PostCards: Mike Matheny talks after 2014 NLDS Game 3


Following a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the 2014 National League Division Series, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny addressed the media.

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Q. Before the game you talked about putting Wong in the lineup against the lefty, it wasn’t just the splits. What did you like about him? Obviously you left him in against the lefty reliever?

MIKE MATHENY: He’s seen good at‑bats against lefties all season. Seems like there’s times he sees them better off left‑handers. And he has the ability, as we saw again tonight, every once in a while he’s going to pop one. He’s got great power. And when he gets into a good groove, I like him against anybody.

That last at‑bat, too, another one that he squared up very well, happened to go to the wrong spot. He’s in a good spot right now. Good time for it.

Q. Talk about Lackey’s performance and his ability to buckle down in the postseason.

MIKE MATHENY: Well, just kind of what we knew we were going to get. We’ve seen it from the other side, been on the bad end of it. He’s just got a great mix of intensity, but still being able to keep himself under control in the big situations and thrives on being out there. And wants the ball. He proves it by how he goes out and throws.

I thought his stuff looked sharp today. Fastball was jumping. Had good movement. Slider was very, very good for him today. He was smart with his curveball. He didn’t leave it in positions where it could get hit hard. He mixed it up well. I thought it was one of his best outings for us.

Q. How much of an edge, not just Kolten, but Jon, Carpenter, or Adams’ hitting against lefties has been pretty good this series?

MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, they’ve had great runs. Matt Carpenter has been very consistent all year. You look at Jon Jay‘s splits against lefties, pretty impressive. Matt Adams has gone through a couple spells where he wasn’t seeing it real well and wasn’t trusting himself. But two great swings today; one of them getting a hit for us and getting us started.

These guys take a lot of pride in not wanting to be that guy that has to be pulled when a lefty gets into the rotation and we’re facing them. And they work at it. And it’s nice to see it pay off.

Q. Nobody is excited about facing Kershaw, from the experience from Game 1 do you think your team feels a little more ease going up against him tomorrow?

MIKE MATHENY: We’ve said it before, we’ve got a lot of respect for him. What he’s done this season, you don’t turn a blind eye to.

But it gets to the point of this time of the season and you just have to have confidence in yourself and confidence in your teammates. And you have to continue to stay the course and realize that he had his way for the majority of that game the other day. And we know what kind of pitcher he can be. We have to put together a good game plan and hopefully stay with it. And realize that you’re going to have to fight because he’s never going to be easy.

Q. You guys haven’t hit a lot of home runs this season, but it would appear in this series, it’s something that’s turning it around for you.

MIKE MATHENY: We’ve heard a lot about that this season, about our lack of home runs. It’s nice to see them in big situations like this. We’ve got guys that can do it, but we’re not preaching it. It isn’t like we started October and all of a sudden say, We’re going to hit homers.

They’re just taking good at‑bats, and when they do, the ball is going to jump out from time to time, and good time for it today.

Q. With what you talked about the other day about Wong, what happened last year, being part of his growth and development, what happened tonight, does it go through your mind at all while the game is going on, that kind of that personal story of his, what happened last year and now what just happened tonight?

MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, last year was ‑‑ he got picked off. That happens. That happens to everybody. It just happened on a bigger stage for him. And really, it was something that just a quick lesson and you move on. He takes that stuff a little too hard.

And that’s what we’re constantly talking to him about in the clubhouse and out on the field, about letting things go. And I think he’s done a nice job of that. He’s had a couple of opportunities, whether it’s being picked off, or a play that didn’t quite happen how it wanted to, he jumps right back in there and puts a real nice at‑bat or makes a nice defensive play. It’s part of feeling like you belong here. And he’s done enough obviously here to show that he belongs and it’s just going to get better.