PostCards: Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday talk 2014 NLDS Game 1


Following the St. Louis Cardinals’ 10-9 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the 2014 National League Division Series (NLDS), Matt Holliday and Matt Carpenter addressed the media.

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Q. If we dismiss the hit by pitch incident and just the body language on both teams, can you confirm that these teams just don’t care for one another a whole lot?

MATT HOLLIDAY: You mean me? I don’t have a problem with those guys.

Q. You show them respect, but it seems as if there’s a bit of an edge in this. It’s a good thing, maybe?

MATT HOLLIDAY: Yeah, there’s surely two competitive teams getting after each other. Like I said, I don’t have any ill‑will to any of their players. In fact, Mark McGwire is a friend of mine and I know some of their guys pretty well. So, things like that happen. So two teams that are after the same thing and I think that the Hanley having his rib broken last year, it probably heightened the tension if somebody gets hit, but clearly, it’s not a situation that anybody was throwing at anybody.

Q. We have Kershaw and Wainwright two of the best pitchers perhaps in baseball and we get a 10‑9 game. How do you explain what happened today?

MATT CARPENTER: I was telling somebody earlier that every time you expect something, I’m sure everybody in baseball was expecting a one‑run game. We ended up getting one, but we didn’t think it would be 10‑9.

Just one of those games. Two teams competing really hard, going after it and it was a lot of offense but there’s no explanation for why that happened.

Q. How much does your at‑bat against Kershaw last year in the NLCS play through your mind there in that situation and does that kind of help you as you’re going through what he might, you who he might attack you at that point?

MATT CARPENTER: You know, there was a moment during that at‑bat where I kind of was feeling the kind of the same emotions I was having last year. It was a very similar thing. Very similar at‑bat. Honestly, in that moment I was trying to really just lock in on what I was trying to accomplish and that was just being competitive and really having a tough AB and an inning where we had a lot of action, I was just trying to keep the line moving.
I was able to get a pitch that I could handle and something I could put the barrel on and hit it in the gap and ended up being a big play for us.

Q. Talk about at‑bat and I’m sure they will be talking about this one. Is there something with you guys, obviously you’re playing up against one of the top pitchers, but can you take us through that just sort of what’s happening there?

MATT CARPENTER: I just ‑‑ I have the utmost respect for Clayton and what kind of pitcher he is. Honestly, there’s just a little bit, it makes it more fun when you’re playing against somebody that is known as being the best pitcher in the game. I just enjoy competing in those moments. He’s a competitive guy, I would like to feel that I’m a competitive guy and when I get in those at‑bats, versus him, I just try to fight. He’s coming right after me, seems like every time I face him I’m down 0‑2 and I got to fight my way back. I don’t know what the reason is for it, but just battling.

Q. What was that 7th inning like for your team when you rallied to score eight runs?

MATT HOLLIDAY: Well, I think that we started off just, look, we’re down 6‑2 at the time. Carp hit a homer, tried to get people on base, really just keep playing, keep having good at‑bats. Everybody just kept saying, let’s see what happens. What other choice do we have? Just keep battling and we strung some hits together and next thing you know, Carp has the big double and we got a lead. So, baseball’s a crazy game and we were able to come back. It was quite a task.

Q. In that sort of at‑bat, I’m assuming that you sort of go through a checklist against every pitcher. Are you first looking release point, then spin, then velocity, things like that, can you exactly what are you looking at with Clayton when you’re waiting for the ball to be delivered?

MATT CARPENTER: With him, he’s got a fastball that’s anywhere between 94 and 96. So you got to be on time with that. So, I’m just, when I face him, I just try to be aggressive and try to be on time. There’s not a lot of action or there’s not a lot of success in his slider and curveball, especially from a left hander, so you got to do a good job of trying to lay off that one.

He’s a real tough guy to face. I can’t tell you why I’ve been able to have some success against him, because it’s not easy. I don’t enjoy facing him. It’s not a real comfortable at‑bat, but you just got to try to battle and compete and it’s the post‑season, crazy things happen and you just got to control your emotions in those moments and just compete out there.

Q. For either or both of you. There’s been a lot of talk this year about the offense maybe not reaching the potential that everybody thought it was going to be, did that 7th inning kind of have shades of the way you guys worked offensively last year with stringing together hits and kind of the potential you thought you might have more consistently this year?

