Oct. 7 Don Mattingly postgame interview
Q. Can you just perhaps describe, I realize you're not at the destination you're shooting for, but just the sense of accomplishment at this moment with what you're able to do with these guys?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, obviously a great feeling from our standpoint. Just so proud of those guys in that room that have just kind of stayed together, kept working, really proud of the staff and really during a lot of the time this year continued to work and continued to stay after it, and kind of stayed the course.
I feel like they've done a great job. I feel like it's another step. I think getting in is the first thing, when you talk about 11 and now we have to talk about 8. We've moved one step closer, and we don't have to get back on a plane tomorrow. It's a good feeling.
Q. When the ball jump jumped off once back there, what was the first thing that went through your mind?
DON MATTINGLY: Why am I bunting him? That's what I was thinking at first, why am I bunting him? But really I am thinking about shooting the ball to the right side, putting bat ball in play, driver a runner over, and next thing you know, as soon as he hit it, I knew it was gone. So instant kind of craziness. I'm thinking playoffs are so stupid, aren't they? Just crazy. That's what I'm thinking about.
Q. How important was Yasiel Puig with his energy opening the 8th inning with that double running fast to second base? Also, can you make an assessment on the way Juan Uribe came to the team or what he went through during the season just to come to this great moment for him?
DON MATTINGLY: Okay, so Puig, and obviously that was a huge hit. You talk about getting him on and the fact that he hits a double there really puts us in harms way right away and kind of gets us where any hit or getting him to move over puts a lot of pressure on them.
So that was just huge from that standpoint and getting the crowd going a little bit and giving us a shot. Then Juan's just been ‑‑ I talked about it a lot during the course of the season because he's been doing so well. But just the kind of teammate he was last year when Luis Cruz was doing really well.
Juan just gained so much respect down in that clubhouse for the way he treated him and how he reacted to everything. We talked about it at the last meeting we had at the end of the year last year. Just wanted to thank him for that. It's been great for him to be able to do this because those guys love him out there. He's just a great teammate, and it's good to see.
Q. Would you assess Kershaw and maybe describe some of the process during the game of keeping an eye on him just in terms of talking to him or just being a little more aware of where he was in the game?
DON MATTINGLY: He was great all day. His stuff was good. His stuff was sharp. I asked A.J. what inning it was. I'm like, what do you think? And he goes, it's right there. You know, really, we take him out there. If we don't know it's three days rest, we don't take him out there because A.J.'s like he's good. And he's not ‑‑ he goes, if I didn't know it was three days, it's the same stuff.
So he didn't miss a beat. Really he didn't really give up anything. We don't help him there, and I think it's at the fourth. Then in the process, just keep an eye on his stuff. Keep an eye on him. At some point we talked about it before the game, we were just going to have to make the decision and not allow him to go too far because he was not going to come out of that game if you asked him.
So we talked about it, we thought about it, and it was just we've got to pull the trigger on this. We can't allow him to go any farther, he did his job.
Q. What did you learn about Clayton tonight? Is that what you expected?
DON MATTINGLY: I really did. I thought he was going to go out and deal tonight. He pretty much was right what we asked. He was great. You've seen some of the things I told you about before the game. I hope he gets a chance to talk to you about it. But he's just a different cat.
I'm sure there have been guys out there like him through the years, but there are not very many. It's really ‑‑ he's a joy to have as a player. I've known him. It's funny. I've been hearing his name since he started the very first time because him and my son roomed together. We've known that name from the very beginning.
So it's really cool to watch this process what he's going through and how much he just continues to work and move forward. This kid was like ‑‑ when last night it's funny. Trey was telling me, after he walks out of our office last night knowing he's going to pitch today. Trey said he was like a kid on Halloween that stole the biggest bag of candy you could ever see. This guy was so excited to be pitching today, and that's just special. In fact, Sandy's here today to see him. I thought that was great. This kid is just a tremendous. He's tremendous.
