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Oct. 16 Don Mattingly pregame interview

Q: It seems since Hanley and Ethier are in the lineup, they're healthy and ready to go. Was there any convincing on their part to get into the lineup, or do you think they'll be ready to play?

DON MATTINGLY: I think they'll be ready to play. We talk about these situations a lot that, one guy just to say I'll go out there. And there was really no convincing this morning. Everybody was; I came in, first talk with the trainers was Hanley feels better today. He's good to go. Dre felt good to go. So it was no real hold up today.

Q: From your eyeballs, what do you see offensively from a standpoint of the struggles? How much of it is your bats, their pitching at this stage? What do you see?

DON MATTINGLY: I see a little bit of both. We're always going to give when you're at this level, both teams are going to have good pitching to get here. I think that's what we're seeing on both sides is runs aren't easy to come by. That's pretty much it.

I mean, we've given ourselves some chances. I think when we roll into three double plays last night, you get guys out there and you can't get that one more hit to extend the inning and put a little more pressure on them, and that too.

Kozma makes a nice play on one last night. You know, you just don't know how to qualify it, necessarily. But obviously, that combination of good pitching, and us just not getting that key hit.

Q: It seems since Hanley and Ethier are in the lineup, they're healthy and ready to go. Was there any convincing on their part to get into the lineup, or do you think they'll be ready to play?

DON MATTINGLY: I think they'll be ready to play. We talk about these situations a lot that, one guy just to say I'll go out there. And there was really no convincing this morning. Everybody was; I came in, first talk with the trainers was Hanley feels better today. He's good to go. Dre felt good to go. So it was no real hold up today.

Q: From your eyeballs, what do you see offensively from a standpoint of the struggles? How much of it is your bats, their pitching at this stage? What do you see?

DON MATTINGLY: I see a little bit of both. We're always going to give when you're at this level, both teams are going to have good pitching to get here. I think that's what we're seeing on both sides is runs aren't easy to come by. That's pretty much it.

I mean, we've given ourselves some chances. I think when we roll into three double plays last night, you get guys out there and you can't get that one more hit to extend the inning and put a little more pressure on them, and that too.

Kozma makes a nice play on one last night. You know, you just don't know how to qualify it, necessarily. But obviously, that combination of good pitching, and us just not getting that key hit.

Q: When you played, how unusual was it to have a 95 mile an hour guy come out of the bullpen? Now it seems pretty commonplace especially with this team you're playing. And how has that changed hitting in the game?

DON MATTINGLY: I don't know how much it's changed, because I'm not quite sure because there really wasn't that many 95 mile an hour guys. But I don't know if the radars were the same. Maybe they're just more accurate and the guys that use to be 92 were 95. So we're not sure what's what. I don't know if it's really changed hitting, but there are definitely a lot more good arms. It seems like every team you see there are a number of guys that are 95 or something. We bring Withrow out and he hits 97, 98.

So there are a number of guys that you see climbing that ladder. I think guys basically just get used to it. I don't know if it's changed hitting, but the pitching has definitely, definitely gotten better.

Q: Is Hanley going to be padded up? Are there any adjustment that he's going to be making here today because obviously 0 for 3 yesterday, not what he was looking for. Do you see the Cardinals trying to exploit him at the plate at all?

DON MATTINGLY: No adjustments as far as padding or anything like that. I think we've talked about this once or twice, but the padding is not really the issue. The padding is really there just if he falls on it or gets hit again; it would give him some protection. It's not really keeping him from hurting when he's swinging or something like that.

The last at bat he ends up taking three fastballs, so that's not really exploiting Hanley. You don't really want to throw him fastballs. But it kind of tells me more that he was afraid to pull the trigger last night.

Again, day to day he seems that he's different from one day to the next. He's saying today he feels better than yesterday. He wants to go. We'll see if they try to do anything different.

But I think they're going to pitch the way they pitch, not knowing that I don't think you're going to take any chances really. You're going to try to get him out the way you had a game plan to get him out.

