PostCards: Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, and John Lackey on 2014 NLDS Game 3


After the St. Louis Cardinals’ 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the 2014 National League Division Series, Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, and John Lackey addressed the media.

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Q. Matt, did you know in the top of the 4th that Don Mattingly made the statement that it makes him think that Stan Musial is in that body and running around here?

MATT CARPENTER: I don’t really know what to say about that one. That’s a pretty good compliment. I don’t know if it’s deserving. But I don’t know what to say to that.

Q. Take us through the home run, it was about as much emotion as we’ve seen from you after a home run this season.

KOLTEN WONG: As you know, last year didn’t go as planned. Definitely getting back here this year, I was really excited about it. And to finally contribute to this team and finally do something special is exciting for me. And I let a little ‑‑ a lot of emotion out, as you can see. And it was awesome. An awesome feeling. And I was glad I was able to do it.

Q. John, how did you go about adapting to the zone tonight? Seemed like 4th, 5th inning you settled in. Before that how did you navigate through that?

JOHN LACKEY: I think their good hitters had more to do with it than the strike zone. The guys on base, they’ve got a good lineup. I was able to make some big pitches there early on. And definitely felt a little more comfortable toward those middle innings, and guys came through big for me at the end.

Q. Kolten, would you say that was the biggest home run of your career so far?

KOLTEN WONG: Absolutely. During this stage, the game that we had, I was just happy that I could finally contribute to the team and do something special.

Q. Matt, could you equate or compare how you feel now, what you’re doing now with where you were most of last year, where your production was obviously at an MVP type of level?

MATT CARPENTER: Yeah, I feel really good at the plate right now. Throughout the regular season, I wouldn’t say it was a struggle, but I never really went through a stretch that I felt I was really hot. I just felt like I was just having consistent at‑bats.

But nothing too bad, never really that great, either. Never really hit a stretch where I felt like I was doing damage at the plate. But I never felt like I was lost, either. Just in between.

Whereas a year ago I had some stretches where I felt really, really good. And for whatever reason it never came during this regular season. But the last couple of days it’s felt pretty good.

I would take it now than in the regular season anytime. This is when it matters. This is when it’s fun. I told somebody the other day I would take this season I had this year and do what I’m doing in the postseason ten out of ten. That’s why you play. And this has been fun. And hopefully we can keep riding this out.

Q. Kolten and Matt, the manager talked about how well you guys are hitting the lefty pitchers, the left‑handed hitters on your team. A common thread here? Each one of you doing things individually? What’s the key here?

MATT CARPENTER: Kolten’s always taken good at‑bats versus left‑handers. And I felt like I’ve held my own against left‑handers. We got some lefties in our lineup that don’t really feel uncomfortable versus a left‑handed pitcher.
That’s not to does credit the guys they have. They’ve got good left‑handed arms. Our lefties do a good job of staying in there. We work on all that. All our lefties talk about what a guy’s doing to them, when they come back to the bench saying he’s using his cutter away, getting the sinker in, getting that pitch out and over. We communicate well from a left‑handed batter to each left‑handed batter. That’s a big part of it, we’re always talking.

KOLTEN WONG: Also how we prepare ourselves before the game. If you look inside of the room you see everybody studying every pitcher, and trying to figure out how can we find some success against this guy. And you’ll find me, Matt, Jay, Big City, everyone is in there trying to figure out what we can do to spread some kind of information and make facing that lefty a little easier.

Q. John, whether it’s with Anaheim or Boston or here, you seem to be a good pitcher during the regular season, a lot of other guys get more attention. Is there something about the postseason that takes you to a different level?

JOHN LACKEY: I think there’s definitely different energy, different adrenaline level. And that can take you to special places when you use it the right way. And the atmosphere tonight was great. Fans were unbelievable. You feel that. You feed off that. If you channel it the right way it can definitely help you out.

Q. Considering they’re throwing Kershaw on short rest, and Greinke in Game 5, your thoughts for the series as far from over.

MATT CARPENTER: Certainly tonight it’s hard to call ‑‑ every game is an important game. But tonight was certainly a huge, huge game. And John did a great job for us.

This was certainly kind of a must win, knowing that we do have Kershaw and Greinke left.

Our team is playing well right now. Feel good about our chances. We come out tomorrow, short turnaround, and hopefully take care of business and go ahead and try to win this series.

Q. Kolten, when you think about the pickoff last year and the homer tonight, is that about as big a difference as you can imagine emotionally?

KOLTEN WONG: Absolutely. That pickoff last year definitely crushed me for a long time throughout the offseason.
But it was something that I definitely look back and I’m not thankful for it, but I know it made me stronger as a person and as a player. To go through that my first time in the big leagues is definitely tough. Once you go through something like that, everything else is a walk in the park. Definitely totally different emotions, but then again you live and learn.

Q. John, what was working for you when you got into the third inning and things ‑‑ seemed to be getting people out pretty quick?

JOHN LACKEY: For the most part I was locating my fastball pretty well. Yadi caught a great game. We had a good game plan coming into it studying their lineup. He’s always huge for me, especially being kind of new in the National League. We had kind of a team meeting there at the end, and never faced him before, asking what to do to him.

Just a great night, a great team win all the way around.

Q. What went through your mind when that ball went over the fence?

KOLTEN WONG: You saw it on my face. I definitely lost ‑‑ you kind of lost it out there, the emotion came out. And I was really excited to finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. You grind the entire season. You’re constantly working trying to figure out how to make this game a little easier, how to finally succeed. And when you do, it’s definitely one of those things you’re really proud of.