Oct. 5 Don Mattingly workout day interview
Q. Do you give any additional advice to a pitcher that's taken the hill that happens to be a rookie in terms of anything else that you would do differently than any other guy taking the mound?
DON MATTINGLY: Hyun‑Jin, no way. He's been pitching big all year long. Every time we've had a big game and a big situation for him it seemed like a lot of tension, he's pitched well.
So we feel that this guy's just kind of ‑‑ and he's not really a rookie. He's pitched a lot of big games. He's not a first‑year professional. He's pitched a lot of big games.
Q. In the spirit of full disclosure after the game last night, can you go through the seventh inning in your head again, the decisions you made again, is there anything you would do differently or a move you regret?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, I really don't feel like going through the game again, honestly looking at Game 3. But I think the situation in the game last night, no matter which way I go, it could be questioned. If I leave Withrow in to pitch and give up a hit there, I'm going to question myself and I'm going to be like why didn't I use Paco? So it's one of those things that if move works, if the match‑up works, it's good. If it doesn't, it's bad. So there is really nothing other than it not going the way I want it, that I would change.
But obviously, I'm going to go back through and look at every game. But I don't look at it like we did anything crazy or something that we haven't been doing all year long.
Q. Why do you think that Hyun‑Jin has been so successful coming over here and pitching very, very well?
DON MATTINGLY: I think it's just basically the guy can pitch. We've talked about a lot the reasons why, locates with the fastball, both sides of the plate, can go up and down. He's got a good changeup that he can go either side, and he's got ‑‑ when his breaking ball is good, he's really at another level. So it's really more that he's able to exploit anybody that we want. If we need to get the ball to a certain side of the plate, he can do it.
I think that is just the key to pitching, basically being able to change speeds, locate, use both sides of the plate.
Q. The extra bullpen session for Ryu, was there something you were looking for?
DON MATTINGLY: Hyun‑Jin, just when he gets longer, he's going to throw a little bit, so nothing that we're concerned about.
Q. I know Ricky has penciled in as the Game 4 starter, but depending on what happens in this game, is there any chance that Kershaw comes back for that Game 5 if it gets to that? Or I'm sorry, Game 4?
DON MATTINGLY: We haven't thought about that. Well, shouldn't say we haven't thought about it because you're always going to have to think about everything. But right now we're scheduled with Ricky, and that's the way we're going to go.
Q. Would it change based on how this game goes? Could it?
DON MATTINGLY: Obviously, again, you're going to go through every scenario. But really we're looking at Ricky as Game 4.
Q. A couple years ago there was a lot of focus on the smaller crowds here, and this year's been a totally different story. From your perspective seeing this place packed again, what's that been like for you and what are you looking forward to for tomorrow night's game atmosphere here?
DON MATTINGLY: Looking for it to be hopefully energetic and electric. It seems like the fans this year have been excited about our club. They seem to like our guys. I think Dodger fans in general have always been really supportive of our club.
But I think there's been a little bit of a different energy this year. The fans seem to have kind of connected with our players. So we're just looking forward to it being a good atmosphere and us to go out and perform and do our thing.
Q. There's really been a lot of expectations this year on Adrian Gonzalez, not only on the field but off the field. You've talked a lot about he's been the one guy that's been there from start to finish. Can you talk about how you've seen him perform under pressure both on and off the field and leading your team?
DON MATTINGLY: I think Adrian's been ‑‑ he's kind of been there, like you said, from start to finish. Adrian's, I think, just kind of solid, steady approach is really what helps him at all times because he kind of prepares for each game pretty much the same way. From Game 1 through now he's going to be watching video. He's going to be working on his swing. He's going to have an a approach for that guy.
Adrian, at this point, he's played a lot of baseball and doesn't seem to be overwhelmed by where we're at. You feel like you're just going to get a soiled performance and good thinking and all that with Adrian.
From the standpoint that you look at him, he's such a pro the way he does everything. The way he's trying to help the other guys, the way he's preparing himself, you know, the way he would take a loss or the way he handles wins. All of that is such a solid approach for a big league player.
Q. I think one of the common threads between your team and the Braves is you both have solid shortstops and obviously they have different skill sets, but they've both done damage in this series. How important is it for a playoff team to have that sort of rock at that position, and how much has Hanley opened your eyes to what a shortstop is capable of doing?
DON MATTINGLY: Hanley's a different animal, really, from the standpoint of most of the time you don't look at the shortstop at the offensive player that he is. It's more of a total middle of the order guy with power. You always talk about being solid up the middle. I think the better clubs you talk about being solid through the middle defensively. Hanley just brings a different dimension.
