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PostCards: Mike Matheny talks NLCS Game 4


St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny addressed the media prior to the start of NLCS Game 4 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Oct 13, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (22) during a press conference on the day before game three of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Image Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Q. When your club plays a game that’s completely uncharacteristic of its better efforts like last night, how do you react as a manager?

MIKE MATHENY: Well, I think just like the rest of the guys in that room, first, acknowledge the fact that that’s not us. And the second thing you do is you start making your adjustments to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
But we don’t overreact either because we realize over the long haul our guys have gone about the game in the right way, played a very consistent style of baseball, and you have those days throughout the season where it just doesn’t go right. Best thing you can do is learn from them and move on.

Q. Can you give us an update on David Freese? Is he in the lineup? And what’s he done today to test his leg?

MIKE MATHENY: He went out early and was able to run, ended up being more of a cramp than anything else. So the training staff medical people were able to get it cleared out, get him hydrated and made sure there weren’t going to be any other issues. And he felt good today running. So he passed all of the tests?

Q. You’ve hit well enough to get to this point in the playoffs, but is this good enough, your hitting, is it good enough to win the World Series?

MIKE MATHENY: Well, we’ve got to score runs to win. Yesterday we couldn’t really get anything going. The one time we did we had an aggressive base running play that ended up taking us out of the inning. But overall, this team has gone through lulls, just like every other team offensively. We know that we have the offensive potential. The numbers back that. The guys’ belief in themselves backs that.

But we’ve got to get it going. We’ve got to figure out a way. We’ve got to get it started and hopefully it will put one of those good, long runs together. But right now it’s hard to come by and we have to get something started.

Q. A follow‑up to that: You’ve faced some excellent pitchers, that’s part of it. But what do you see that your guys are doing or could be doing better? That’s number one. Number two, are you concerned that frustration will set in and they’re going to put pressure on themselves which can be counter-productive?

MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, I mean, we’re always trying to stay ahead of that and making sure that the guys have the right frame of mind. Then being honest evaluators of what they have going on. The honest evaluation is we have a couple guys that are just a click off, and it’s not far. We’re seeing some balls and real good swings on a couple balls that are mistakes in the middle of the plate. When you face better pitching, you’re going to have fewer balls to react to in the middle of the plate. But we’ve had some and we’ve missed them. This is a club that we understand you have to capitalize. When you get the opportunities against a good pitcher, you have to make them pay when they do. We haven’t been able to do that.

But as far as moving forward, there are small adjustments that they’re making. They make them every day, every at‑bat, in every game. They’re back there working again today to try to get right, and we think they’re close.

Q. I’m sure you heard the news about Wally Bell. I wondered if you might share your thoughts on him having been‑‑ I mean, you just saw him last week in the series, and you guys were the last team, obviously, that he called. I imagine he also called games where you caught.

MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, deepest regrets to his family and also the loss to the baseball family. Wally was a class individual and a very, very good umpire. I have a lot of‑‑ always had a lot of respect for how he went about his business. That was bad news for all of us, but our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Q. If there’s one thing that you could put your finger on what you liked most about Lance Lynn, can you tell us?

MIKE MATHENY: Well, I think there is a lot to like, his aggressiveness and his natural competitive nature. He goes about pitching the way that we like for him to go about it when he’s right. He finished up the season throwing the ball very well with good presence on the mound, a good tempo, and good stuff. So you put all of that together with a guy that just is driven to win, driven to compete, and it’s a good mix.

Q. With Freese in the lineup, have you made any changes at all?

MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, the only other change that you’ll see will be Daniel Descalso will be playing shortstop today and batting 8th.

Q. Adams 4th?

MIKE MATHENY: Adams 4th.

Q. There was some talk on your side last night about Puig and his celebration.

MIKE MATHENY: We almost made it through this whole thing (smiling).

Q. Where do you stand on it? Does it bother you at all?

MIKE MATHENY: Where I stand and where our guys stand is that we take care of our own self. We take care of our business. We go out and play the game that we think we should be playing in a way that we think it should be played. Anything outside of that is not our responsibility.