Oct. 8 Mike Matheny pregame interview
Q. Mike, are you sticking with the same lineup today as yesterday?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, same lineup, Jay, Beltran, Holliday, Craig, Molina, Freese, Descalso, Kozma.
Q. Was there enough time on the ground ball for Kozma?
MIKE MATHENY: No, that was a tough ball to handle, and he went after it the way he could and just came up on him a little more than what he thought it would.
Q. Normal night afterwards, 24 hour rule, or any difference coming into this game after last night's loss versus any of the others?
MIKE MATHENY: No, same thing applies that we go through it individually and figure out what we did, what we could have done, what worked, what didn't, and try and learn and make adjustments and show up again ready for today's game.
Same message with the guys; we go play the game. We've had quite a few heartbreakers this year, and last night was in that category. We had it right there and it slipped away. One thing I will say is this team has been very resilient, and they have been consistent to come back and jump right back in there, and right the ship.
Q. When you have 162 games or a long stretch to turn over an offensive performance like yesterday, but when you have 24 hours, do you preach the same approach or what are you saying to the guys?
MIKE MATHENY: You know, even through 162, if you get to the point that you feel that you have to go out and drastically overhaul things, that usually causes room for a panic, and that's not where we are. When we've had these situations, whether we've run into tough pitching or we just didn't execute, we all talk about it, like I said, and think about it, and try to figure out if we had the right approach and the right preparation and what adjustments need to be made.
We really do need to stick to that, the same even though it's a boring answer for all of you to hear, we stick to the same idea, the same concept. We know how to play this game; let's go about it the best way that we can, make adjustments that we have to and show up today ready to play without reinventing the wheel.
Q. Is this where leadership comes in play more now more than ever after losing Game 1 at home, maybe a younger team without as much leadership as this team has, might not panic I know you say the team is not panicking.
MIKE MATHENY: We talked about how post season experience is an advantage and it's an advantage for situations like this, guys that have been down realize that you do just go about your business. When the younger players see the veteran guys show up here today like it was one of the 162 games, just another game to come out and play our best.
You know, once again, it just sounds pretty boring to everybody else who is in the middle of the hype, and we love the hype, the excitement of playoff baseball. But we know that we have our best chance by going every day, bringing our best to the plate, whether it's the Opening Day or middle of the season or the post season.
If we ask ourselves to do more, I think we are setting ourselves up for failure, and obviously what everyone asks, we'll ask our very best and that's been a very consistent message this season.
Q. Can you talk about the contributions of your younger players like Kozma as well as Carpenter?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, our young players stepped up this year. We got stuck in a tough spot in September, and Kozma came in you look early in the season, we didn't know who that super utility guy was going to be as we were trying to figure out second base and bouncing Descalso all over the place. And the first baseman, Lance Berkman filled in and did a good job, did some outfield, even played some field base for us, even second base. His versatility has been huge.
And then Kozma, we had to have somebody take advantage of the opportunity at shortstop, and he's done a terrific job for us. He's had a couple tough plays here, but we know the kind of player that he is and we are excited to watch him continue to grow and take advantage of the need we have and the opportunity that's in front of him.
Q. How much, if at all, did you replay the 8th inning sequence with Rzepczynski last night in your head, and Garcia, what's been the difference in him the last four or five starts?
MIKE MATHENY: I replayed that in my head many times. We were prepared for that situation, and there were a few options to go to, and really trusted our instincts on what we felt gave us the best opportunity. With all things considered, there were quite a few variables that went into that with the double switch not being easy, having to take out one of our middle of the lineup guys, and then watching Mitchell really fight to the point where he was at the time and wondering, you know, is it time to get him some help.
All of that went into play; we went with a play that we thought would give us a matchup that would help us and give us an opportunity. And that's competition. They answered, and they came out on top. Sometimes you have to tip your hat.
It's easy to sit back and look at what if I would have done this, that or the other, and you can pretty much drive yourself crazy in this business if you do that enough. But I also think it would be a mistake not to go back through it and make sure that all of the bases were covered and that we looked at it from every angle. And we did, and it just didn't work out our way.
Q. How do you coach somebody through a tip of the hat, so to speak? I'm referring to Zep, because he came in after that big strikeout, ran into some tough luck in Atlanta where actually was pitching pretty good on Heyward and then it fell in, and even last night, he was following Yadi, you move him out, and again, you tip the cap to the other side, but how do you coach Zep up and through that situation?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, the conversation I had with him is, we have a lot of faith in you and we know that you can do this.
He's been on the bad side I'm not a real big fan of the term luck, but if there is such a thing, he's had a lot of bad luck this year, and things that could go wrong, balls just bleeding in; I can't remember how many broken bat infield hits he's had this season that have turned into runs. You know, he's been very resilient, but he's been throwing the ball very well lately, and you look at even the pitch that was hit yesterday, wasn't that bad of a pitch. It was off the plate, had some tail to it. I like the way he's been throwing the ball, and we need him. And so all those things are in the discussion that we are having today, and let him know that we have got all of the faith in the world and wouldn't have him in that situation if we didn't and we know he's going to be able to come through big for us again, and just get ready for it and put this stuff behind us.
Q. What have you seen in Jaime for the confidence to have him in Game 2 today, especially this last month?
MIKE MATHENY: I think he's been as good as anybody. When he's right, has a good feel for the ball, it's an odd movement he has that really makes it difficult for hitters to square up the ball. So hopefully he gets into a good rhythm and is able to continue what he's been able to do lately, because it's been fun to watch.
Q. Probably an obvious question, but with the next three being in Washington, how big is this game today and how do you look at the series being down one?
MIKE MATHENY: Big game, just like the rest of them. Part of that is just our workman style approach. We just show up and play the game. That's the beauty of having guys who have been here before; they understand that. If you start once again, if you start putting too much emphasis on one game or one play, one pitch, more so than another, you're setting yourself up for inconsistency.
We do the same thing, every day, and that's why we go in there right now, music is playing, TV is on and just looks like another day, because that's what it is to us. The guys know they just have to do their piece.
Q. Can you elaborate on Boggs fighting a little bit, was it location?
MIKE MATHENY: He goes off, first hitter gets on on an error on a tough play and next thing you know, we have a base hit, a look at first and third, bunt, he has to make the play. Allen picks him up, gets into a situation with a high intensity strikeout. You can see that he's been in high leverage since the second he walked on the mound. That's what we do; try to keep a close eye on these guys and when it looks like they need some help or they have been out there in high leverage situation too long, we need to react, and that was a decision we went with.
Q. How does Carp change things for this team, just his presence, whether it be for the rotation or adding depth to your bullpen with Lynn?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, just having Carp around, period, makes the team better. He's been a very strong voice for us since the day he came back. And the fact that he came back was pretty remarkable, considering the surgery and the timing he had.
Then he comes out and he's thrown better every start he's had. To have somebody who is a Cy Young Award winner, has a couple World Series Championships under his belt, and to be able to put him up in front of the team for a playoff series and just let him share something is invaluable. You can see the young players who have never been here before are like sponges on the edge of their seat, trying to see what they can take in.
He's a mentor. He loves that role. He loves talking to the guys. Whenever he's not pitching, he's out there trying to help somebody, whether it's anybody on the field. And that's a rarity in this game, somebody that looks outside themselves that much.
But that's the way he learned the game and that's the way he's passing it on, and we are fortunate to have him.