CARDINALS MANAGER MIKE MATHENY
October 3, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI: Workout Day
Q. How much can you share now about the rest of your rotation and roster decisions, please?
MIKE MATHENY: The rotation we're going to still sit tight a little bit with first and second game. All five guys are going to be on the active roster. But we know right now that Wainwright and Lynn will be going the first two, and we'll make our adjustments as we go.
Q. Of the remaining starters who could be in that rotation, will they be available in the bullpen in Game 1? How will you work with that?
MIKE MATHENY: We'll have two of the starters available for Game 1. You can plan on seeing Wacha and Shelby Miller both down in the pen for Game 1.
Q. What can you share about position player?wise in the bullpen?
MIKE MATHENY: Position player?wise, you guys have a pretty good idea on most of them. Our bench, with Descalso and Kozma both kind of working at shortstop. Kolten Wong will be on the bench as well as Adron Chambers and Shane , and Tony Cruz.
Q. Is Mujica on the roster?
MIKE MATHENY: Mujica is on the roster.
Q. What will his role be?
MIKE MATHENY: Right?handed pitcher.
Q. Elsewhere, clubs rely on young pitchers and they get erratic results; you guys do the same thing and have the best record in the National League. What is the secret here?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, I don't know if there is a secret. We've talked a lot here locally about how much credit we give our veteran staff, our veteran players. But also our development system. We've had so many young players who have come into St. Louis here ready, not to just be in the Big Leagues, but to contribute to a team that was in the fight from the beginning.
So we're very, very proud of what our development system, our scouts have done to choose the right kind of guys that can handle coming up here with a young age without a lot of experience, then our coaches and roving staff that prepares these guys to come up and not be overwhelmed, but be ready.
Then I think really something different here is just the culture we have with our veteran players. These guys let them know that they're rookies, but for the most part they've created an environment where these guys can come in and be successful without any other thoughts except doing what I need to do to help this club win. And there is constant teaching going on from our veterans and obviously our coaching staff.
But it's been a good system that gets these guys into a place where they feel like they're ready.
Q. In that same vein, how about the culture you guys try to create and the role development has in it? When you were working in the system, how did you see the coaches there or yourself sort of stress the organizational goal of getting to October and articulate that to the Minor Leaguers who their seasons end in September?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, I think it was just a culture of winning, and conversations early on were about development, yes, but also about the value and the importance of winning baseball and how it's an attitude and it can become a habit just like the converse can be.
It's something that you see in the Minor League system. They take a lot of pride in and understand they have to develop players, but also they want winning players. And that has to work your way up through the system.
Fortunately we have a lot of people that buy into not just the winning, but we believe this organization when we wear this jersey, there is a level of expectation, a level of class about how you go about things, and that needs to be consistent all the way through.
Q. I'm curious your thoughts on facing the Pirates on the run they've had recently and the fact they're coming off such a long history of not being on this stage, whether that can prove any further danger for you guys going forward against them?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, we realized they're a good club. They've been playing well and continue to be very highly motivated. I think we focus more on ourselves, and we believe that we're a very good club also and highly motivated to go out and continue what we've started.
We give every team that we play a great deal of respect and understand that they've done a lot to get to the point where they are right now. But we don't stay there. We get back to what we can do and what we can control, and that's how we go about our business no matter who we're playing. But we understand this is a team we've seen play very good. This is a team we've played well against and other times not so well.
So we have to come out, we have to execute in all facets of our game.
Q. How would you describe this team's, A, sense of urgency, and, B, quality of play at the end of the season this year compared to last year?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, I thought both years the guys put a hard push on obviously a couple different things. We were chasing last year trying to get that second wildcard spot, and it was exciting right up till the end. This year trying to grab the Central, and we had plenty of things working against us.
But they just came in with a very consistent approach, without trying to do anything more through September. I think they just trusted what they've been doing. They continued their relentless work style and they're staying in the moment and style of play. All those things put together as well as just physically them being able to handle it.
You know, we've had some issues also losing some key components, but we've had young guys that have been able to step up and step in. And, once again, that goes back to a lot of the things that have been done here with our veteran players.
The run that we made was something that we take a lot of pride in. There was a lot of pressure, especially on a lot of young players that have never been here before. They answered the bell and kept competing.
Q. You've talked about young players taking steps. What kind of steps has Trevor Rosenthal taken through the year to the point where you feel comfortable using him in the ninth inning?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, he's done a great job for us and did the same thing last year. Stepped into big positions and just made positions. Through this last stretch here, we needed some help down there, and Trevor was an option for us that we went to, and he threw the ball very well. It's just him learning new roles and taking new responsibilities and continuing to try to improve his game.
I think he's got a much better feel for some of his secondary pitches now than he ever had before, and he's got a better idea of the league, and, more importantly, when to use his stuff. So it's been fun to watch that transition.
