PostCards: Jon Jay, Randal Grichuk talk before 2014 NLDS Game 2
Prior to National League Division Series (NLDS) Game 2 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals outfielders Jon Jay and Randal Grichuk addressed the media.
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Q. For you, Randal, what do you think the difference was for you coming up this time and having this success that you did compared to the couple times earlier this year when you came up and were trying to get your feet wet?
RANDAL GRICHUK: The first two times I came up I think I let the hype and all the distractions get the best of me. I got my feet wet those first two times, got to see what it was all about up here and then this last time around just really played with confidence. Played within myself, wasn’t really feeling for the ball. Just kind of put everything else beside it and just realized that baseball is baseball. It’s what I’ve been doing my whole life.
Q. Randal, could you take us through the walk that you had that set up as part of that 7th inning? And Jon, after he’s done that, could you describe what that meant to that inning, it was kind of lost in all the other happenings.
RANDAL GRICHUK: Yeah, pitching change happened right then and I went up there trying to be aggressive, looking for a heater. I knew he threw pretty firm and he started me off with a few cutters away and a battle got it to 3‑2 and threw that ball down low.
JON JAY: Yeah, that was a great at‑bat right there, especially with two outs. And that was just a classic example of what this team does; we try to keep the line moving, no one tries to be the hero. We understand if we do that we are going to have success. And he did a great job right there, especially batting in front of our three hole hitter Holliday. He gets another chance. He had a good at‑bat, battled, and he gave Holliday another chance to go up and he came through.
That’s the model we have around here is keep the line moving, you never know who is going to be the hero, but that was a big play right there, that helped to set up that big inning.
Q. How aware were you of the fact that hitters rarely ever, if ever, hit homers off Kershaw’s curveball and how do you explain that first inning at‑bat there?
RANDAL GRICHUK: I haven’t been really too aware of it. I know he’s one of the best pitchers in the game. Luckily he threw over the heart of the plate and I put a good swing on it. There’s not much really to say other than that.
Q. For either or both. Mike Matheny has been a manager for three years and he has you guys two wins away from his third National League Championship Series. What makes him so good and different from other managers?
JON JAY: Mike, we just done a good job together. He knows this team, he knows what buttons to push and he really follows us and let’s us play and then let’s us do our thing. If you look around the lineup we got a lot of guys that have been around and he’s done a good job of managing that.
We have Yadi there, that he knows the pitchers, he knows what’s going on. So Mike does a good job of letting us play and pushing the right buttons to help us succeed.
RANDAL GRICHUK: I haven’t been here as much as Jay has been, but like he said, just echoing it, Mike does a good job managing us, going out there and just allowing us to play and he knows the game real well. He played for years and he’s just a great manager.
Q. Jon, you faced John Lackey in the World Series last year and now he’s a member of your team. What did you see from him last year in his kind of his post‑season? He’s so experienced in the post‑season. What did you see from him last year and then when you found out that you guys got him this year and what have you seen since then?
JON JAY: Yeah, obviously Lackey dominates, dominated us last year and he’s a great pitcher, but what you really see out of him and what I’ve seen this year and what excited me when we got him over is what the a competitor he is. That’s the stuff that you like to see in your pitchers and in your players.
So, the fire he brings and he’s going to be out there giving it his all. That’s all you can ask for with any teammate. You want to know that they’re giving it their all. Whether good or bad, whatever the outcome is, you want to know that they’re going to be there and fight for you and that’s something that he really shows that he’s going to go out there and compete and that’s what it’s all about.
Q. Randal, it was pretty clear how you improved offensively after returning from the minors. How do you feel you improved defensively through the season and would you agree with the description you’re a rather aggressive outfielder?
RANDAL GRICHUK: Yeah, I try to pride myself in outfield. Luckily I’ve had Jay out here, it’s taught me a lot and the few times I’ve been up here in spring training, too. But if there’s a play that I think I can get to or make it, I’m going to try to do my best to do it. I know the pitchers are battling up there, giving it his all, so I’m going to try to lay out or make a play to be behind him.
Q. Probably more for Jon, but also Randal. There’s been a lot of talk since last night whether Clayton was tipping his pitches, whether you guys had stolen signs. Anything to that and would you tell us if there was?
JON JAY: There’s nothing to that. I’ll be the first one to say that there’s nothing to it and that’s it. We’re just going to go out there and keep playing ball and keep playing hard and that’s it.
Q. Jon, this place last year was the site of a lot of the questions we asked you about defense, the play there with Carlos. How much did that hang with you, if at all, during the season and what are some reasons behind the improvement defensively this year and how much pride have you taken in what you’ve been able to show in center?
JON JAY: I feel like I’m the same guy since I stepped in here day one. So, to me, I don’t feel like I’ve improved defensively, I feel like I’m the same guy.
That play last year was just part of baseball. It’s one of those plays that we didn’t make and you hope to make those plays, so nothing has lingered from that and I feel I’m the same guy I have been since I stepped in the first day.