MATT HOLLIDAY: That’s not how we look at things. I don’t think that we look back and say, wow, our offensive team this year was a huge failure.

We hit really well with runners in scoring position tonight. We won 90 games. We won our division. While our offense wasn’t as good as it was last year, statistically, we found ways to win games.

I don’t think as players we look at, well, that was what we wanted all season long was what we did tonight. That’s not how we look at it. We are here to battle, here to compete, try to pick up our pitchers, Adam had a tough night and we picked him up. A lot of times he picks us up when we’re not swinging the bats well. So it’s a game to game deal now. We’re in the playoffs and all the regular season stuff’s out the window.

MATT CARPENTER: I agree. I think that the best trait about our offense is, as a whole, we don’t throw a lot of at‑bats away. You can say that we might have not lived up to the expectations that were given to us for what we did last year as an offense, but we got a bunch of guys that don’t quit, don’t give up at‑bats and tonight was a good example of that. Being down a lot and keep going up there and trying to be tough outs and found a way to get it done.

Q. For either of you guys, similar to what you were saying, but it seems like no matter who is in this lineup, you guys have a way of beating the best pitchers. I think of the games against Cliff Lee or Halladay or Greinke in the past and certainly tonight. What is it about you guys when you face a really good pitcher this time of year that allows you to compete against him and often win?

MATT HOLLIDAY: I think that this time of year that’s all you’re really going to run into. So you have no choice. If you’re waiting for the four or five starter that doesn’t throw that good of stuff, you’re going to be waiting awhile.

So, I think we expect to go out and see expectations of, look, we are here to win and our expectations are to win the World Series, and if it doesn’t happen, then it’s a disappointment.

So it’s going to be battle. We know that coming into this series you’re going to face Kershaw and Greinke maybe twice. So we have no choice to battle.

In the past, same thing. We have set a culture here where it doesn’t matter who is pitching, we’re going to grind away on at‑bats. Like Matt says, we had a lot of guys that grind out at‑bats and up and down the lineup we’re going to give tough at‑bats and that’s how we try to work with it.

Q. For Holliday, does this 7th inning where the Cardinals rose from the ashes against Kershaw, does that give the Cardinals the momentum swing and could you also take us through your home run in the 7th.

MATT HOLLIDAY: Well, I don’t think it helps us any further than we got one game under our belts. Obviously, it didn’t look great for us. We got to win three games, we have won one. So we got a big challenge tomorrow against Zack Greinke and so that doesn’t help us for that. So, you’re glad that you got a win, and you move on to tomorrow.
That at‑bat, I never faced the guy before, I knew he was throwing hard, he just had thrown Grichuk, 96, 97, looking for a fastball, got one, and thank goodness I put a decent swing on it.

Q. Either one of you, talk about, did the emotions of the 3rd inning have a negative impact on you guys and if so, can you talk about your resiliency to get past what happened.

MATT CARPENTER: I’ll talk about it. Honestly, we had the lead at that point. Whether it was the case or not, but I think it kind of lit a fire under them, if it did anything. And they were able to jump out into a lead and I don’t know if it maybe excited them up or, I don’t know what happened, but then we got down. But I don’t think ‑‑ obviously it didn’t have that big of an impact on us.

We were able to come back and find a way to win. But I definitely think that at that particular moment it kind of woke a sleeping dog, so to speak. Those guys were, they were down and they started getting fired up and found a way to get ahead of us 6‑1.

But like we were talking about earlier, this is two teams that are playing with a lot of heart, a lot of passion, both teams really want to win and in that moment that was just some guys that got a little excited about something.

Q. Your thoughts on Carpenter’s at‑bat, too. People kind of compare it to Game 6 last year where he just kept fighting and fighting. Tell me what that can do and did you think of that as well? Did you think back to the NLCS?

MATT HOLLIDAY: Honestly, I have a terrible memory, so I wasn’t thinking about that at all. I was like, come on Carp, we need a hit. Something big, something.

He does it, he’s done it ever since he’s come up to the big leagues. He’s battled and had great at‑bats in big spots and I’m sure he’s going to have lefties around the league calling for a game plan against Kershaw, because I don’t think anybody else really hits him, but Carp’s had a lot of success off him.