During the ridiculously long flight delay, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was able to talk with the media via conference call.
Q. Can you explain to us what the situation was with the delay, if it affects any of your plans?
MIKE MATHENY: As far as our travel schedule?
MIKE MATHENY: We’ve been sitting on the plane here for a couple of hours with some mechanical difficulties. So they’re still continuing to work on our plane. There’s another plane en route in case they can’t get this one to where it needs to be. But right now everybody is just kind of waiting around and anticipating either this plane to get fixed or another one to show up, so we can get on our way.
Q. Michael Wacha has shown no nerves at all in this postseason, and tomorrow he’ll obviously be under more duress than ever, do you think he’ll handle it okay?
MIKE MATHENY: With his previous experience, and Michael is very consistent with how he approaches the game. It seems like with every situation that everybody tries to build up around him, the better he pitches. So right now we’re just anticipating him to stay the course, (inaudible) do what he’s been doing and hope his stuff will be good enough, and I believe that it will with what he’s been doing.
Q. I’m interested to see how Allen Craig came through after playing the field and how he’s feeling coming into today and tomorrow?
MIKE MATHENY: I had a quick conversation with him. He said he felt good today. So that was a great response and what we wanted to hear.
Q. Can you assess the mood of your team after two tough losses?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, after last night’s game, everybody headed home. I will say something pretty consistent about this club is regardless of how tough or how things have gone, you’re going to have those games where you want to forget them as quick as possible. They have a very short memory. It’s been something that I think has served us very well. Guys are in here today, looking like they’re getting ready for another trip, getting ready for another game, and I think that’s the key to success in the long haul.
Q. In your mind, is Ortiz just having one of these incredible, red‑hot series, or is there a better way to pitch to him or not pitch to him going forward?
MIKE MATHENY: If you know of something, I’m all ears. But so far we’ve been trying to pitch him differently and I don’t believe (inaudible).
You have to realize it’s not just a hot hitter, it’s a good hitter. It’s one that’s been proven over time to be able to step up and really make a good run and put together a consistent approach. So we respect that and understand that. We also understand when our guys are making pitches and we’re doing what we’re trying to do, we can get anybody out. But right now we can’t deny the fact that this guy is extremely hot.
Q. Mike, have you guys been sitting on the plane on the runway or are you back at the terminal? And how is everyone passing the time?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, we’ve been sitting on the runway for a while. But everybody seems to be doing all right. We’re fortunate that our club allows our families to travel with us. We have some younger kids. But I’m impressed with how everybody has handled it. Fortunately we have plenty of food, snacks for the kids, lots of entertainment with on‑board movies, and everybody travels with all their high‑tech stuff. Most of these kids are pretty happy that they’re not in school right now, and it’s a great way to spend a day, and no complaints so far.
Q. Mike, you’ve changed the lineup around, you’ve moved some personnel, what can you do in a short series like this to try to spur the offense? Or do you have to hope guys rely on what they’ve done all year?
MIKE MATHENY: I think that’s the first place we go. We’re always looking to see where we can get a little spark. We’re not afraid to do something to stir it up. But for the most part we have to trust what we’ve done so far. The thing we haven’t been doing a lot of lately is just really sitting back and trust in ourselves a little bit more. I think we’ve been pushing too hard trying to make things happen. That’s going to be part of what we do going forward.
We’re going to have to make the most of this. We’ll continue to make little adjustments where we need to as far as personnel goes, the lineup goes. Just a good healthy reminder of what it took to get here and what kind of team we are, I think those things ring true with the guys. There’s still a different gear that we have and it’s just a matter of finding that in the next couple of days, obviously finding it tomorrow.
Q. What is the challenge of facing John Lackey tomorrow night?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, I never like to speak about other teams and their players. So they’re got to figure that out for themselves. But I think the challenge for us is our back is against the wall. And you have a couple of options (inaudible), and you just have to show up and aggressively run after the opportunity. We have a great opportunity in front of us. I know our guys can’t wait to get out and take advantage of it.
Q. Do you plan to stick with Beltran in the cleanup spot or might you go back to him in the No. 2 hole?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, it could go either way. Running through multiple lineups. Many of them just on paper, scratching all over the place, the staff and I sit down and put together what we think gives us the best opportunity, when it comes down to individual matchups with the pitchers, just how our lineup is looking, what do we need. We’re asking ourselves that all the time, every day.
We realize that this game comes down to the guys performing, but we do have a responsibility to put them in a position to give our team the best chance of success. And Carlos is one of those guys that can fill a number of roles.
Q. How do you think Wacha’s postseason run here compares to some of the best you’ve seen by starting pitchers in your time in the game?
MIKE MATHENY: I think it’s been one of those that’s been fun for us to watch. Taking everything into consideration, how this kid was in school, in college 18 months or so ago, and watch the maturity, and watch the progress, too. I think a lot has to be said about that. The selection process as well as how the development goes, what this organization stands for (inaudible) and to see how he was able to showcase that on the big stage.
So for us it’s been exciting to watch. Not just Michael, but a group of other young players that have been able to do something very similar. But Michael’s done a nice job, we just want him to really not focus on the big picture of what exactly is going on. What we want him to do is go out, make one pitch at a time, there’s time for summations later.
Q. There’s already a buzz in the town because the Red Sox haven’t won a World Series at home since 1918. Do you think playing here the first two games and seeing that atmosphere will help your team in what’s going to be probably a more ramped up atmosphere in the last two games?
MIKE MATHENY: The ramped up atmosphere is really one of the perks and benefits playing in the postseason. Guys have played their whole career or dream about being in this atmosphere where fans are excited, into it, the place is packed and alive and buzzing. So that sort of thing isn’t really something that’s a detriment to our success.
But I think there is a little bit to be said about the familiarity of the situation concerning the field. And the boys wondered how Fenway would look like, how it would play, different questions about Boston in general. So right now we have a better feel of their club, a better feel of their field. Now it’s just a matter of going out and playing ball. It comes down to executing. You have to execute pitches, you have to execute the game plan, and make plays defensively. We know we can do that to a different degree and level than we’ve done so far. It’s just a lot of talk right now unless we do it and we’ve only got limited time to make it happen.