Q. Koji Uehara strike percentage was 74 percent and is 79 percent in the postseason. What do you think of guy that’s throwing 8 of 10 pitches for strikes with that plus splitter?
Oct 22, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny during practice the day before game one of the 2013 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Image Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
MIKE MATHENY: If he’s coming into the zone, then you’ve probably got something to hit, as long as you stay within yourself and are able to adapt. But you’re watching some very good players take some awkward swings, so there’s more deception than what it appears, especially watching it on film or on TV live.
So you start looking at the matchups, there’s very few players on either club who have seen a lot of the other. It’s going to be adjusting on the fly. And you’re going to go up there and the first time see a pitch that looks a little different to you. This game is about making adjustments and adapting. The good players do it quickly. The great ones do it even quicker. So hopefully our guys are able to get a look, stay with the plan, stick with it and trust themselves. It’s happened to us, once again. All season long, we’ve run into guys who have had a lot of success, and who have had a lot of different successes as far as being able to get swing and misses. We have to be able to stay on top of it.
Q. A lot has been made of an unfamiliar opponent in an unfamiliar venue. The Red Sox seem to play the game at a little slower pace. Hitters tend to step out. Is that an adjustment in any way for you guys or something that you have to deal with or is it just another part of the game?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, just every team we play it seems to be a little bit different philosophy. But once again, right now I think one of the biggest things for our club is to eliminate distractions. And keep away from getting away from what we’re good at. What we’re good at is staying within ourselves, regardless of what the other club does, and stick with our strengths. And the guys have done a nice job. We’ve had plenty of opportunities to have distractions, and the guys have done a real nice job of staying the course.
So this is going to be another test. And hopefully they’re ready for it.
Q. What do you like about the way John Farrell goes about his business? You guys are sort of both low‑key guys. Do you see a little bit of yourself in John Farrell?
MIKE MATHENY: I don’t want to insult him (laughter).
No, I have used that word “respect”, but I don’t throw it out loosely. We watch the way a team goes about their business. We watch the way the managers and how the team carries themselves, an extension of the manager.
Just listening, once again, to some of the interviews of the guys that are with him every day, you can get your opinions as a fan or even as the media, but the guys who see him all spring, all season long, to hear some of the things that they’re saying about him, you can tell he’s made an impact. He’s made an impact obviously not just on the wins and losses, but on the guys individually. If you have an opportunity as a leader and as a manager to step in and influence them not just professionally, but personally, as well, and put these guys in a situation where they can succeed, and they buy into the selflessness, which is so contradictory to how this game operates with stats, numbers and salaries, he’s done that. I don’t know what more you can ask from a guy, especially coming off a season that Boston had last year, to be able to turn things around that quickly, just nothing but compliments.