could point to that happened the last week of the season that got him on this little roll?

DON MATTINGLY:  I don't know if there was anything this last week. I know the last week of the season he started running for us. I think it was like he had a bunch of little stuff during the course of the year, back a couple different times, a couple of different stints with a couple slide hamstring that's kind of slowed him down.

It's almost like when he came back he kind of stopped running. That last week of the season it seemed like he kind of decided that he needed to go, and he started stealing some bags late in the year. Then he's kind of been on the home run tear through the playoffs. I think it's four, right? So he's been on a little bit of a run here in the playoffs, and it's been good to have him up top there and doing that for us.

Q.  The other day Wainwright and some of the Cardinals were upset with the way your guys enjoyed some of the events that happened. Can that kind of create a boost for a guy like Gonzalez, or do we make too much out of that?

DON MATTINGLY:  I don't think it's ‑‑ I think we make a little bit out of it. I think guys read that stuff back and forth. But I don't feel like it's been like a boost for us. I think we just know we've got to win games. Today, obviously, our back was to the wall and this makes it a lot more fun for us when we get on the plane.

Q. Could you talk about the fact that, obviously, you don't want to be down 3‑2, but you're going back and you've got your left‑handers going and maybe the best pitcher in baseball?

DON MATTINGLY:  I think if you look at it now we've kind of become America's team because everyone wants to see a seventh game. Probably even the fans in St. Louis would like to see a seventh game, so I figure that everybody's for us to win on Friday night. So obviously it's a pretty good feeling with Clayton pitching on Friday. So we breathe till then. We feel like Clayton pretty much is going to keep you in the game and give you a chance if we can put some runs up. We know their guy's really good, so it will be fun.

Q.  Good luck with that theory about St. Louis.

DON MATTINGLY:  Yeah, that's my home area. So maybe my hometown really wants to see a seventh game.

Q.  I was going to ask you about Zack. There was a time way before you guys signed him, but people questioned the big market, big game. What do you notice about his personality and demeanor that seems to have lent itself to big games even though people didn't think it would?

DON MATTINGLY: I think Zack's really ‑‑ well, obviously, this is my first year being around Zack, but we've just seen none of it. You see it every once in a while. They've introduced him twice here and he doesn't go out for that. I don't know what that's all about.

But he's pretty much just focused all the time. He's so competitive about getting better and making pitches and with everything that he does. I think it just lends to him ‑‑ I think he loves competing, to be honest with you. I think it makes it easy for him. Doesn't really matter where it is. It's just the fact that he's competing, trying to make pitches and get people out. I think he likes studying and knowing how to get a guy out and what he's trying to do to get him out.

The hitting part, he loves that part of it. I think the stuff that we had heard is just kind of like null and void with him. He's just super competitive, and it's just been fun to watch.

Q.  Just back to Adrian for a second. He did come back at Wainwright on the Mickey Mouse thing and kind of owned it a little bit and had some fun with it. Today he comes up with the big home run, comes off the field, makes a gesture to get your own guys fired up. Do you think he got the team a little to rally around him there and became the guy to kind of stand up?

DON MATTINGLY:  I think the fact that ‑‑ Adrian's been doing what he's doing all year long. So, obviously, a big hit the other night in our win, big hits today. He's always been that guy. He does it a lot differently than most of the guys. He's not quite the play‑around near as much. He's more serious. He does his work, goes about his business, kind of day‑in, day‑out consistently doing his thing. He's always been that guy, really, that you rely on. You don't have to worry about. So him just doing well, it's what he does.

Q.  Has the past couple days been a new side to him though than what you've seen during the season, personality‑wise?

DON MATTINGLY:  It seems that he's kind of stepped up here. Maybe the fact that Hanley has not been able to do what he's been doing in the past, and Adrian maybe feels that responsibility. But I think maybe it's the time of year. He's getting more attention for it, but he's been doing this all year long for us. It's something that we've seen all year long.

Q.  At the time the Dodgers and the Red Sox made the trade for Carl Crawford and for Adrian Gonzalez there was a lot of criticism, particularly the price tag attached. I'm just curious what you think a game like this says about that trade and the way the Dodgers have been constructed in general?

DON MATTINGLY: I heard some of the stuff. A lot of times when a guy gets hurt, you tend to put him on the back burner. A few years ago Carl was a free agent and he was probably one of the most sought‑after guys in baseball from the things he was able to do. He goes to Boston. Doesn't seem like a good fit. He gets hurt and misses a lot of games. All of a sudden, you become a bad guy.

So Carl coming here, I think, is a little relief for him to be able to come out here, just come play. It's still been a little bit of a rough year, I think, from the standpoint of some injuries and things like that. But this postseason has helped Carl shine and show what he can do.

How we're constructed, it's just been the way our ownership went about it. It was what they promised the fans. They've basically done everything that they said they were going to do. From reconstructing all this area and our locker rooms and training facility and cages and what they would do for the fans and they were going to put a winning product out there.

Q.  So you say you could win this game without the high‑priced talent you brought in here?

DON MATTINGLY:  I think it's just talent period. You don't win these games without talent if it's young or old. The guys that are high‑priced now were young guys, not high‑priced at some point. These guys have just earned their way and the system gets you paid, you know, the free agency and just the way baseball is, right. So the fact that they're getting paid, to me, has nothing to do with it.

Q.  Kershaw has obviously been great for a long time now. Wacha's only given up one earned run in his two playoff starts. How would you assess that match‑up?

DON MATTINGLY:  Obviously, pretty good. They were both good last time in St. Louis. I think everybody kind of complained about they couldn't see. We're going to get a night game so everybody should be able to see. But I'm thinking their stuff's probably both going to be pretty good again. We'll see.

Their guy's been really good. Our guy has been really good all year long too. It ought to be a good game. Again, I know everybody wants to see a seventh game, so...

Q.  You're two wins away from the World Series. For you, the further you're getting along in the playoffs as manager are you feeling more comfortable, more confident? How would you explain it?

DON MATTINGLY:  I feel fairly comfortable. Obviously, the one thing I do like is when you're out there, it's baseball. No matter what the game is, it's still baseball. You're trying to make baseball decisions to do what you have to do to win. Obviously didn't like being down 3‑1, and now not necessarily thrilled about having another elimination game. But I feel pretty good about having Clayton pitching on Friday night and our chances of getting a seventh game.