PostCards: Mike Matheny talks after World Series Game 5


St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny spoke to the media following Game 5 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox.
Oct 25, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (22) talks with the media during a press conference a day before game three of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Busch Stadium. Image Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Q. If we can talk about Adam. Starting in the first, I know it’s the first inning, was there thought even then to walk Ortiz to get to Gomes. Can you start there?

MIKE MATHENY: Just like I told when we talked about this earlier, we’re going to make tough pitches. And sometimes we get more at the plate than what we’re looking to get. Sometimes they go out of the zone to get it. Right there it was the idea of making it tough. And unfortunately he found the spot.

Q. With Ellsbury in the 7th, I think Wainwright was at 105 pitches, is there serious consideration there to taking him out at that point?

MIKE MATHENY: No. We liked how he was throwing. We liked the fact that he had a couple of strikeouts and a pop‑up in the previous three at‑bats, and liked the way he was going about it to get us out of that. Get him back in and score some runs.

Q. Just in total with the damage that he’s done, win or lose, whether you guys come back or not, do you think Ortiz is the MVP of the series? Is that decided already in terms of what he’s done?

MIKE MATHENY: That’s not even a conversation we’re even thinking about. We’ve got games to play. And we’ve got two games we could still win here. So that kind of stuff isn’t even on our radar.

Q. I mean if you guys come back and win, just because he’s had such a great series?

MIKE MATHENY: I don’t know. Same answer.

Q. How much of tonight was about Lester? And what did he do, if anything, differently than you saw from him before?

MIKE MATHENY: Not a lot differently. He threw the ball extremely well. It came down to a big hit. They got the big hit when they needed it, and we couldn’t put much together. Holly got us going with the big home run. A couple hard hit balls after that. Just couldn’t stack them on top of each other and get many guys to jam up the bases.
But he was the same pitcher that we saw last time. And we had a good approach. Once again I thought we took some better at‑bats here than last time. Played a little cleaner game, but couldn’t get much going. He kept us down.

Q. How do you see your situation going into Game 6 with Wacha pitching?

MIKE MATHENY: You know, our guys have been backed up against the wall before, and this is something that isn’t foreign to them. They know what we have to do. We just play our game. If we go about it the right way, we’ll be right where we want to be.

Now, would it be in a better position if we won tonight? Absolutely. But once again, this isn’t some place they haven’t been before. Go out and play the game. Try not to make too much of it. Not get too far ahead of ourselves, and get back to the kind of baseball we know we can play and put together those tough at‑bats. I see some guys taking some better at‑bats. I think there are some positives we can take out of today. Waino threw a good game for us. Once again, the big hit got us the double and the bloop that fell in for another run.

Overall better at‑bats. Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.

Q. Pete Kozma has had a tough series at the plate, a tough year at the plate. Did you consider hitting for him after Freese’s double in the eighth?

MIKE MATHENY: Once again, with a left‑hander on the mound, we only have our back‑up catcher as a right‑handed bat, unless we throw another lefty in there.

Pete, also, even though it’s been a tough offensive season for him, he’s also been able to get some big hits for us at times and drop something in there. We needed for him to come up big for us, but didn’t happen today.

Q. Guys on the roster guys who haven’t been used, Miller, Mujica, in hindsight could you have had anymore options on the bench in position players?

MIKE MATHENY: There’s always hindsight, and hindsight is usually always right. Right now we like the way our bench is being lined up. We had to stack it right‑handed with our starters, so we didn’t have a whole lot of options off our bench. I didn’t feel we’ve been that short. But we have extra guys down in the pen, just in case we get in situations that we don’t predict. We’ve been covered in most situations overall.

Q. How tall is this task for you to win two straight games in Fenway? And what do you need to do to accomplish that?

MIKE MATHENY: I think it starts with a mentality that it’s a great challenge. It’s a great opportunity for us to go in and prove the kind of team we are as far as how tough we are mentally, and I think that’s where it begins. After that it comes down to execution. We’ve got to have Michael come out and throw a big game.

Once again, we were in that spot backed up where we had to have a win. It’s not something we haven’t seen before, and the guys know what we have to do; we have to play the game. They have to lock arms, trust each other and play the game the right way. Most of it is going to be the mentality of not buying into any kind of stats, any kind of predictions, any kind of odds. And go out and play the game.

Q. Allen, your thoughts on him tonight? Certainly defensively, as well as I assume he should be okay to DH when you go back to Boston in two days?

MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, we’re hopeful. Everything seemed to respond well today. We’ll see. We’ll evaluate him tomorrow and get a look at him, but most likely I imagine he’ll be in there as a designated hitter.

Q. Looking at the big picture, how surprising is it to you that you weren’t able to win two out of three at home, given that they had the DH taken out of their lineup and being under National League rules here?

MIKE MATHENY: They’ve been in that situation through interleague play. Everybody’s understanding of that. And there could be an advantage, it doesn’t always play out that way. We anticipated ‑‑ we’ve gone all season one game at a time. Looking back, would we like to take 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 3. It was our game plan, one at a time, each one of them. But you keep rolling with it. We don’t set any goals. We have to leave here winning so many games. We’ve just got to win the next one, and that’s the same way we’re going to finish this one out.