St. Louis Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter spoke to the media before the start of World Series Game 5 against the Boston Red Sox.
Q. I was wondering if you or anybody that you know on the team has had a chance to talk to Kolten, either last night or today, the guy being in the unfortunate situation, his first spotlight in the World Series, and this is what the result was?
MATT CARPENTER: Yeah, we’ve got a couple of guys, myself included, that have said some things to him. Certainly the message most importantly being that that was not the reason we lost the game. And that’s how the game ended, but it’s not ‑‑ certainly it was not the reason we lost. There were a lot of other factors that were in play.
And just understanding that that’s the way baseball goes sometimes. Those things happen. We are human. We make mistakes. And let’s not make it more than it is. We’ve got to regroup and come out ready to go today.
Q. Staying with that a little, that was the first World Series game that ended on a pickoff. The night before we had the first World Series game ended on an obstruction. The reversal in the first game. Have you ever been involved in a playoff series, on any level, with these kind of bizarre situations going on?
MATT CARPENTER: No, I have not. It has been a strange couple of games. And the innings have been something that we certainly aren’t used to seeing, baseball games ending this way. But that’s what makes it exciting. This is what the postseason is all about. Baseball is a game that something you’ve never seen before can happen every day. I’ve been playing this game for a while, and there’s things that happen all the time that will be the first time that I’ve ever seen something like that happen.
So that’s what makes this game great. And the key to this thing is to be able to continue to focus on, not let these things become distractions, and making it more than it is. Like I said, that’s the message in your clubhouse, kind of going with, yesterday is over with, we have a game tonight that we need to focus on and that’s kind of our game plan.
Q. When you see someone like Craig, who is obviously not healthy but still giving it every last ounce of energy that he has, what does this do for you guys that are healthy, and say you can do that, and he’s not healthy on one leg, there’s no excuse for me not to take that extra base?
MATT CARPENTER: Yeah, everybody in that clubhouse has the utmost respect for what Allen is as a player, and also what he’s doing for us right now. He’s definitely banged up. He’s dealing with some pain, dealing with an injury. And it just shows how badly he wants to be out there. And not only just to push through it to get to the point where he can help us little bit, but to do it in the fashion where he has had a big contribution in the series so far. To come in off the bench and get those big hits that he’s had, and to have good at‑bats in Boston, and obviously we’re going to go back to Boston again and he’s going to get a chance to play.
It’s been a big deal for us. It goes to show what kind of guy he is, the kind of character he has, and what kind of player he is and teammate and all those things. We definitely see it and guys are appreciative of that. Like I said, he’s a great teammate.
Q. When Adam Wainwright is making his start, as he is tonight, what sort of expectations do you have?
MATT CARPENTER: I know that I certainly, every time Adam gets the ball, I feel really good about our chances. He’s our ace. He’s been in these big moments before. He knows how to handle these kind of situations. He’s got great stuff. He’s got great command and he’s a competitor. So he’s going to keep us in that ballgame, whatever that means. We have the utmost confidence in Adam Wainwright. We know we have a great chance to go out and win the game.
As an offensively we have a tough challenge ahead with Lester. So we’ve got to do our part and try to have some good at‑bats and score some runs for Adam. But we know that he’s going to give us a good start.
Q. Because of his postseason legend, do you sense any frustration in David Freese, in what has been sort of a quiet postseason? And what would it mean to get him going in the bottom third of your lineup?
MATT CARPENTER: David is a great player and someone we count a lot on. He’s one of the guys that at any point can change the game with one swing. It’s a nice guy to have in our lineup, and we’re excited bullpen the rest of the series playing forward, because like I said, any chance, any swing he can change the game.
We’ve got some opportunities for those kind of things to happen. You know, that’s the great thing about the postseason, and that’s what I’ve been telling people all the time, is sometimes the stats get kind of ‑‑ you can kind of lose sight of what’s actually happening. It’s a small sample size and you look up on the scoreboard and see a batting average with a small number, one swing can change a whole series. One at‑bat, one key pitch, one key hit, we’ve got an opportunity to do that with the series tied. Some exciting things are going to happen going forward and anybody can be a hero.
Q. You mentioned Jon Lester, obviously he had a great game in Game 1, are there any adjustments or things you need to do differently to have better success tonight?
MATT CARPENTER: Yeah, I mean certainly Jon did a great job against us last time. He was commanding all his pitches and was able to attack the zone and get ahead of us. And I think to combat that as an offense, you have to be aggressive and come after him and not let him dictate the at‑bat.
As far as any specific adjustments that I think we’re going to make, I don’t know if there is certainly ‑‑ that there are any certain things that we’re going to make a change on. We had some good at‑bats against him, we just weren’t able to score many runs. Hopefully we can get some guys on and make some things happen tonight.
Q. Not that it’s going to change your approach leading things off, but how different dynamic is having Shane behind you with the speed he brings, versus what Beltran normally brings to that No. 2 spot for you?
MATT CARPENTER: Well, it’s really not going to change anything that I do. I’m going to go out and take the same at‑bat that I always have. Certainly Shane has had a really good postseason thus far. And he’s gotten some key hits, got a big pinch‑hit last night. It would be nice to have him going. Hopefully we can keep that hot bat going that he’s on now and get on there. We all know what Carlos can do with runners on base for him. If me and Shane can do a good job of getting that done, getting on base for those guys in the middle of our lineup, we should be right where we want to be.
Q. Given you don’t want any hitter to do well against you, how much has your pressures level increased on David Ortiz, watching what he’s done in this World Series?
MATT CARPENTER: He’s an elite player. We all know the career he’s been able to put up. But to hit like he’s hit so far in this World Series is ‑‑ I mean, that’s really impressive. And he’s as tough an out as you’re going to find in this game, in the world, for that matter. This guy puts a really good at‑bat together. And he’s also got a knack for postseason heroics. I’m sure that they’re really happy to have him on their ballclub.
And on the flip side of that he’s a tough guy that we have to deal with. He’s certainly having a good postseason so far and a good World Series, and hopefully we can kind of slow that down starting tonight.
Q. Do you have any nice things left to say about Michael Wacha, or are you guys pretty well spent?
MATT CARPENTER: What more can you say about this guy? He’s got his own highlight tape before (throwing) innings out there in the World Series.
No, Michael is ‑‑ there’s so many things that are impressive about this, and we’ve all heard them, how young he is, how little experience he has and how dominant he’s been thus far. But the thing that I really appreciate from him is his humbleness and his ability to work. Those are two things that I always look at people and take a lot out of is, how hard are you working and when success kind of comes your way, how do you handle it? And he’s handled it very, very well. And that’s something that I think is one of the more impressive traits in what he’s doing.
Q. After so much success with runners on base during the season, the last two games you guys have left 19 on, are you guys pressing any?
MATT CARPENTER: You know, I don’t think it’s pressing. I think it’s a combination of a couple of things, one, this is the two best teams in baseball going at it. And they’ve got good pitching staff and we’ve got a good pitching staff. Somebody is going to win those battles. Pitching has pretty much dominated this postseason thus far. And in those situations things are tough. And that’s not just to make excuses, that’s just the way it is.
We could certainly do a better job, but I don’t know if “pressing” is the word for. I just think that we just haven’t found a way to get those runs in like we were in the regular season. But we’ve still got a couple more opportunities, a couple more games left to try to figure this out and hopefully we can change that tonight.