ST. LOUIS' MATT CARPENTER
October 7, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA: Game Four
Q. The way your season has unfolded, do you pinch yourself from time to time? Is it difficult to process all the things that have happened to you this season from just starting out last year and now you're an MVP candidate?
MATT CARPENTER: Yeah, I mean, it's definitely been a crazy ride for sure. But I don't want to sound like the rah?rah cliché team guy, but I've been so focused on what we're trying to accomplish as a team up until this point that you really you don't have time to sit back and really think about it. I've said many times one day at the end of the offseason, I'll probably sit back and look back and be very proud of the way it all played out.
But right now?? and I know I feel?? the whole group feels the same way?? we're so collectively focused on one goal, and that's trying to find a way to win one series.
Q. As well as you all played the first, it looked differently the last two offensively. Has it been something different or unusual or is it just in baseball, the fact that I think you're 1 for 10 runners in scoring position, some other numbers that are out of character for you guys?
MATT CARPENTER: Yeah, I think it's a combination of we're not really swinging the bats as good as we're capable of, myself included. And a combination we faced some good pitchers the last two days. Liriano is obviously tough. He's pitched us tough every time we face him. And first time we got to face Gerrit Cole the other day, and his stuff was electric as well.
But it's the postseason, and you can't make excuses. You have to go up and be ready to go. But the pitching has been tough. We have to find a way to get it done.
Q. Matt, from a teammate's perspective, and as a guy who is often on base when Carlos comes to the plate, what's it been like just watching his performance especially in these postseason games?
MATT CARPENTER: He's a special, special player. Obviously we all know that. There's just certain guys that when the lights turn on and the bigger the stage, the better they play. And he's definitely?? I've never been around anybody that just has a knack for getting those big hits and hitting those big home runs in those key moments, especially in the postseason. I've gotten to see it for two years now.
He's a special player. That's all you can say about it. Just a special player, unique guy.
Q. Matt, you talked in the second half of the season about the importance of conserving energy. You spent all last offseason working, first year playing every day. How are you feeling physically this year given all the work you've done the last 12 months?
MATT CARPENTER: I feel good. Obviously the wear and tear of a long season, the normal feeling you would feel at this point of the year. As far as physically, I feel good.
The postseason kind of adds some extra energy. If you are feeling like you're kind of dragging, this will?? this atmosphere will definitely pick that up. I do, I feel good. I'm looking forward to hopefully continuing this postseason, keeping it going.
Q. I was wondering how you saw the approach opposing teams took with you evolve through this season, especially as maybe your reputation and your success started to climb? And whether with even the number of guys with big names that you have in the lineup, if you think you've drawn more attention from the Pirates in this series?
MATT CARPENTER: You know, I have felt like over the season has gone, the way I've been kind of attacked, and the game plans that opposing pitchers are taking has definitely changed. There's been that cat and mouse chess match, if you will, that goes on with opposing clubs. If you start beating a team a certain way, they'll make the adjustment and go after you in a different way and then you have to make the adjustment back. So I've seen that happen.
I think that obviously I think that all teams try to do a good job of trying to keep me off base, not giving me free pass with a walk, really trying to come after me with strikes knowing we have guys like Carlos Beltran behind me, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina. So it wouldn't surprise me if a game plan is do the best they can to keep me from getting on there. I've kind of seen that play out, especially in this series.
I really haven't?? I've been really getting attacked well, and I got to make that adjustment and try to get on there for those guys.
Q. Matt, is there anything like yesterday as far as environment of playing a game? And now that you've been through it, having a better idea of what to expect, how does that affect going into today?
MATT CARPENTER: You know, it was a good environment yesterday, and people have commented about that. But it's the postseason. That's how all these environments are.
We faced a lot of them last year in San Francisco and in Atlanta. Those are pretty hostile environments as well.
This is fun. This is why we play this game. We all enjoy it. The atmosphere is electric, and yesterday was no different. I'm sure it will be like that today. So we're looking forward to it, and hopefully we can do our part and win this game today and get this thing back to St. Louis.
Q. Matt, Charlie Morton is a pitcher you guys have had quite a bit of success against in the past. There have been a few starts he's been able to pitch effectively against you guys. What's the difference either in his execution or your execution in those starts?
MATT CARPENTER: You know, really, it all comes down to?? it's like you said, who executes better. If he is doing a good job of throwing quality strikes and we're, as an offense, chasing pitches outside the zone, usually the pitcher has a good day. If we can do a good job of getting them on to the plate and notlaying off ?? or laying off the balls out of the zone, then the offense will have a good day.
So that's really?? that's the way baseball goes. Starting pitching can win or lose you a game, obviously. Obviously, as hitters, we've got to have a good game plan. I'm pretty confident we will today. And we're looking forward to getting out there and seeing what happens.
Q. What is the conversion to second base been like from a corner infielder and especially doing it on an everyday basis like you have this year?
MATT CARPENTER: It was a challenge. Obviously I had never played the middle infield, never played second base in my life. To be able to convert from corner infield, corner outfield guy to the middle infield was definitely a challenge. It's something we put a lot of work in.
And our infield instructor Jose Oquendo, I can't say enough good things about him. He's an amazing teacher, really understands the game, really understands what it takes to be an infielder. He's played all the positions, knows the ins and outs with all of them. He was a big help. And together we were able to make it work.
Q. Matt, you were talking just a minute ago about making sure you see Morton over the plate and up. How do you adjust early in the game when you see what he or any pitcher really is doing, what he's throwing that day, where the ump's strike zone is and such?
MATT CARPENTER: Really, that's my job as a leadoff hitter to try to have a good at?bat to start the game, see as many pitches as I can and get that feel of what his command is like, how the umpire's zone is.
And all of our hitters in that first inning, that's the adjustments that we try to make in our game plan is go up there, get some quality pitches, try to work the count, get a feel for how it's going to play out.
A lot of times you can tell what kind of day a pitcher is going to have in the first inning; sometimes you can't. But that's the goal for us as an offense is to make that adjustment, figure out what kind of stuff has he got that day and what his command is like and compete while we're in that at?bat.