Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Oct. 18 Don Mattingly pregame interview

Q. Skipper, is Hanley playing tonight or is he in the starting lineup? And if he's not, does this put more emphasis on manufacturing runs as opposed to previously?

DON MATTINGLY: Hanley's not in there. He was still -- I'm still 0 for on my predictions of medical health going into the next day. All the beat guys get that. Nobody else does. So he was worse today coming in. I thought he'd be better. So he's not in the lineup.

The emphasis always is trying to score runs where, again, the game dictates. You feel like runs are going to be at a premium with both these guys pitching. So we're going to try to get one any way we can. So I don't know if it's more emphasis, but it's always an emphasis trying to get that run.

Q. Is he available to pinch hit, do anything? If so, how do you decide when to fire that bullet?

DON MATTINGLY: We're hoping he'll be available to pinch hit. Obviously, we didn't feel like he could swing right now or we'd have him in there.

I told some of the radio guys before I had come in, if something would change before game time, we'd switch up. All of a sudden he's trying to do things and he could get loose, he may be in there. But I don't anticipate that.

So that being said, it's going to be a matter of can he do anything? As the game goes on, are we able to get him loose, and him feeling like he can give us one at bat. Again, the last couple of games, the bats haven't been good, so just to have him go up there doesn't necessarily do us any good unless he can swing the bat. So we'll just kind of go with it and see what it looks like.

Q. When you say Hanley you thought would be better but he's worse today, how would you describe, define worse?

DON MATTINGLY: Just going with the conversation from Hanley. Again, I expected yesterday off and kind of a full day today, that he'd be a little better. But I think maybe the lack of activity may even have just gotten stiffer or tighter. He didn't really say anything like that. Just more that he feels worse today than did he yesterday.

Q. Do you anticipate your guys being a little more comfortable with Wacha the second time around?

DON MATTINGLY: I do. I don't know if that does us any good necessarily. He's got great stuff. Nobody else has been able to figure him out and been able to do anything with him. Pittsburgh has seen him back to back and didn't do anything with him.

But I do think our at bats will be more comfortable from the standpoint of seeing him before, seeing him for the second time. I think they'll be in the same boat too. They'll see Kershaw back to back kind of. And also I think the conditions will be better for hitting.

I mean, the other day there was a shadow and the umpires were out, and that was a bad day to see all the way around. So I think both teams will see the ball better today. I expect the at bats to be more come competitive. Not that there are a lot of hits or anything going on, but I think they'll be more competitive from just fighting at bats where can you foul balls off. You're just going to see better, and that always helps.

Q. Talk about the thought process in moving Puig up in the lineup, and do you feel like the fact that he was batting sixth for the first time maybe took some pressure off him when he was having success there?

DON MATTINGLY: We're just trying to put the best lineup up to give us the best chance to win. Yasiel's at bats have gotten better. Trying to separate Dre and Adrian. Really today I anticipate moving Adrian to third and hitting Hanley fourth, and leaving basically Puig where he's at. But with Hanley out, it's just balances our lineup better.

Q. You've played in a lot of big games and you've also managed some big games. How do you embrace these moments?

DON MATTINGLY: I think, you know, I kind of said it the other day goofing around, but I think these are the games you want to play. Your guys get excited. You've worked all year long for this. Kershaw and Wacha obviously, this is a cool match up. These are two quality guys going at it. Two teams that want to move on.

St. Louis, to me, obviously I'm from around here. I know it's a great baseball town. It's just good baseball. Being in the playoffs is fun. I know it's serious and everybody's trying to win, but it's a time you should have fun and enjoy what we're doing.

Q. Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen have been your two go to shutdown guys, would you consider using either one of them for more than three outs?

DON MATTINGLY: They already -- the other day -- we were more than three outs the other day. Yeah, we were more than three outs the other day. So we'll consider doing whatever it takes to win this game today. We're not going to ask Kenley to throw three innings or anything else. But all our guys are pretty much in with everything we want to do.

So this is not a normal game from the standpoint of you wouldn't ask your closer anything more than four outs. You wouldn't ask Wilson to do anything different. This is a game that you ask everybody to be different.

Q. Before the series, Ned (Colletti) mentioned that you had changed up the way you were scouting for the playoffs this year versus '08 '09 and in that you had the advance scouts continue scouting during the series and give you some daily insight, advice. How useful has that been? What's that been like as far as getting the team better prepared?

DON MATTINGLY: It's been great. When they go to that pick and roll, we've got another play for the pick and roll offense. We change our defense a little bit. Finding different ways to get Adrian open in the corner.

Honestly, there hasn't been -- we're looking day to day and talking day to day. I think the difference for us is meeting, going through their lineup with some of the scouts being around and going through different combinations of guys that we could use and things like that. It hasn't been -- it still feels like baseball to me. So there hasn't really been major changes. They're still going to try to pitch us a certain way. We still need to be able to get key hits, make pitches. So there hasn't been a lot different.

The scouts have been around which has been nice to be able to -- the scouts, Pat Corrales has been able to go through lineups, combination of pitching, where we would use this guy or that guy, and it's been good.