CARDS MANAGER MIKE MATHENY ON THE NLCS
October 11, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI: Workout Day
Q. Understanding that there is a lot of work to be done still, have you had a moment to pause and reflect on how well things have gone despite the injuries, turmoil in the roster. 97 victories, best in the National League, win the division, in and the Division Series? MIKE MATHENY: No. I'm intentionally staying away from that until we're finished and they won't let us play anymore. Hopefully that's not for a while yet. But you know, we do so much reflecting. I think that's part of the learning process. Some people call it second guessing, we're just reviewing our first guess is all I see it as. Spend a lot of time going over every game. Things that were done well, things that could have been done better, and then let it go. It's almost just a game, playing in the mind to be able to let it go and be ready for the next one. If we live too much in the past, I do believe that gets in the way of things we can do going forward. At the end of the season, I've taken close notes. I'll be able to go through and spend more time with the staff and kind of review some things. But overall, right now, we're excited about what we were able to do yesterday. We'll enjoy that a little bit, but we've already got our minds on LA and figuring out how to put out our best game against them.
Q. Not to make an a announcement for Game 4, but with a guy like Shelby Miller who is not used to the bullpen and is kind of in a state of limbo right now, how do you help him get back on track or stay in a place where can he serve whatever role you need him to do in the next few days? MIKE MATHENY: I think all of our players realize at this point it's whatever they can do to help the club. And whoever it is, and whatever role they're going to be in, it's about team. Sometimes things aren't comfortable, and that's the nature of this business. They learn to adjust and adapt. They learn to compete regardless. If they do have that idea that it's about we and not me, it's something that they convince themselves that they can function and execute.
Q. Two years in a row making it to the Division Series, what does that mean to you? MIKE MATHENY: Well, two completely different scenarios and two different teams that I can say both just very proud of how the guys competed. Last year, just getting through that Game 5 in Washington, and yesterday and the day before being able to fight back and have a couple games that we had to?? we had our backs against the wall and guys learned how to fight and respond regardless of really what the scenario was. So it's to me a great opportunity to watch these guys do their thing. I can't help but take a lot of pride about how they go about their work and how they compete.
Q. Do you anticipate having the same roster this series as you did last? Is there any chance Allen Craig could be on this series roster? MIKE MATHENY: Doesn't look like Allen's going to be on this. I know he's progressing, and I know he's doing a lot of work. We look forward to watching him progress. You just never know. Obviously, we'd love to have him be an active part, but we have a lot of?? we put a lot of responsibility on our guys even though they're not on the active roster. You've seen Chris Carpenter always involved. You're seeing Rafael Furcal the same way, guys that are still trying to contribute. And Allen Craig is doing the same thing. It's just difficult for a guy that's not used to being in that situation. But once again, he's continuing to get better, so we don't know what he'll look like going forward. But it looks like our roster is going to be the same.
Q. If you take yourself back a few months, could you have possibly envisioned Joe being in this position, being in the NLCS Game 1 starter, and what has he done to put himself in that position? MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, Joe's earned this. He started off this season, and I've said it many times, he showed us so much and earned our respect coming out of spring training in a fight for that fifth spot. Nothing that he did not do, but it worked out where he was going to be working out of the pen and getting very few opportunities. But when he did get the opportunities, he made the most of them and continued to come in here regardless of what his role was and trying to figure out how to help our team win. Those sort of things pay off in the long run, especially on a winning team. If you just stay the course and you buy into the overall philosophy and realize that you're going to have your chance, and when he got his chance, he made the most of it. So when the starting opportunity became available, it was obvious, then Joe just continued to push and work and show us that he's ready for an opportunity like this one.
Q. You guys are going to see Mark McGwire in the other dugout this series. Can you quantify the impact he had on your hitters? Is there also a challenge in the fact that he can bring his scouting report over to that side? MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, the more you see people, the more information you're going to have. There is no question. But to quantify what Mark was able to do, he had a lost young hitters that he helped develop into what we're seeing right now. You can go through that clubhouse and realize that he's got his fingerprint on quite a few of them, and their approach and their professionalism. And we never made much of a secret about the respect we have for Mark McGwire and what he was able to do here in this city, not just as a player. But for me, I was blown away at how a superstar player can also be a superstar coach. He has a great sense of how to teach the art of hitting and how to individualize it as good as anybody I've seen. He and John Mabry work so well together. You've seen a lot of those same traits that John's been able to take over. But he does have some inside knowledge on our guys. We've got some inside knowledge on him too, and probably some of the things that he's teaching. But this is a game of adjustments. It's going to be adjustments on the fly, it's going to be adjustments to the game plan. But we expect him to come out and have his guys very prepared just like we will.
Q. Could it be regarded as advantageous to be seen as an underdog in the series? MIKE MATHENY: Are we? I didn't know that. It doesn't matter. I've seen situations where you go into hostile situations, very excited crowd in Pittsburgh, and you certainly feel like an underdog when you've got 30 guys in the dugout and there are 45,000 that would really like to see you not there. And guys bow up a little bit, they lock arms and figure out a way to get it done. That's what it comes down to. It comes down to the guys trusting in themselves. We love being at home, and we feel like we've got a sea of red behind us. All in all, it comes down to execution, as to limiting the distractions and figuring out how to just do your piece and nothing more, nothing less. Regardless of odds, regardless of expectations, our guys have done that on a consistent basis, and I can see no reason why they won't continue.
Q. We've asked you a lot about Matt Carpenter in recent days. I know the hits didn't fall yesterday, but did you see a lot to like with his approach yesterday? MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, great swings. Marte made a terrific play that was about an inch from being a triple and hit the ball well to centerfield as well. But he looks like he's taking the Matt Carpenter bats that we've been spoiled with seeing all season. This guy takes as professional an at?bat as anybody I've seen in a long time. Once you put your finger on, we've talked about him trying to do too much or putting too much pressure on himself. But there are also times that this is just a hard game. It's tough trying to figure out this hitting thing, and you fall into those ruts every once in a while. The good ones don't stay in there very long, and you can see Matt Carpenter is on his way out.