PostCards: Mike Matheny talks after St. Louis Cardinals win 2014 NLDS Game 4


St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny addressed the media after the St. Louis Cardinals clinched their 4th straight NLCS appearance with a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series.

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Q. When you look at your team compared to a lot of them that get to the postseason, other than Peralta, I don’t think there’s free agents. A lot of guys either came within the system or came in deals for players in the system. Does that create any special thing among them?

MIKE MATHENY: I’m glad, that hasn’t really been brought up much through the season of how many homegrown players. And that’s something we as an organization take a lot of pride in, when you see how many of these kids came up through, and are contributing, not just making it here, but thriving at this level and helping us to be able to walk in there and pop champagne.

That’s something that we know is an invaluable experience, let alone it’s the goal. It’s what we do this for. And to be able to do it with a couple of these guys we drafted not too long ago, you watch a Marco Gonzales walk out of Gonzaga just a couple of years ago and he’s in there pitching in a big game here and has a couple of big games.

That sort of thing, I think, keeps motivating our kids in our system to keep improving. But it starts with our scouts. It starts with our scouting department, our player development department, staying on course with what we believe is the kind of player we need to help us at this level.


MIKE MATHENY: No, we’ve had a couple of them that are high picks, a couple that have been guys that have flown in below the radar.

You look at Kevin Siegrist who didn’t make the round this time, but 44th‑round pick. That’s pretty good motivation for the kids in our system. Let them know it’s not just the high picks that are going to get the looks; but whoever is out there continuing to improve.

Q. Even though Kershaw took a one‑hitter to the seventh inning, did you kind of feel like based on what had happened early in this series with your team’s ability to score from the 7th inning on, plus his pitch count was in the 90s, did you feel you had a good chance to break through there?

MIKE MATHENY: We understand the caliber of pitcher he is, and he was great again tonight. He’s obviously being looked at as the most valuable player in the League, and one of the best pitchers there is, period. I have nothing but respect for him.

I know the guys have respect for him, they’re also realizing ‑‑ and helps to be reminded like we were in LA, if they stay the course, and just continue to fight, you never know when you might land something.

That’s what they continued to do, regardless of who it is against, and not giving the opposition too much credit to think that we’re out of anything. I think that’s something that is a learned trait that these guys have done exceptionally well.

Q. Obviously last year Shelby didn’t get this opportunity. Can you talk about his performance today.

MIKE MATHENY: Yes, he just had an “I told you so” moment there with going out and pitching like he did, telling us that he could do it last year, and we just didn’t give him the opportunity.

But he’s continued to improve, and that really gave him this opportunity. And came out throwing very well today and kept us in that game. Just kind of hit the wall. And fortunately, we were able to get out of it without too much damage and keep us within striking distance.

I thought it was a very good game with Shelby, especially with a lot of time off and his first time pitching in this environment.

Q. Couple of times when I saw you during the season your power was under question, and you kept saying, if we keep doing our job it will eventually be there. Surprise you at all to see that the power, particularly the left‑handers against left‑handers?

MIKE MATHENY: You know, not really. You look at what these guys have been able to do, you take a Matt Adams and see his track record, and even though he didn’t throw up huge power numbers this year, he has in the past and can. There’s no reason to say that it’s gone anywhere.

As far as how they’re taking the bats against lefties, I think they go through different periods of time where they’re taking better at‑bats than others against left‑handed pitching.

A lot of times it’s how often are they allowed to stay in there. I’ve been pulling them a lot of times, not letting them start against the lefties, and they’re not going to be as comfortable.

So shame on me at times. But we’re trying to keep everybody sharp. But when you keep throwing them in there, they’re going to feel more comfortable and I think it’s paid off here for us recently.

Q. How huge was Molina’s pick‑off to end the sixth inning?

MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, that’s a big play. Anytime you can get an out at third base. Matt Carpenter being heads up to be there, also.

Yadi is fearless behind the plate. He’s just ‑‑ he continues to amaze us with what he does, and how he controls the pace of the game, how he controls the pitching staff. And just his leadership qualities that he brings to this club.

But that play is something that he does without thinking. He sees a play, he wants to make it happen. And Matt Carpenter is the same kind of defender.