Post Cards: Matt Carpenter Talks With Media Before Game 5


Q.  I know you don’t have to win everything tonight, you just have to win one game, but can you talk a little about how you guys simplify, how you make cliché a reality and you go through keeping things simple?
Matt Carpenter :  I mean, it’s pretty obvious that tonight, our game, we’re playing for our season.  At any point when you are facing elimination, you have to find a way to win.
But that doesn’t change the fact that we’ve still got to play this game one pitch at a time, have good at‑bats and play defense and do that behind Waino, who we believe is going to give us a good chance to win tonight.
You can’t get caught looking ahead.  Going into this, you have to win four games and we still have an opportunity to do that.  Our backs are against the wall, but we feel like they have been that way all season.  This is a group that’s been resilient and has battled through a lot.
So, you know, we feel confident about it and we certainly are going to give our best effort to do that.

Q.  In the last series, you guys seem to play the Dodgers a lot more aggressively.  You pitched inside to them a lot; you took the game to them; you beat their best pitcher twice, and you really are not doing the same thing against the Giants.  Is there a difference in your approach to the Giants or their approach to you?
MATT CARPENTER:  Yeah, I don’t think that we’ve done anything different this series as opposed to the last.  I think the biggest thing that’s happened is we have made a few mistakes and they have capitalized on them.
They are a good team.  They don’t make a lot of mistakes, and they really haven’t made many, if any, to this point in the series.
We’ve had a few things not go our way and they have made us pay for it, and that’s been the difference.  You look at the way we’ve been swinging the bats, we’ve hit some home runs and we’ve been swinging the bat pretty good.  Just hasn’t worked out for us.

Q.  What have you seen in the growth of Kolten Wong?
MATT CARPENTER:  What he’s been able to do so far this postseason has been remarkable.  I mean, we knew that he had that in him.  I know the organization has a lot of faith in his ability and we saw flashes of it through the regular season.
But he’s really brought his game to another level throughout this postseason run, and it’s not just been strictly from an offensive standpoint.  He made some really outstanding plays yesterday.  The double play, the acrobatic turn there in I believe it was the first or second inning; he’s just been great.
He’s been a big part of this where we are right now and hopefully he can continue to do that.

Q.  What does Madison Bumgarner present in terms of challenges in so many different ways?
MATT CARPENTER:  Well, I mean, there’s no question that he’s one of the best pitchers in the game, certainly best left‑handed pitchers in the game.  He’s their ace and he’s the guy they want on the mound to go out and close the series for them today.
We definitely have our hands full.  But, you know, it’s going to be a challenge, but we’ve got the guy that we want on the mound for us and we’re going to just have to go out there and battle.
It’s going to be‑‑ this has got a chance to be a low‑scoring game, if it goes the way that it should, and it’s going to come down to who makes the plays and who gets that big hit.
We feel like we’ve got a good approach and we’ve game planned for them and hopefully we go out there and execute it.

Q.  What has Mark Ellis brought to this club this year, and also this postseason?  He talked about even though he can’t be on the field, that he’s going to try to help in any way possible, whether it’s scouting reports or what he picks up.  How have you seen that manifest itself these playoffs?
MATT CARPENTER:  I think Mark would be the first one to tell you that this has not gone the way that he would have liked it.  He’s battled through some injuries and missed some time.  But you can’t replace the fact or replace what he’s been able to do with his veteran leadership and the importance and help that he’s given Kolten Wong as a second baseman, and really our entire team.
There’s a lot of value in having a guy like him on a roster, even when he’s not active, just because of his intelligence and his leadership and what he’s able to explain to the young players.
We’ve got a lot of young guys that haven’t seen it all and you have a guy like Mark who has been there and done a lot in this game.  He’s really helped out a lot of our players, including myself.

Q.  You’ve talked a few times this year about how Adam is on the days he doesn’t pitch and how that is starkly different than the days he pitched.  As this game progressed, have you seen that change and what is he like today as he kind of nears this game?
MATT CARPENTER:  You know, I like to describe Adam like watching him and his intensity as the game approaches.  It’s almost like an hourglass, like a funnel.  He slowly‑‑ he comes to the park and gets in a mood that just slowly gets into a intensity.  Just picks up as the day goes on.
By the time that first pitch comes, he’s in full fight mode and he’s going to go out there and give us a chance to win every time he gets the ball.
Today is no different.  He knows what’s at stake.  He knows that this is a big game for us and we need him to go out there and give us a chance to win.  He is certainly up to that challenge.

Q.  Drawing on your own experience coming up to establish yourself in the Big Leagues, do you think there’s value in what Oscar Taveras is going through in that he wants to be playing every day and he’s not able to?  Do you think he’s benefitting from the experiences he’s having right now?
MATT CARPENTER:  No question.  You look at, really, all the players, a lot of the young guys on our roster:  Myself, Daniel Descalso, Kolten, Jon Jay, these guys that come up through the organization, getting a chance to come up here and having to fight their way into the starting lineup, gain experience on the bench.
What he’s been able to do and what he’s seen throughout the course of this year is going to greatly be‑‑ it’s going to be a huge advantage to him as he goes on towards his career.  He’s got the opportunity to be on a postseason roster, take big at‑bats off the bench.  Those are all things that will really help you as your career goes on.
You know, this has been a big learning experience for him.  He’s got a lot of things that I know he wants to get better at, and you know, he’s going to work at it.  And all that stuff, all that knowledge that he’s gained this year will only help him do that going forward.

Q.  When Adam was up here, he had to answer the questions about his arm, his health, and it’s been going on for a while.  How does he relay that to you guys?  Is that even a topic?  Is it something that you guys see the way he’s going about it, the arm is feeling good?  Does he tell you, Hey, I’m really feeling better than I did the other day?  Can you share how the trust and confident in Waino has shown over the last few?
MATT CARPENTER:  He’s not the kind of guy that is going to make excuses or kind of relay to his teammates that he’s not 100 percent.
So he does a pretty good job of hiding that, so to speak.  But we are all aware of it.  We see him in the training room and getting things worked on.  But, you know, whether Adam is 60 percent or 100 percent, he’s still the guy I want out there, and I know everybody in that clubhouse feels the same way.  If there’s anybody who can battle through some adversity, like arm soreness or whatever the case may be, it’s him.
You know, that’s who he is, that’s his makeup and he’s going to give us a good chance to win today.