Their guy is young, tremendous, some of the plays their guys make is off the charts. But looking at our guy, I think he's off the charts from the standpoint of what he does offensively. I don't care what position he's playing, he's about as good with the bat as ‑‑ he's got to be one of the top guys out there.
Q. With all the focus on Puig throughout the year and entering this playoff series, do you think he's answered some questions with the first couple games the way he's playing going first and third in Game 1, infield single in Game 2, and just the overall impact that he's had?
DON MATTINGLY: I don't know. We just kind of see this all the time. We see him when he's really patient. We see him when he's more aggressive. I think he's showing us how he kind of impacts the game from the standpoint that he can be really aggressive like you said and go first to third. So, I mean, I think we're seeing a young player.
I was thinking about him today. No matter what, everybody always asks questions, a guy was asking me yesterday about him swinging and his strike zone discipline or whatever. I think we're looking at a 22‑year‑old kid playing in the playoffs for the first time, and I think it's better off just to look at him as a great talent, and a great player; but he is 22.
So I prefer to look at him as a young guy getting better, his first experience in the big leagues, first experience in the playoffs. I think he's handling it really well.
Q. Is Ethier any closer to possibly entering the starting lineup?
DON MATTINGLY: We're still not looking at Dre at this point like that. It would be a great surprise if we get him to be in the outfield this series. But he's swung the bat well off the bench for us, and he's kind of doing what we intended him to be able to do this series. If we get anymore that, I think it would be just a nice surprise.
Q. Just to go back to Ryu, there were reports that you were watching, but also Stan and ElAttrache, was there any or is there any concern that can he make that start tomorrow?
DON MATTINGLY: We have no concerns about him. He's starting tomorrow.
Q. Why were Stan and Dr. Neal watching him then?
DON MATTINGLY: Stan's pretty much always watching him. And I think Neal just loves being in the bullpen down there in Atlanta. It's nice. It's cool there, the whole thing. So it's good. Full disclosure.
Q. In a short series, do you do anything from a mental, emotional standpoint with this team to make sure it's not a regular season game to try to elevate them?
DON MATTINGLY: I don't think we have to. Honestly, I think once you get to this ‑‑ during the regular season there are a lot of times you try to kind of do one thing or another to try to keep your club even or keep them playing at a higher level.
Once you get to the playoffs, these guys are ‑‑ everybody's excited to be here. Any bumps and bruises and aches, they seem to go away at game time. It's just a different emotion with the playoffs. There is nothing you really have to do here. If there's anything, it's if we're doing something out of the ordinary for us, if we're trying too hard or doing too much or trying too much. It's almost like you'd have to pay attention to the guys trying to do too much than not being ready.
Q. I know we don't want to go too much back to the game last night, but besides what happened in the 7th inning, there were a lot of runners that got on base that got hit into a double‑play and you couldn't get them around. Was there anything that could have worked there, or did you hit into the double‑play at the wrong time?
DON MATTINGLY: I don't think we changed anything, all the stuff we were talking about were baseball things the night before. We talked about from the beginning, can we make a pitch, get a guy out in the key situation, are we going to be able to get a key hit. It is still going to be baseball. The first night we get a bunch of two‑out hits. A.J., Mark Ellis, Adrian, we get two RBIs.
Yesterday we weren't able to get that key hit we needed. We don't get the key out, they do. They get a two RBI from Johnson. Simmons drives in the run. I think it was two, maybe the one. I think it was two. And it's back to the same thing. Can we execute when we need to? Can we do the things we need to do to win a game?
Q. How is Brian Wilson added to your bullpen? It seems like he's maybe now the set‑up guy. Just what has he brought to your pen with his performance on the field and also his experience?
DON MATTINGLY: I think it's exactly the main thing that you're saying. Performance on the field has just been his numbers are good. Lefty, righty, he's getting basically everybody out when he pitches. He's solidified that inning for us and enabled us to shorten the game to if you're now let's try to get to Kenley in the ninth, and you're mixing and matching until you get there; and Willie changes it to more mix and match to get to him with the lead. So you're getting those last two innings off.
The experience has been he's a guy that's obviously been there. A little bit of a different animal, but he never seems too stressed about anything and keeps everything pretty loose in our clubhouse.
It really just adds to the mixture of the guys that we have. You know, when you start throwing all these guys together, it's a pretty good melting pot.
Q. Are you planning any lineup changes, or is that pretty much the way you're going to roll with it?
DON MATTINGLY: I feel pretty good about it. I don't feel like there are a whole lot of changes that we could make. We still like Yasiel back in the middle, being able to be dangerous in the middle of our order. It lengthens us out a little bit and balances us. So we're pretty much going to be rolling with that.