PostCards: Mike Matheny talks after 2014 NLDS Game 2


Following a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the 2014 National League Division Series, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny addressed the media.

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Q. Can you just talk about the roller coaster of emotions in that game. You guys fight back, Matt Carpenter does it for you guys and Kemp does it for them?

MIKE MATHENY: I thought Lance Lynn did a nice job of keeping us in that game and obviously Greinke was throwing the ball well. He had sharp stuff today. He had an above‑average breaking ball, slider chasing off the plate.

But Lance’s fastball was good, I thought he used some good secondary pitches and gave us a chance, kept us close. That’s what we ask, ask the guys to grind on the mound or at the plate and put together a couple good at‑bats with Oscar coming in off the bench facing a lefty and obviously Carp coming up big for us again and got us right there.

Then we put the ball in the hands of our bullpen, who had been extremely good all season, especially Pat Neshek. Their guy got him. It’s going to happen. But guys, as usual, stuck their nose in there and fought.

Q. In the third inning you had Grichuk gets close to catching that ball and then the play in between first and second base. Is it just an example of game of inches where one thing happens and the whole game can turn just a couple of things happening?

MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, I think that’s fair to say. Randal made a great attempt at that ball. Real close to making a spectacular play. And then, yeah, that’s kind of one of those funny plays that probably isn’t caught without the replay system right now, which it wasn’t. It ended up coming around and not just costing us extra pitches, but ended up costing a run.

But it’s a tough play, because your instincts are to reach and Kolten didn’t even realize that he still had the ball in his bare hand. But I think it was obvious that that happened and that one came back to get us.

But we had some chances and you can’t really pin it on one thing. But in games like this, with pitchers going at it like that, usually the little things do add up quick.

Q. You guys get out of here with a split. Having gone against the Dodgers’ two best pitchers, does that give you more added confidence going back home?

MIKE MATHENY: No, we know this is a good team and offensively they got a lot of potential to do some serious damage. It doesn’t matter who they have pitching, they have got good pitchers yet to come. We like what we have got as well and we believe that our offense is going to continue to put together those kind of tough at‑bats.

But getting out of here with that win yesterday, that was big for us. This one here is fresh on our minds and it was there and we let it slip away. We got to let that go and figure out how to put a good game on day after tomorrow.

Q. Matt’s had an up‑and‑down year this year. What do you see in him at the plate with his approach now compared to during the season?

MIKE MATHENY: We got three Matts. Which one are we talking about?

Q. Carpenter.

MIKE MATHENY: Okay. Carpenter has really not had an up‑and‑down year. He’s had probably as many hard outs as anybody in the game of baseball. He’s had a very consistent approach, continues to be just a nuisance at the plate, and has an incredible awareness of his strike zone. How things are falling in for him did fluctuate, but that’s the challenge of a long season, especially after the splash he made last year.

People are trying to pitch him differently and he’s making adjustments and doing it well. But he’s had a terrific year for us, again, and continues to amaze us with how he goes about every at‑bat.

Q. Neshek has had such an incredible statistical year. Do you think he’ll just bounce right back from something like this?

MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, he’s had a couple games. I mean, you’re putting him in a tough spot and it’s nothing new for Pat Neshek. He has had one of those just historic kind of seasons, especially his whole story and we have been proud to be a part of watching what he’s done and taking advantage of it.

He’s been in a couple spots where he has given up a couple, next time he comes out he’s right back to dominating. You don’t have the kind of numbers you have without having that short memory and the numbers he has speak for themselves.

He’s going to be right back in there. We’ll throw him right back in that tough spot and know that he’s going to make good pitches for us.

Q. What are you seeing from Kemp right now? Is he back to where he was a couple of years ago?

MIKE MATHENY: He’s healthy. That’s really what it comes down to. You can tell there’s a different confidence in his swing and in his approach and how he attacks the ball. And I always respect how these guys just push even when they’re not right physically, they figure out a way to stay in there and fight. But then they’re rewarded once they do come around to full health.

He’s in a good spot health‑wise right now and you can tell it in his swing.