We always give a lot of credit to Yadier, how he's helped all of our young pitchers and the veterans improving their game and figuring out how to maximize the stuff they have.
Q. What was your impression of the atmosphere at PNC Park last night and why do you think that ballpark has given you guys a little bit of trouble this year?
MIKE MATHENY: You know, no real explanation for why it's given us trouble. It's a park that guys like playing at. It's a fun park. I thought the atmosphere last night was great. You could hear it, you could feel it just through the TV. But the fans there are excited, and rightfully so. We have the same thing here. That's playoff baseball.
It's fun. We talk to these guys about how they interpreted it, and they've been there before. The ones that have been in the postseason, every one of them have been on the road in some places where it got loud. And that is something that some people don't care for, but you saw the guys' smiles when they were talking about it.
It's going to be fun. It's going to be intense. There's going to be people that don't like us, but we've had that all season long. That's just part of October baseball. Everything is kicked up another level as far as fan involvement, and I know it's something we're going to feed off here at home.
Q. These two teams have seen a lot of each other this year obviously. Does that change the complexion of the series? And from a manager's standpoint, is it good to have kind of a large body of work to know what to deal with in terms of match?ups and things like that?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, I'd say you have less scouting to do. We ought to know each other by now. But we're constantly looking for adjustments and seeing what guys are doing and trying to be prepared and have a game plan. So it really doesn't matter that it's someone that we played a lot. We just probably have more history, but they have equally as much, so there's really not an advantage there.
It's a team that we know a lot about. Once again, I think we've both seen good and bad. Sometimes when we've been on top of our game, and other times not so much and realize what we need to do is what it comes down to, what do we need to do to be successful and not really worry about what they need to do.
Q. In what ways, if any, do you feel more comfortable this postseason, your second as a manager, than last year?
MIKE MATHENY: More comfortable?
Q. Just knowing the postseason from manager's standpoint.
MIKE MATHENY: Well, you know, the postseason to me is just a great reward. I don't know if I can speak in terms of comfort or not. I love being on edge as a player or as a manager. I think this is one of those opportunities that you have to really turn it up and make sure that everybody's on point.
Last year what we were able to witness was the guys just went out and did their job. That is really the message we're going to continue with, is this is how we got here. We went about it the way that we believe is right, every day, day?in, day?out, simple approach.
And you don't change that. I've said that to you guys quite a few times. If we keep that approach where we're doing everything we can do right now at this moment, then when you get to situations like this, you shouldn't have to do anything differently. It's the same game. There are just more distractions.
If we're able to harness the distractions and keep them at a minimum, we should be able to consistently play the kind of baseball that we've played all season.
Q. Managing against Clint Hurdle the last couple years, I don't know if you can think back to playing against his teams in Colorado, but is there anything about his style as a manager or the way his teams play that is sort of distinctive?
MIKE MATHENY: I have a lot of respect for Clint Hurdle and how he goes about the game and how his teams play hard. That is something we've always known. It's amazing like last year and the year before when a lot of people may not have given them the credit they deserved. We knew as a club they're a good team. They've got a really strong nucleus and they play all the way out.
So that is the kind of team that we want to be known as as well, and just that relentless style, hard?nosed baseball. I think that's one of the best compliments you could have.
Q. Recognizing you throw out the records in the postseason and with no disrespect to the Pirates, do you think there is any?? that Wainwright is secretly relieved that he doesn't have to face the Reds as much as they pummeled him?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, those were your adjectives, not mine. You know, he's a fierce competitor. I imagine there's a part of him?? we haven't had that conversation, and I know there wasn't one guy in our clubhouse who was really making statements that this is who we want to play or that's who we want to play.
I stick with the phrase "be careful what you wish for" because every team that's here now is very good. Every pitcher you're going to face is very good. I'd put Adam Wainwright up against anybody regardless of history. Had a couple of tough, tough starts there, but, all in all, a Cy Young?caliber season that we're not afraid to put him on the mound against anybody.
Q. If you would let us know what your lineup is and allow me a question not about the lineup, but before you tell the lineup for tomorrow, if you're willing to say that, what role do you think September that these rookies have experienced, the push that they had to go through, or even their own championship history in the Minor Leagues plays in preparing them for October, if it does at all?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, I think postseason baseball, a lot of time it holds a lot of uncertainties. So for guys who have played in the postseason in the Minor Leagues, it's comparable. They know the difference between the regular season and the Minor Leagues compared to the postseason, and then when they've had success or failure, what they've learned along the way.
I also think that it's very important when we have a group like what we have with so much experience and not just experience, but success at the Big League level, that they share some of that information, which has been happening all season long. And at times very poignant. These guys have done a nice job of sharing some of the things that were passed on to them from previous players. So to me it's something that you just don't take for granted, because not many people have been here and even fewer have had success.
As far as the lineup goes, we'll post that tomorrow. You have a pretty good idea of what it's going to look like, but there aren't any huge surprises in there.