Q: A.J. and some of the other players were talking last night about being more aggressive and trying to get more runs in today. How can you be more aggressive when their staff has come up with the great pitch at just the right time?

DON MATTINGLY: We talk about being aggressive. We want to be aggressive in the strike zone and be really ready to hit that first pitch. Again, it's all balls in the strike zone, and that is the key. Again, I look at Yadi; he does a really good job of knowing when to get ahead in the count and when to use his breaking ball if he feels like you're going to be aggressive. So it's always cat and mouse back and forth. Is this guy going to be aggressive first pitch? Do I try to get ahead? Or do I feel like he's going to try to jump this first pitch and that's where we have to run something in or use the breaking ball. So it's just cat and mouse. We want to be aggressive all the time, but we want to be aggressive in the strike zone with what we want to do in the game plan.

Q: Since it's a must win times three, how would you describe the attitude in the clubhouse right now and if it's any different?

DON MATTINGLY: Seems pretty good. They're still playing cards and dominos and same things are going on. These guys are fairly they seem fairly relaxed. I think we know what we have ahead of us. So, again, I look back to the season, and we ask these guys to put pressure on themselves all the time, ask them to put pressure on themselves every day that you have to feel like you have to win today.

So if you get into a situation like this, it really should be normal. We're here to win a game today. Obviously, we know if you don't win today, you go home. But still the mentality should be every day. We come to play today; we're winning today. If you put that pressure on yourself daily, then this pressure is no different.

Q: Coming back to Hanley, he was telling us last night that he yesterday felt more pain than the prior day. How is he going to avoid the pain today?

DON MATTINGLY: Again, this thing is changing kind of daily it seems like it goes back and forth. I don't know if he irritated it yesterday during BP. In BP he was swinging the bat good, then I saw him swing late and kind of grab his side. So I don't know if something happened in BP yesterday that irritated it and then it kind of set it off. Hopefully it calms down overnight. He's getting some treatment. I'm sure he'll try to do something to take the edge off a little bit of the pain, and we'll see where he's at. I think everybody knows the importance of the game. He wants to be a part of it. He thinks he can do something for us, so he's in there.

Q: Hanley looked like he was in obvious pain yesterday when he was swinging the bat. How much of him being in the lineup today is you feeling he's the best option for you at shortstop, and how much of it is you feel you owe him the opportunity to play given what he's done for you guys to get here?

DON MATTINGLY: I feel like he's the best option. If Hanley's going to be ready to swing the bat we've seen it the first day, ends up throwing two hits out there. They weren't exactly bullets, but they were still two hits. He knows what he's doing; and if he's capable of swinging the bat today, then he's our best option.

Q: In the ninth inning, you had Ethier there on first base. Why didn't you pinch run for him? He doesn't look like he's moving too well on the bases. Maybe he had some better options?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, we're two runs down. So that run doesn't mean anything. So we're station to station at that point. If we get to Uribe or Ellis, and we're two runs down, then we'd use Dee. We wouldn't use Dee until we get to that winning run or tieing run, so that would be a wasted runner right there.

Q: Did you feel like there was anything more Andre could have done to avoid that double play there?

DON MATTINGLY: When you look back, that's a tough situation because if he goes backwards, the guy throws the ball to first, and then he's stuck at second. So it's either it looks like he's trying to slow down and get himself slowed down enough, but, again, you either try to get by. If you go backwards you're stuck too because then you throw the ball to first, you get the out, and then you're out in the run down. It's really not as easy as get yourself in a run down. Now if they chase you and he's another step, if he can stop a step quicker and the guy's still trying to tag him, that just buys Yasiel another step. You know what I mean?

Q: Did you feel like his injury was a problem there?

DON MATTINGLY: No, not really. I think if he stops too early, the guy just throws the ball to first. If I stop too early and you don't come after me, then I'm dead at second anyway. So there is a fine line where you're trying to be close enough where the guy's going to tag you, can I break it up that way? When he comes after you, you have to hopefully try to be able to back pedal enough to buy Yasiel a step.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.