Oct. 6 Mike Matheny pregame interview
Q. Before I ask, do you have a lineup you can pass along?
MIKE MATHENY: Lineup is Carpenter leading off, Beltran, Holliday, Molina, Freese, Adams, then it goes to Jay and Kozma.
Q. To follow on that, obviously moving Adams, does that have to do with match ups and the same with insertion of Kozma, is that mostly a left and right?
MIKE MATHENY: Yes, both of them are. So it's a situation for us to try and put some guys who haven't seen them and get some right handers in there in the top of our lineup.
Q. We tend to get wrapped up in the pitching match up and how well Joe Kelly has done and how well Liriano has done against your club. What do you do with that stuff at this late date? How do you regard it?
MIKE MATHENY: I don't think you disregard it. I think it goes into the equation as you make your decisions, and you try to take all the information that you have. And that's what we've got.
Now does that translate into production one way or the other? No. We all know that. But we still have to take the information that you do have. And hopefully, on the good side, it continues. And hopefully we can make adjustments to change the other.
Q. Mike, how closely did you watch, if you did watch, I assume you did, the game here on Tuesday against Cincinnati? And how, if at all, do you prepare your team for the atmosphere that they might face today?
MIKE MATHENY: We did pay attention, and it was great atmosphere. We have talked about it, not just here, but anywhere we may play. There's a powerful atmosphere when we're at home too.
I think what sometimes gets overlooked is players would typically prefer to have a live atmosphere rather than just silence. And yeah, it's going to be very pro the other team while we're here, but that's still a fun environment to play in.
So I encourage them to embrace it and enjoy it. Because there's a whole lot of players who have played significant Major League careers that have never had a day like they'll have with the excitement and the energy.
Q. Mike, you have four pitchers in your rotation that are 25 or younger. It seems like almost every team has a couple of young pitchers now, promising young guys. Why do you think that is that there are so many good young pitchers coming along at the same time in baseball?
MIKE MATHENY: That's a great question. It's one that I've heard another couple other managers talk about as well. It's amazing how the dynamics and kind of the stuff you're seeing, especially some of these young guys coming out of the pen.
It wasn't that long ago if you had a couple of guys on your staff throwing 94, 95 that everybody took notice. Now that's kind of the norm. You're getting the guys touching triple digits.
How to explain it, I don't know if there is a way. Guys are constantly training, looking for ways to get bigger, stronger, faster. And we've been very fortunate that we've been able to be one of those clubs that has a group of young guys with strong arms. What it does, it's not the end all to be all, but what it does is gives more room for error.
I think you see kind of the league jumping in that same direction. We'll take horsepower when it comes down to it if you're caught in between.
Q. Mike, I think you guys have one make up game at about this time against the Pirates. Any special concerns in this stadium with the sun? I've seen left field affect things, but it was earlier in the season.
MIKE MATHENY: We've had a couple of stadiums, ours being one of them, that presents some challenges as far as shadows and sun. The way we look at it, we try to limit excuses and realize that both teams are going to have to face it. And so it's just a matter of who adapts and who doesn't look at it as a hindrance to doing what we need to do.
You can't deny that it is the way that it is. So we'll see how the shadows, how the sun plays today. But realize they're going to be doing the exact same thing that we are.
Q. You have had some fixed points in your lineup this season with Carpenter leadoff and Holliday third, and another one is Molina in the fifth spot. How did you go into the decision with Molina and Freese and decide to move Molina up?
MIKE MATHENY: For the bulk of the season, we also had an Allen Craig who was able to jump into that four spot and took that four over and drive in almost 100 runs. Whether it was left, right, it didn't matter.
Over the last portion of the season, we've had to try to make adjustments. That's what the game is about.
Today we had to make the adjustment to give us a best chance against a good left handed starter. Having the ability to put Yadier Molina up in a different spot is a luxury. To us we have a number of guys we can put in quite a few different roles and they would fill those roles very effectively. So we feel fortunate to do that and hopefully it will work out for us.
Q. You have a number of players back that played in some very tight postseason series last year. How real is that previous experience as something that can be tapped into a series like that that's kind of shaping up the same way?
MIKE MATHENY: We absolutely look at it as an advantage that not necessarily an advantage over the opponent, but an advantage that if we had not had that experience. And so we use that by having the guys talk about it and talk about how they stayed the course and how they prepared and how they eliminated the distractions. Because that's really what it comes down to.
But as far as us making that an advantage over another team, we just don't look at it that way. We focus on ourselves and realize that it is something that we're proud to be a part of. And guys are talking about quite a few different games as we open up the floor. And what we've done since the season ended, just talked about some of these games and what was going through your mind.
It's amazing when you hear these guys talk about environments like the one we'll have today, you talk about the intensity like this series is starting to look like. You couldn't help but see that they had a smile on their face. Not all of them always worked out for the best. But just the intensity, just the competition, those sort of things you dream about when you're coming up playing this game. You just hope that you can rise to the occasion. And fortunately, we've had some guys that have done it. They're trying to teach the other guys how.
Q. On a same vein, you use the line, stay the course in the playoffs and in the big games. Hershiser used to say the goal was to just be the same as you were in the regular season, and if you could maintain that, that would carry you to that extra level in the postseason. Do you agree with that?
MIKE MATHENY: 100%. Actually, our local writers here are so sick and tired of me saying the exact same thing over and over again. But I want that to be the same, because we talk about if we start in Spring Training, first game we have, if we go about our business in a certain way, there's no difference. There's no adjustment that you need to make when you get to October. It's the same baseball.
But there are some added things that come into play. It's a matter of how much you can put those to the side and get back to staying the course, get back to playing the game the same way.
Easier said than done, but we've been training for that. We've been training for 162, plus this postseason, plus Spring Training. So I feel like our guys are ready for that.
Q. Mike, the dimensions here, do they pose any challenges for your club, how it's constructed? Particularly left field, so deep here?
MIKE MATHENY: I would say if we never played here before it could possibly be a challenge. We have played a significant amount of games.
I think it's a beautiful park. I think it's one of the nicest venues in baseball, and especially when you start putting people in it and you got excitement. But it plays pretty true. It's a fair park. You don't see balls just jumping out of here and balls that shouldn't get out get out. You have to hit it to get it. And you also have some challenges defensively.
But our guys have worked hard. And once again, they've played here quite a few times.
Q. What does it say to Michael Walker's talent that he can go from college to this setting in less than a year and a half?
MIKE MATHENY: I think it does say a lot about his talent. I also believe it says even more about his make up. As you guys spent a little bit of time around him, you can see that he's mature beyond his years and beyond his experience. We put him to the test, pitching late in the season. Watching him take a no hitter into the ninth inning and kind of watching how he's handled every step along the way, we learned that early about him in Spring Training. We were excited to watch just not his stuff, but how he handled a big league clubhouse, how he handled the distractions that do come with this job, and we've been very impressed. Those are things that were taught to him long before he was ever a Cardinal. It was reinforced once he got into the organization. But he's done a nice job. And still room to improve, too, which is hard to think about, but it's true.
And he's going to be better from this opportunity and for every day he has here with us.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks a lot, Mike. Appreciate it.
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