Oct. 9 Don Mattingly Pregame Interview

Q. Donnie, you had Joc in center against a right-handed pitcher. Was that a platoon situation there or what goes into that decision?


DON MATTINGLY: It's kind of what we thought was best for today. Same old story. Trying to match-up, and thought that was best.

Q. How much did your time with the Yankees and George make you appreciate the pressures of managing? Do you feel like your future here depends on this postseason at all?


DON MATTINGLY: I think, obviously, I think anything that you do in your career really kind of prepares you for whatever. I think there's definitely education there with Mr. Steinbrenner, expectations and things like that. I don't know about the last part. Just kind of try to win.

Q. Juan Nicasio was kind of an important part of the bullpen for the regular season. Why did he not fit in the playoff roster?


DON MATTINGLY: Just kind of more the match-ups with the Mets as far as their combination of how they lineup in left, right, back and forth. Juan struggled with the lefties. We didn't really feel like we were ever going to get sections against those guys that you're going to get a number of righties together. Different team, different set of circumstances. It could have easily have been Juan. Just more about feeling like the other guys were better against their combination of guys.

Q. Biggest game of the year. You've got the kid batting third. How did you settle on that?


DON MATTINGLY: I don't know if it's the biggest game of the year yet, but we've put him all over. He seemed to handle everything. As we talk about with our guys, we put a lineup together, it's just a combination of guys where they fit the best. We felt like that was the spot today for him.

Q. What was the thought process with Carlos Frias as not being on the roster for this series?


DON MATTINGLY: Carlos was really kind of a low man. We looked to him for some length, but also could get guys out. He's a little bit like Juan, kind of the trouble with the lefties over the course of the year. But, again, with our combination of guys, how we look at possibly how this series kind of works itself out, we had -- it was a tough choice, actually, but we didn't feel like we were going to need that length.

Q. How is Justin Turner's health? Could you describe the dynamic that he brings on and off the field to your team?


DON MATTINGLY: I think he's as healthy as he can be. He's always got -- he's got some tendonitis issues through his knees and things like that, so he's always a little bit sore. But it seems like he's had rest, and when he's rested, he's always good. The dynamic he's brought to us is he's the kind of guy that hits both sides. He's a guy that we hit anywhere from 3, 2, to 5, and he hits the righty and the lefty.

He's been, obviously, good since we've acquired him, and he's good in the locker room. I don't know how to describe that, but he's a good guy. He's a good teammate, so we don't have any issues or anything like that with him.

Q. You've talked in recent days about how Puig has looked kind of rusty, understandably so. But did you have any reluctance including him in the 25-man roster? Did you kind of feel like that situation kind of boxed you in there?


DON MATTINGLY: No reluctance. And Scott's situation has definitely made the decision easier. It would have been a tough one either way though because it really involved three guys for two spots. But it kind of worked itself out.

Q. You've always talked very highly about Seager and what you saw in him. But in your mind, what was the biggest reason why he ascended so quickly in the span of five weeks in your plans?


DON MATTINGLY: I think he's just not been overwhelmed at all. He seemed to just handle everything, and nothing has really stepped up on him, it didn't seem like. Again, just kind of calm and the same demeanor he's had when we've seen him in Spring Training. It's kind of an everyday thing. He made a couple errors one day, and it didn't even bother him. Not that it didn't bother him, but it didn't change his demeanor or anything, and he just seems well equipped to handle it.

Q. Do you get a sense of what the city is anticipating? As you're going around town, are you talking to fans? Just how important this is to Los Angeles, this playoff run?


DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, a little excited. Just walking around this morning, going down to the grocery, a lot of the same people I see all the time there were just a little -- just a little more excited than in the past year, so I have noticed that. So, again, I guess expectations, right? So that's a good thing.

Q. How difficult, if it was a decision to play Clayton first and Zack second, or was there much decision in your mind?


DON MATTINGLY: I think just the thought of Game 4. I think you have to -- we like to leave that option open on what we do there, where we can make a decision. Clayton's more equipped, I think, for that, and Game 1 didn't really -- you can't hardly mess that up with either guy.

Q. Also, we were talking a little bit in the dugout the other day about you personally and what this would mean for you. Is it an eagerness to get going? Is it a pressure on yourself knowing that here we are again at this moment in your life and your career?


DON MATTINGLY: I definitely don't look at it about me. I look at it more about the guys in that room together, obviously, our coaches. It's just really about the whole thing. To me, managing is not -- it should never be about you. It should always be about the players and the team and the organization. That always has to come first.

So it's really not a personal thing so much. It's a responsibility you feel towards everyone on the team. You want to do a good job. You want to be ready and be prepared to do your part of it. So eagerness, for sure. A little antsy and nervous and just that feeling in your stomach. It's playoffs. It's every morning. You wake up, it's there. It doesn't really go away until after the game and you wake up in the morning and it's back. But that's playing and that's coaching, managing. That's all the same.

Today was more of a regular feel than the last few days. There's been so much prep work and meetings and going through that. Once you kind of take in all that information, brought it into some type of game plan at least where your decisions are kind of in your mind squared away. When I woke up this morning it was more of just a game day. But still obviously that feeling in your stomach and the anticipation of what could happen, I think it's kind of like that -- I shouldn't say first day of spring, because spring there is so much ahead of you. But this is like you don't know what -- obviously, it's a chance for our club to do something special, and there are only a few clubs getting to. We're down to eight, right, that have a chance to do something special. So it's definitely a feeling of anticipation and just excitement of what could happen.

Q. It's probably a small sample, but I'm just wondering if you've seen Conforto with the Mets and any initial impressions of him?


DON MATTINGLY: I've seen him. I've seen him on tape. He had a great swing. Yeah, it looks really good, so he's one of the -- obviously changed their look a little bit. When we played him early in the year, I think they called him up while we were there. And with the addition of Cespedes and Johnson came in and they trade for Uribe.

It seems like everything that they were able to do fit for them. He was another piece of that. So, obviously, a good looking young player, I imagine he'd be a guy in the future that plays every day, not necessarily a platoon guy like they've got now.

Q. You had said during the season that you needed to make sure Justin got regular time off to keep him fresh. With the off days here in the playoffs, would you expect that he'll be available to start every game?


DON MATTINGLY: Oh, yeah, yeah, definitely.

Q. Are you ready to see Yasiel Puig going from first to third on a base hit?
DON MATTINGLY: That's definitely one of the ways that we would use him to pinch-run, defensively, pinch-hit, double-switch. Obviously, all the scenarios that would fit for a guy coming into a game. We would not be afraid to use him in any way. We feel he's healthy, he can go full speed, so, yeah, he's full go.

Q. Any way to quantify the level of preparation that you guys do now for a series like this as opposed to 10, 15 years ago? How do you avoid overload?


DON MATTINGLY: Well, that's kind of -- there is more, it seems like. I think there's just more information, in general, that comes in now than in the past. So there's definitely more -- I think the overload thing is really our job as coaches and really Andrew and Farhan too. You've got to take all the information in, and it's always been this way. Then, what are we presenting to the guys? How much of that goes into the game plan as far as what Mac and Val are telling the hitters, how much information is going to the pitchers?

We have to be able to understand what helps and what clouds, right, where it gets in the way. Where if it's too much information they're thinking about a count or I have to throw a one, one this. More of a general the areas that we can go, we have to be able to kind of bring all that information down to a level that really helps us prepare for these guys, and know where the holes are for our pitchers and then basically know what their guys are trying to get a feel like. Get a good feel for what their guys can and can't do.