Post Cards: Mike Matheny Talks Prior To Game 5


Q.  Would John Lackey or Lance Lynn be available tonight if you need them?
MIKE MATHENY:  Yeah.  Yeah, we’d probably lean towards most likely Lynn, probably late more so than anything else.

Q.  Did Yadi try to talk his way into the lineup today?
MIKE MATHENY:  Yeah, you know him well.  He did.  We didn’t really know where to go with the conversation because he still knows that the swinging thing isn’t an option.
But it was a pretty valiant effort that he gave to try to convince, somehow figure it out.
I told a couple of the groups earlier, I looked for one of those leagues for a long time where you didn’t have to hit (Laughter).  Haven’t been able to find it.  Just not going to work right yet.

Q.  As a fellow catcher, and obviously you’ve got Yadi, where do you size up Posey in the whole realm of great Major League catchers at this point?
MIKE MATHENY:  He’s an elite player, there’s no question.  You know, as far as the catching position itself, you need to watch them every single day to appreciate what a catcher does.
When I’m asked to compare, it’s really never fair who we are comparing because I get to see Yadi and what he does on a day‑in, day‑out basis.
I’ve seen a quite a bit of Buster.  I know his makeup.  I watch a lot of the leadership characteristics he brings this club.  You can see he’s a special player.  Offensive statistics will back that up, and he’s doing a lot of things behind the plate that probably don’t get noticed.  He’s had a nice career already.

Q.  Matt was in here a little bit ago and he said this team has had their backs up against the wall many times this season, so it’s not something new.  That said, do you give a different type of message?  I know you’re not big on speeches, but do you have give a different message individually to make sure they are not pressing?  How do you approach tonight?
MIKE MATHENY:  I give a message actually to every one of them every day, whether it’s just checking in or if there is something that needs to be addressed.
But you know, at this point, the urgency is no secret.  And for me to call together a club like this and tell them they need to play harder would be a huge insult.
We have had our backs against the wall and they have responded very well.  They have played their hearts out.  Can we clean‑up a couple things?  That’s yes.  But once again, human error is going to happen, whether it’s physical or mental or both.
Right now, we’ve just got to get back to what we do and what we do is we play one pitch at a time.  We compete one pitch at a time.  And if we give everything we’ve got each pitch, we’ve got no regrets.  And so stay the course.
For me to jump up there and try and be Knute Rockne today would be, it would work, I think, completely opposite of what we would intend for it to be.
We need these guys to go out there and play the game that they have played for the last seven months.

Q.  Do you notice anything different about the mood of the club?
MIKE MATHENY:  No.  We’ve got that same awful music blaring in there right now.  It seems just like another day at the office.
Last night, that was a rough one.  It was a wild, crazy, crazy game.  We’ve had some opportunities to make it go a little different.
But one thing I can say about this club, which any team that’s still involved right now, they have done the same thing, they have let those ones go and they figure out what they have to do for the one that comes up next.
That’s what I see today, like yesterday never happened, and today is the biggest game of the year.  That’s kind of something they say every day.  It’s the biggest game of the year and tomorrow, it’s the biggest game of the year, and it just becomes very consistent which creates a consistent atmosphere to do what you can do.

Q.  The decision to go with A.J., does that have to do with Cruz’s familiarity with Adam or are there other factors in play there?
MIKE MATHENY:  That goes into it, but Bumgarner goes into it, too.  It’s a tough at‑bat for a lefty.  Tough at‑bat for anybody.  We have to grind all the way through.  We like what Tony brings behind the plate.  A.J. has done a nice job, too.
But right now when you bring in a tough lefty like this, typically we’ll lean towards giving the right‑handed catcher an opportunity, especially when Tony has done a nice job on the defensive side.

