PostCards: Mike Matheny talks after St. Louis Cardinals win NLCS Game 6


Following the St. Louis Cardinals winning a record 19th National League championship with a 9-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night, manager Mike Matheny addressed the media.
Oct 18, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny hoists the National League championship trophy after game six of the National League Championship Series baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium. Image Credit: David J. Phillip/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Q. As someone who played here and now manages here, what does it mean for the Cardinals to be in the World Series?

MIKE MATHENY: I think we’ve been fortunate to be in an organization that winning is a tradition, winning is an expectation. We start talking early on about the history and the championships, the great players who have been through here and people who have made their mark on this organization and in the game. So we take a lot of pride in trying to carry ourselves like a championship club.

But there is a whole lot that’s in our way. There’s been a lot of good teams. You’re going to look at the team that we beat in Pittsburgh, what a great club. And the same thing here with LA, so talented. Then the kind of pitcher that we were able to beat tonight, it’s just impressive.

These guys have been training themselves, I think, in the expectation that we need to put together a season that’s representative of what this club stands for.

Q. We’ve talked about your young pitching, but they really carried you through all 27 outs tonight. I’m just curious what impact that has for your team, not just this year, but to have talented young pitching that’s now been through this as you head into 2014 and beyond?

MIKE MATHENY: I don’t think it can do anything but help them improve. There’s a lot of room for growth with all of them. We haven’t seen the ceiling with a lot of these young players. And to be able to have this test of being put on the big stage, there are a lot of people that go their entire career and ask themselves how would I perform on that stage, and they never know. So fortunately these guys‑‑ and they’re not taking it for granted either. They realize this is special. They’re reminded constantly by our veterans. But they’ve stepped up.

It’s not that they’re just here and they’re young, but we’re putting them in big situations and they’re doing the job. We’re very proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish. We’re also very, very clear that we’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve got one more step and it’s a big one. They’ve got to keep their head down and not buy into too much of the hype here. We’ve got some work to do. But also you’re looking at the future. We’ve got an opportunity to watch some pretty bright stars continue to shine.

Q. In the third inning you guys really grinded out some at‑bats against Kershaw. That seemed to be typical of the way you guys did it all year long. Key two‑out RBIs, key two‑strike hits.

MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, I would agree completely. Fitting that Matt Carpenter‘s kind of the guy that gets that going. To me, that’s kind of where the game changed is when Matt had the opportunity to get up there and fight off some real tough pitches from a very tough pitcher.

Next thing you know, we see him standing on second base which is a place we saw him quite a bit. Then you give our offense an opportunity to hit with runners in scoring position, and Carlos Beltran to do what he’s done so many times, and then we got some momentum going.

Our fans were into this. When that inning started happening, it just kicked into another level, and you could see the energy in our dugout just kind of buying into it. But it was that inning, and obviously guys going in and having a shutdown for Michael, and continuing to put up some zeros. It was a great effort all the way around.

Q. I know Wacha’s last four games have been all at the same incredible level. Is it even reasonable to expect something like that from a 22‑year‑old guy? He delivers all the time.

MIKE MATHENY: I think we just don’t talk about it much because we don’t want it to change. We want to see it a few more times, a couple at least. We just want him to think that this is normal and this is expected.

But in all honesty, if a guy has the ability to perform at that level, he’s been able to perform at that level in this kind of environment, he shouldn’t have another level of expectation for himself. He should expect that. That’s where he is right now. We have a group of veteran guys who have done some pretty incredible things, especially on the pitching side, to be able to sit there and say you continue to do this. This isn’t a fluke. We need to you do this in order for us to have a chance.

Q. (Question in Spanish)?

MIKE MATHENY: I can’t believe you’re doing this on TV. But it feels very good, and I feel very proud. I feel proud of our team, and I feel proud of how the guys have gone about doing it. Very professional, but very consistent. It’s just a group of guys that you show up every day and you look forward to spending time with them and watching them do their thing.