St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny addressed the media before the start of World Series Game 5 against the Boston Red Sox.
Q. Results aside are you happy with the at‑bats your team is putting up in this series or are some guys getting away from their approach a little bit?
MIKE MATHENY: I think it’s just a hard game. And you go through periods where you’re going to have success, everything feels right, and there’s other times you’re just fighting to find it. And we have a couple of guys fighting to find it and other guys taking some good at‑bats. And it’s not really that different than any other period through this season. Very seldom do you have everybody that’s all clicking at the same time. When they do, that’s when you see huge run production, which our offense has the potential of. These guys are working at‑bat to at‑bat, sometimes pitch to pitch, to figure out what adjustment they have to make to get back there, because they all know it’s only a minor adjustment away. So hopefully we can get there soon.
Q. Given that nothing is certain, when you approach this game as a manager, you have Adam Wainwright going, would it be fair to say that your expectations are extremely positive?
MIKE MATHENY: I kind of put myself in that frame of mind all the time anyhow. And I think it’s contagious. I think that’s something that the guys around here appreciate from myself and the rest of the coaching staff. We just have the utmost faith in them. And we believe that no matter who’s out there, that we’re going to get it done one way or another.
But with that being said, also, we don’t take lightly the fact that our ace is our ace, and when he’s on the mound we feel like we have a great chance. But they’ve got a guy, too, that’s leading their staff and we understand he was very good against us the last time. We have to make some adjustments. We feel like our offense can make those adjustments in order to give us some offense. But we do have a lot of trust that we put in Adam.
Q. When Adam has a tough outing, the next one he’s particularly sharp when he comes back. He works on things and makes the adjustments. You talked about how the bullpens aren’t the most strenuous in between. Can you share about how he goes about getting back on track?
MIKE MATHENY: I think that pitching is really a feel for him, especially talking about his breaking ball. But I think he did a little bit more this time in between than he normally does. He said he really found something that clicked, and usually the veteran pitchers, it is; it comes down to that one little thing, a little minor adjustment here that made everything else come together. And he was pretty happy about how he felt in between. Hopefully that transfers into production tonight.
Q. Wong seemed very much upset after the game. How much of an asset are the veterans to help him and get right back out there today?
MIKE MATHENY: You see a young player in a big situation, and he knows that’s not how he wanted it to play out. And the moment just got the best of him. And, yeah, it affected him because he’s human and he cares.
So fortunately we have a good group of guys around here once again. We’ve talked about how they’ve helped these guys and prepared them. They’ve also helped him through troubles because they’ve been there. Maybe not getting picked off to end a game in the World Series, but they’ve had their issues that we’ve all had, decisions that we’ve made that didn’t necessarily work out. And you figure out how to get through it.
But there’s nothing wrong with sitting on it for a while, too, and that’s what he was doing last night. I think that’s healthy. You realize and you go back through your mind and you figure out what happened and what you’d like to have done differently, and then you learn from it and you move on, and by the time you get to the park today, you put it in the archives and you move forward. That’s where Kolten is today. He had the veterans talking to him and encouraging him and giving him their own stories of things that they learned from.
Q. These games so far have been very interesting so far. Some errors in Game 1, some overthrows by the Red Sox, the pick‑off last night. Is it surprising to you to see these games haven’t been as crisp as you might have expected?
MIKE MATHENY: I can only speak on our part and what we expect from ourselves, and what we expect is really from what we’ve been able to see on a consistent basis this year, and that’s pretty clean baseball. For the most part we trust the fact that we’re going to make the plays, that we’re going to do the little things right. That we’re going to be conscientious and aggressive on the basepaths, but smart.
We saw things that didn’t quite look right, but once again, this is a game that has humans involved and there are going to be errors. It’s just going to happen. And we’ve got to figure out how to minimize them as much as we can, and get ahead of them.
No, it hasn’t been typical for our style of play, but we’re still figuring out a way to get past it and getting ready for the next one.
Q. How fearful were you, are you, of the Boston running game? Do you have any lineup changes?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, we respect the fact that there is obviously some ‑‑ there’s some players on this club that can run. And I think the guys have done a nice job. It begins with our pitching staff. Our pitchers, if they pay attention, they pay attention to the running game, they mix up their time and their holds. They’re not afraid to use their instincts on being able to throw over, and giving Yadi a chance. I think we’ve done a pretty good job so far, but it’s something that we are conscious about. It’s not something that you can just throw on a group of guys in the World Series and say, we’re going to start paying attention to the running game. We’ve done it all season long, so it just falls into place.
Q. How much of those lineup changes are related to how they’ve been pitched to some of those guys to try to inject Beltran into the mix to make it a little more difficult? When you look at your pitching and how it sets up, this is, I guess, a second part, for the next few days, is Wacha the starter? Or could you use him today? Or when does Kelly and Lynn get back in the mix?
MIKE MATHENY: First part is, yeah, we’re trying to do some things in our lineup. We take everything into consideration and realize that ‑‑ trying to get some more depth. Also trying to get more traffic for the guys that can drive in runs. Shane has been doing a nice job taking good at‑bats. Gives him an opportunity with Carp to really set the table and lengthen out our lineup through the middle.
As far as how our pitching lines up, Michael Wacha is going to start for us. And we’ll have to see how Joe and how Lance respond, how they feel before we can make any kind of comment about where they’ll be used.
Q. Only half kidding here, how big a fine would it be for your guys to throw a strike to Ortiz?
MIKE MATHENY: No fine process in place. But obviously we’re talking about a very hot hitter, who is a good hitter. And he’s making it tough for us to figure out how to get him out, that’s for sure.
MIKE MATHENY: He’s impressive and that’s the guy we’ve seen all season long. To answer your question, yes, we plan on him being available. He was actually going to get a little bit more work today. We ended up kind of holding back on him, making sure he’s going to be ready to DH those games.
But, yeah, he felt better yesterday, much better than what he thought he was going to feel, and even better today. So that’s continued to move forward.
Q. There’s been kind of a bizarre series, starting in Game 1 with the reverse call, and the last two nights, the finishes to the games. Have you ever as a player, coach, manager, been involved or seen anything in a series like this before?
MIKE MATHENY: I think obviously everything is going to be magnified beyond the stage that we’re in, and when things do happen a little out of character, they do stand out. There’s been plenty of oddities that have happened, kept the umpires on their toes, keeping everybody on their toes. But I think what we need to concentrate on is just the clean baseball we talked about here recently, that we really haven’t seen as much of as we know that we can do. And that’s what we can control today.
If we control this game tonight, it’s going to be led off by our ace, and we need to fall in line and put together a good approach, like we’ve done all season, and play good solid defense behind him. And not worry about the other things that have happened so far. Learn from them you but move past them and get ready for what’s ahead of us.