Q. Don, we saw a transition at shortstop toward the end of the season with Corey Seager getting most of the starts. When it comes to the series, do you tell the players in that particular position game by game? Do you tell them your plan for the whole series? What is your approach?
DON MATTINGLY: I've had conversations with both guys and I think everybody understands where we're at. So once we announce rosters and see lineups, everyone at that point will have been kind of talked to. It's actually been a while now, so there's no surprises coming tomorrow.
Q. So given that, what is your lineup tomorrow?
DON MATTINGLY: I don't think we've posted it yet. Everyone pretty much knows, but we just haven't put it out yet.
Q. Could you just talk about Seager's development and what he's shown you?
DON MATTINGLY: We've seen obviously just in really September, but we've had the opportunity to watch him all spring. We've watched him kind of come over, short bites last I think the spring before, maybe even the year before that. It's always been like really good, it's almost like right away you go, oh, you see the swings and you know there's time between there that's going to be needed before he was able to get to here. But I think Corey you see all the baseball stuff's easy. You see it, he swings, stays in the strike zone, discipline, sees spin early, kind of the quietness of his hands, the clock is good, and then all the other stuff with that has been really good.
As far as his demeanor around the locker room, relationships with teammates, you can see it's good. How he carries himself as far as he's really humble, but you can see the confidence. It's not like he's shy or quiet about anything. It's a humbleness, but there is a confidence there with it. So it's kind of everything's there, so you just kind of it's something that you don't see very often.
Q. You talk about the starting pitchers setting the tone, but you also talked about making sure your team was prepared and that you're healthy. Do you think everything has finally come together at the most critical part of the season for you?
DON MATTINGLY: I think we're healthy. I mean, everybody's got little -- not everybody, but there are a few guys that part of our group early in the year, speaking like Yasiel, and he's probably healthy at this point, but not necessarily sharp as far as having played and being able to play at the end of the season. Everybody else, I think Howie is probably as good as he's going to be able to give. TK's as good as he's going to get. So I think we're fairly rested and fairly healthy, and we really have no -- can't sit here and say there is somebody not in our lineup that we want in there.
DON MATTINGLY: Obviously, lots of it. This time of year first round usually it's more than any other time just because of the time you have in between and kind of preparing, knowing you have a pretty good idea if we were going to get in, who we were going to be playing.
So Andrew and Farhan and his group have had a lot of time to look into the Mets. So we feel really prepared. It's kind of like one of those things. You take the test, not that you have all the answers, but at least you feel like you're ready for it.
Q. It's been a year and I think a day since you got on that plane to go home from St. Louis. Given how competitive and how important that all of that always is for Clayton, do you remember a conversation you might have had with him or some sort of view you may have had of him in those moments after that game, picking up and ending the season knowing how disappointed he might have been?
DON MATTINGLY: Just kind of knowing the national-type view, you see that. Nobody would see the six scoreless, on short rest. Nobody's going to talk about should we have made the play at short, should we have made the play up the middle at second? Should there have been two outs in that inning? All you all see is the end result and that's what gets reported. I kind of felt bad for him from that standpoint.
Q. I know you talked about this, but those of us who weren't here, it's still somewhat timely, you wear number 8. What impact did Yogi have and continue to have on you?
DON MATTINGLY: I just think such a -- I played for a lot of different guys in my tenure in New York. But I don't know if I ever ran across a better person than Yogi. I think just the way he handled himself and treated people was something that rubbed off on me for sure. I think it rubbed off on a lot of guys that were able to come across him. Lot of people that came across Yogi from the respect that he treated everyone -- from the guy that you walk in the door to the ownership group, it's going to be the same.
So I think he had a huge impact on the way you want to treat people and the way you want to be viewed by people for the way you treat them. So just a big impact from that standpoint.
Then as manager, just the way he treated you as a player was, I thought, something that I wanted. Because Yogi was a guy off the field it was normal. There was no carryover from the game. There was nothing held against you. He treated you like everyone else at that point.
So I wanted that for myself, you know, with the relationships with players, knowing that I know guys are trying and sometimes they're not going so good. So I didn't want to be different with a guy that was going good and a guy that was going bad. So those are important for me as far as relationships with guys as manager or a coach, really.
Q. To what extent has your defense made a difference this year, especially with the shifting personnel you've had?
DON MATTINGLY: I think it's made a difference. We've been a lot steadier club as far as limiting outs, and that's part of what we preach and talk about. You need to get 27. Let's don't give them 30 or 31. But for the most part, we've been pretty good. There are still times, obviously, that we've kicked the ball around a little bit.
But I think Jimmy and Howie up the middle all year long, not only just -- and actually, if you want to keep going, it's Joc up the middle, KikÃ© when he's been out there has been a good defender, Yasmani and A.J. do a good job behind the plate. So all the way through the middle section for us has been pretty solid all year long no matter who we had out there.
But particularly Howie and Jimmy, I feel like big leadership all year long as far as giving us that steady day-in, day-out approach, leadership on the field. You see those guys both at times if the pitcher's in trouble or something's going on. If you go out there as a pitcher, those guys are both really calm. Never any kind of disarray out there. The same, I felt like, with our locker room. Jimmy and Howie big, I thought steadiness. We have leaders, other leaders in there and guys that are part of your leadership group, but I thought Jimmy and Howie brought a real steadiness to what we do, how we believe in and how we go about our business.
Q. With David Wright you guys do seem to have a connection. I know you spoke to him about some of the bad back issues he went through. How much do you sympathize with what he's gone through as a guy who was with one team so long and you've gone through the back issues that you did? Do you see some of yourself in him, or is he kind of kindred spirit to what you did?
DON MATTINGLY: At this moment, I don't have a lot of sympathy for him. So that's great. I think we spoke early in the year, Kevin Long kind of got us together, a guy I know from over there, and just talking about his routines and stuff like that and the trouble coming back. I know he's had kind of lingering stuff like that. It's all really about routines. I think you have a kindred spirit with all players. Honestly, as a player, I think a little bit of the New York thing. You know what you go through there, dealing with media and fans and how that whole city works.
So you have a little bit of a chemistry with guys who have been through that long enough. You know what they kind of went through. So I think from that standpoint definitely not only David, but really all the guys that come through there.
Q. Joe Peralta seemed to perform pretty well down the stretch. What was the difference with them? Was it purely health related, or was there something else going on?
DON MATTINGLY: I thought Joel threw the ball, like you said, I thought he threw the ball well down the stretch. Obviously I think the neck was a big issue early on, and then when he did come back I still don't think he was totally healthy. I think the second time -- the second time he went on the DL, I think that stint kind of solidified him. Then when he came back after that, obviously he got healthy, healthier in there and stronger. His velocity clicked up and I think that was a big difference. He was kind of all of a sudden clicking 90, 91. I know that's not a big number for a lot of relievers. But for him, I think that little tick from the 88, 89, to the 90, 91 every once in a while 92, is a big difference with his pitch picks. So creating that difference and just that little bit of velocity, I think has made a big difference with Joel.