Q. On the sacrifice with Uribe, first of all, hindsight is 20/20. How tough was the decision, first of all? Do you think maybe after he missed the first two bunt opportunities that maybe it loosened him up a little bit, just wants to get the ball in play?
DON MATTINGLY: I have no idea. When you're up there like that you're like I already screwed this up. Just want to do something and put it in play. But that was huge. We've been talking about Juan. It seems he always gets a big hit in the playoffs. He's gotten, obviously, homers, last night and homers tonight. Made some great plays early on too. So we don't talk about that much, but made some great plays.
Q. The bullpen struggled in the 7th inning in Game 2. Was there any hesitation pulling Clayton after six as opposed to asking him to go one more inning tonight, just because that equation has been a little bit of a struggle?
DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, it's been that inning for us and that section of guys there. Tried it both ways and it hasn't worked either way. Try to leave the righty for the kid. I thought that kid, I've seen him before, I've seen him on tape. I knew he could hit. So that's been the inning.
But it really wasn't ‑‑ obviously, I'd like to leave Clayton out there, but it just didn't feel like the right thing. It felt like he did his job, and he would not say no. Again, that's what we talked about before the game that we were just going to have to make that decision and not allow him to be a part of that.
What he would do. It wasn't an easy decision, but it was one that we felt like we had to do.
Q. If you make a decision like that, it's a bold decision. It could have blown up in your face. What is the feeling now with what he did for your guys?
DON MATTINGLY: It's a good feeling you end up winning because you don't have to answer all those questions. But honestly, it's what you do. You've got to do the right thing for Clayton. You've got to do the best thing for your ballclub. You try to put the guy, you know, throws the dog the ball last night, you want a guy that's going to keep the ball on the ground. It was just the decisions you make. You try to put the guys in the right position and sometime it's works, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it doesn't and then it still works. So that's what happened tonight.
Q. You said you knew you'd have to make the decision with Clayton hard because he'd fight you to stay, zoned of sixth inning, you pull him, what is his reaction in the dugout?
DON MATTINGLY: His reaction is not bad. He's basically, I think he knows what he's doing for us. It's not a fight. He's going to live with that decision. It wasn't bad. I knew he would have went back out. Like I said the other day, he's got 120, he would have gone 140 the other day and he wouldn't have even thought about it. He was feeling good. I know he felt good today, and A.J. said it was coming out good, but I just couldn't do it.
Q. Can you talk about Brian Wilson and the lift he's brought the team and how all these other teams passed on him?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, obviously, I'm glad we have him and we didn't because he's helped us shorten the game, and we're seeing ‑‑ we're having trouble getting through that seventh and mixing and matching and what we were able to do all year long as the season goes. It gets harder and harder to do because you're using so many guys in that situation to be able to go back and forth.
Wilson allows us to give that inning to him and not have to go left right. You feel like he's going to get lefties and righties out. He's showing his velocity keeps creeping. We've found out that this guy doesn't throw the ball over the middle of the plate very often. He's got weapons for righties and lefties, he throws the ball where he wants. He's been tremendous for us.
Q. What the team will do the next couple days?
DON MATTINGLY: What are we going to do?
DON MATTINGLY: I have no clue right now. I know we're not packing, and we'll probably give these guys a day off tomorrow. I don't know, those guys have an off day tomorrow. Whoever is playing in it, we'll have to play. So we'll talk about it here in a minute.
But the guys will be off tomorrow. I don't know if we'll have meetings or not. It's hard to have meetings because we don't know who we're going to play. So we'll give these guys a break, they don't have to pack, and we'll go from there.
Real quick. I didn't get a chance to say it, and I don't know if this matters. But I'd really like to congratulate those guys in Atlanta. Fredi is a class act. I played for Carlos Tosca in rookie ball. I know these guys are quality people on the other side. They have great young players and they've had a great year. Just want to congratulate them. Thanks.