Q. Obviously a tough conclusion to the series. Can you first start with your thoughts on Kershaw tonight and just how the overall series ended for you guys this evening?
DON MATTINGLY: Sure, let me start, I just want to congratulate the Cardinals, their organization, their ballclub. We felt like they were better than us this series. But they, obviously, are a tremendous club and they'll be a great representative in the World Series in the National League.
On that, Clayton, obviously, this is coming to a crash. You're optimistic coming into this game, hoping to look at a Game 7. You've got Clayton going, so it's funny how the season, everything you do comes to a screeching halt all of a sudden, so we'll deal with that.
Obviously, Clayton seemed like early he was okay, and then after the Carpenter at‑bat, I felt like that was just a tremendous at‑bat. Just kept fouling off pitches, both sides of the field fouling balls back, and then that ended up being a double.
From there, it seemed like the flood gates opened. Carlos gets the hit. Just didn't seem to be able to stop the tide at that point. Took a lot out of him. That was a lot of pitches that inning. He goes out, throws a zero the next. Trying to get him through one more, and just wasn't there.
Q. I know you care so much about your team and your players. Does it feel worse for yourself not getting to the World Series still in your career or for your guys?
DON MATTINGLY: No, this is a team thing. It's disappointing that ‑‑ again, we talked about it in there a little bit. It's probably not the time to think about all the things of where you need to improve and things like that. You'll do that during the winter. But it's disappointing because of all the work that you put in from last winter and planning and trying to put a club together that has some depth and trying to plan if this guy gets hurt or that guy gets hurt, just trying to put all that together. Going through spring, the long season, and then it just comes to a crash. So it's disappointing for all of us. We put a lot of time in. The players put a lot of time in, and it's what you play for to make that next step.
Obviously, I'm really proud of my club. I felt like these guys hung in all year long. They were a great group to be around. I felt like these guys have a lot of fun, but they do get down to business, sometimes a little bit unconventional. But they do love to play, and I think they represent the Dodger organization well. Proud of my club.
Q. When you see something like the 11‑pitch at‑bat to Carpenter, is that a warning sign to you of what's to come or do you feel like that was more like that's the type of at‑bat that changes the way the trajectory of the game is going?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, at the time when you're watching it, you're just like ‑‑ to be honest with you, as the at‑bat goes, you look at the pitch count in the beginning of the inning and you're seeing where you're at with Clayton, and it just keeps going. You're looking at 8, 9, 10, I think it ended up being an 11‑pitch at‑bat, and that ends with a knock. It hurt a lot more when they end up with a hit there. So instead of being two outs, there's one, and then you've got to regroup.
I'm just watching. At that point it's not really a warning sign anything's going bad. These guys are tough. It seemed like Carpenter, as the series went on, he got his stroke back and his confidence back further and further as we went into the series. I know he struggled the last series and a little bit late in the year, but as the series went on, he got better and better.
Then you get into Carlos, and all their guys, they battle you. They had a game here early in the season that they really made Clayton work too. These guys fight off pitches. They foul balls off with men in scoring position. They take their hits. They stay in the middle of the field, and they just don't give up at‑bats. We knew that coming in that these guys are tough. I think they hit .3‑something with men in scoring position as a team. So it really wasn't a sign, other than just you had your hands full, and we're getting a lot of pitches in that one inning all of a sudden.
Q. Given how Clayton was able to focus so well, were you surprised that after that point he wasn't able to refocus?
DON MATTINGLY: No, he's focused. It wasn't anything to do with his focus. I think he threw 40 pitches that inning. That's a lot. Obviously, on this night we're going to let him go a little bit. But that's just a lot of pitches to recover from. I don't think it has anything to do with focus with him.
Really, we could have been out of that game with three runs. Just down three if ‑‑ I'm not even going to go into the reasons why, but we didn't score, so it doesn't matter. If you don't score, you can't win.
His focus is always there.
Q. Is it hard for you not to let yourself think about what this series would have been like if Hanley was a hundred percent after getting hit in the first game? Is it hard for you not to think about that?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, maybe when you look back, when you have some time. But I think when you're in it, you're just trying to find a way to win a game, knowing that you can't look at it like that in the series. You're just trying to win every day and you trust your guys that there's a way to win. If we come up with the key hit ‑‑ like I said, when we left here if we would have got a couple of key hits in the first two games, we're up 2‑0 and we leave here. So with Hanley or not swinging well, we're still at that point. There's other guys that can get a hit. They just basically shut us down here in St. Louis. We didn't do much here.
Q. Obviously it's a tough loss and end to the season, but trying to look at some positives. What are some things to look forward to in the off‑season and then next season?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, it's a little too early, too quick for me to start thinking about next season. But there was a lot of good things that happened through the course of the season. Again, it's just too quick to start thinking about next year.
Q. You touched on it a little bit. Your thoughts on Michael Wacha? Just how tough was he the second time compared to the first time around when he beat Kershaw 1‑0?
DON MATTINGLY: We didn't get a lot better, so obviously we haven't solved that riddle yet. He's a guy with the big fastball, good curveball and a change. We just haven't been able to solve him yet. He's been really good. So, again, there's nothing really negative to say about him. He's been tough against us.
Q. You have a team in the postseason. Do you have any thoughts there? Is it a distraction when there are a lot of questions about your situation too? How do you deal with that situation?
DON MATTINGLY: It's been fine. I mean, it's been that way the whole year. The postseason was actually a lot of fun because it was good for me from the standpoint of just concentration and focus. It's good to know that you can get in these games and it doesn't really change ‑‑ didn't speed up on me. That's a good feeling to know that I can sit here and watch these games. You all can question this move or that move, but nothing really caught me by surprise. I didn't feel overwhelmed by it. It was really a good feeling to know that you can get in there and basically slow it down and not get caught up in what game it is or anything else.
From my standpoint, it was a good feeling just to have that feeling in the postseason. Obviously, this isn't where we want to end it. But we're able to win a series in Atlanta. Thought we played well at times in this series.
Q. Someone who has been following your team all year probably wouldn't have to ask this, but moments like that, what we see in right field from Puig, such an exciting player, is that from becoming a little too excitable in the moment for him? Is that something that can calm down with maturity?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, sitting there watching it tonight, and it's what we've kind of watched all year long, it's like you don't have time to work on it really. You kind of go over it and you try to teach. You just continue to try to teach. Not just him, but all of us, really, you know?
Yasiel gets excited. He's going to try to make plays all the time, and that's the way he is. But we've got to do a better job, I think, of helping him to mature and understand what we want done and the way to do it.