St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny addressed the media prior to Game 1 of the 2014 National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
More from St Louis Cardinals News
- Cardinals Rumors: 3 pros and cons of signing Carlos Rodon
- Cardinals: Here is Willson Contreras’ first message for St. Louis fans
- How do the St. Louis Cardinals stack up with Willson Contreras?
- Cardinals: The insane asking price the Athletics had for Sean Murphy
- St. Louis Cardinals: Ask me anything with Josh Jacobs – 12/8
Q. How difficult was the outfield decision with Bourjos, Jay, and Grichuk for you today and can you give us your thinking of that, please?
MIKE MATHENY: It was difficult every day. But I think kind of where we’re stuck and where we have been here for awhile is trying to give us best opportunity today and Peter Bourjos has had a little success against him, going mostly off of what we have seen here lately. And Jon Jay‘s done a terrific job and Peter has taken advantage of the few opportunities we have given him and Randal Grichuk has done a nice job against the left‑handers.
It’s not an easy assignment with Kershaw and I think the same thing is going to play out as we look at second base and now that would have been a tough spot for a lefty like Kolten Wong and giving Pete Kozma an opportunity.
But we have faith that all these guys are going to help us one way or the other, whether it’s the beginning of the game or late.
Q. Lineup questions are asked, a lot of them focus on the splits or career that guys have. What role has defense played in some of the decisions in the lineup either the last six games of the regular season and then today’s lineup?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, defense definitely plays a large role in it. We’re looking at the outfield and the defense that we have been able to see from a Randal Grichuk, we believe Jon Jay plays a great center field for us and Peter Bourjos brings in that component also. Nice to be able to bring him late in the game when we do need some help.
But Randal Grichuk has been one of the young players that stood out to us on the defensive side and we have seen him make a difference for us, especially in some of these close games, which today could be one of those. But it’s the combination of his effectiveness against the lefties as well as the defense that make this a pretty easy decision for us to put him in there.
Q. What does it say about Pete given the fact that you guys had him in Memphis for the majority of the year to draw this assignment and what he’s done lately?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, it’s a great statement. We break camp realizing that we have Jhonny Peralta who is absolutely impressed us in every aspect through this whole season and realizing there wasn’t going to be a lot of opportunity at shortstop.
So we could have brought Pete Kozma along with us, it would have been limited playing time, and that seems to be kind of the typical conversation with a young player is to tell him, hey, it’s best for you to go to AAA, and that’s the last thing in the world they want to hear. But the reality is, and it was true, that we needed him to stay ready in case something did happen because we know that he can play shortstop on an everyday basis and his glove alone is going to be able to allow him to help us at some point.
For him to stay the course and not get discouraged and not to go backwards, I believe he’s improved his versatility where he can go into second base, he plays a solid second base now. Takes great at‑bats, I think he’s getting better there as well. He did exactly what we asked of him and now this just isn’t a reward, we don’t throw that out this time of year. We believe he’s going to give us our best chance today and I think that’s just a very big compliment to Pete.
Q. Are matchup decisions, lineup decisions, are they more difficult to make or are they more finite when you got a Kershaw on the mound or a potential low scoring game?
MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, you’re looking at two situations here today where numbers, they helped a Pete Kozma, he’s had a little bit of success. You’re not going to find too many guys with a whole lot of numbers against a Kershaw style pitcher. But Peter Bourjos has had a couple good games, too, and it didn’t help him out that much.
A lot of it comes down to really what we have seen lately, and which guys are really going about the at‑bats and look like they’re in a good spot. And that’s something we could absolutely say about Jon Jay right now and we like the way Pete Kozma’s going about it and the same with Randal Grichuk.
So the numbers are part of the equation, not necessarily the whole thing. Especially when you look at splits, too. I mean he’s not giving up a lot of hits to lefties or righties. But we just feel that certain guys are in a good spot right now offensively and we’re going to take our best shot with them.
Q. Not looking too far ahead with Lance Lynn tomorrow, we have talked about how he’s taken steps forward in harnessing his emotions. How much can that help him on this stage and the next step forward as a starter in the post‑season?
MIKE MATHENY: You’ve heard a number of times how proud we are that he was able to make an adjustment and take that next step in his game and it allows him to be more consistent. His stuff has been pretty consistent, his execution of his stuff the last couple of years has kind of fluctuated with some of the things that he couldn’t control, whether it was a defensive play made or not made behind him and the same thing with maybe some calls behind the plate and his execution suffered because of his distraction.
He’s able to harness that this year and it’s just part of that maturing process and he’s been rewarded also that he sees when he’s able to put that kind of game plan together and stick with it regardless of the things outside of his control how they happen, he’s going to give himself a better chance of success. It’s worked out really well for him.
So I think that same thing could be said about the post‑season. There’s potential for distractions out there, but if he sticks with what he’s been doing and stays the course, he’s got a much better chance of being successful.