Q.  The results say that Oscar Taveras is taking well to the inconsistent playing time.  He’s getting some hits for you.  Can you tell us, those who have not seen him every day, have you seen the quality of those at‑bats get better, and what do you hope in his long term he’s getting out of this experience of being a part‑time guy?
MIKE MATHENY:  Well, most of the players that get here, they don’t get here by being part‑time guys, and young players have to adjust and take whatever role is given to them.
As far as Oscar’s improvement’s gone, there’s no question he has improved since his first day and continues to watch and work and try to improve his swing and understand the opposition and how they are trying to get him out.  He’s doing a nice job with that.
And not everybody is suited to come off the bench and take the at‑bats that he takes, and that’s a sign of the talent that he is and we’ve seen it.  I believe there’s a huge ceiling for this guy and he’s just going to have to continue to work.  There’s some parts of his game, a lot of it, even on the defensive side, that he’s going to have to continue to improve on to be out there every day.
This year has been a challenge for him, being the prospect that really got a lot of attention, and then going through a couple struggles.  I think all of us will agree, those struggles are usually great opportunities to grow.  I think he’s doing that.  Hopefully that will be kind of the springboard for this winter and put a long list of things to work on, just like all of our guys do, and come back next spring better and a more mature player from what he’s learned this year.

Q.  Last night, you would have been left with Yadi catching there for a while, so two‑part question.  Would he have gone up if that game‑‑ if the order was not to swing, would he have come to the plate?  And would he have gone in the night before after warming up with Trevor as a battery switch?
MIKE MATHENY:  The answer to both is yes.  He would have gone in with Trevor with a lead.  Look to do it again tonight.
Last night, he was coming into the game and he was catching the rest of it.  We would have figured out each at‑bat as they came, if there was an opportunity to bunt, use him as a pitcher, even a one‑out man on first, put the bunt down.  Or he would have gone up with instructions not to swing.  How those would be obeyed is another topic (smiling).
This guy, he’s a warrior as much as anybody can be on a baseball field.  It’s killing him right now to be on the sidelines and not able to do what he wants to do and what he can do to help our club.  But he also has faith that these other guys can get the job done.
Yeah, we are going to try and use him as a weapon because he can be used as such.  But it does complicate things for us for sure.

Q.  With medical treatment, a little help, could Yadi swing a bat?  Has that been tried out and how would you time that so that he could swing in a game situation?
MIKE MATHENY:  Well, right now, we’ve already tried.  Medical people have done everything they can do, and the swing of the bat yesterday just didn’t work right.
As far as the details go, we’re trying everything that we can medically, and it isn’t working yet.  Not to say if we are fortunate to keep pushing this thing longer, that that’s not a possibility.
I know the longer we play, the more he’s going to be in my office, and that’s a great thing.  I hope we have that problem.

Q.  Who is your next catcher in an emergency situation?
MIKE MATHENY:  Between‑‑ after Yadi?

Q.  If you’re in the 15th last night, and he couldn’t go further‑‑
MIKE MATHENY:  Yeah, hopefully Daniel Descalso would still be around.  Last night he would have been used up.  So, yeah, we would have been in a spot, yeah.  We’d have asked for volunteers (Laughter).

Q.  Is there a different approach against the Giants?  In the first round, you guys seemed a lot more aggressive against the Dodgers.  You threw inside a lot.  You beat their best pitcher twice.  Is it something the Giants do or is it a different approach you guys take against the two teams?
MIKE MATHENY:  Yeah, you’re talking about different pitchers, you’re talking about different hitters.  You just can’t take an approach‑‑ once again, our hitters, we have nine different approaches for our nine batters tonight, and we are going about their offense with nine different approaches.
So it’s trying to maximize the strengths that we have against their weaknesses and trying to stay with a plan.  You can’t just take a blanket plan that worked maybe against the Dodgers and throw it on to the Giants.  We have to look at what they have and how that works against what we have, and then just stick your nose in there and fight until mistakes are made and hope we capitalize on them.
Unfortunately so far this series what you’ve seen is mistakes on our side that they have capitalized on.  I don’t think that’s a surprise knowing how similar these two teams are that this was how this was going to play out.