Oct. 10 Don Mattingly pregame interview

Q. Can you tell us about what went into your decision changing out Joc for Kike?

DON MATTINGLY: Thought he'd give us a better chance to win today with the match-up with Syndergaard.

Q. What did you see from Joc yesterday?

DON MATTINGLY: Thought he was fine, you know, a lot like -- this guy was good yesterday. We didn't do a whole lot with him anywhere, so nothing really bad. Just thought today's match-up was better with Kike.

Q. Second day in a row something unusual in the lineup. Yesterday you went with Seager third, Turner fifth. Today you put Kendrick leadoff, what is behind these moves?

DON MATTINGLY: Yesterday didn't feel that unusual. JT's hit anywhere from second to fifth. Seager's hit all over. Really our lineups in general every day are a little bit different. Kind of depending who is in the lineup that day you kind of put that group together.

Howie's really the only guy today that's kind of out of the ordinary, and really the only thing I do differently with Howie is make sure he's comfortable there when I talk to him. He's comfortable. It's just getting him up there, being able to put JT down, get Dre where we want him.

So it seems like they're making a big deal out of it, but it's really nothing different for us. We kind of do this every day. I think our guys are actually pretty used to being in different spots, and so it's not like we're a lineup that every day is one, two, three, four, five. We know exactly who's playing. We platoon. We put guys in different spots. So I know people make a big deal out of it, but it's really the ordinary for us.

Q. The first two innings there were six strikeouts for the Dodgers, two in the second, two men on base strikeouts, anything that can be done to avoid making so many strikeouts?

DON MATTINGLY: Put it in play? I mean, it's not that easy. We've seen what he was doing. He's 97, 98. He's got a good change. You're caught in a bind with him. You want to get him up in the zone because you don't want to chase change or breaking ball down and the slider. And you get him down in the zone and you end up chasing the power fastball that takes off on you.

So you get guys that have good stuff. This guy was at the All-Star game. He's one of the better pitchers. He dominated at that game the inning that he pitched. It's a battle. It's not that easy. So the main thing we do is continue to have a game plan, and hopefully we can get him in the strike zone. I thought we did a pretty good job with him actually by getting him up. Just then if you end up going too high, then you're in trouble. So there is a fine line in there how far you can go with him.

Q. Why specifically do you think Hernandez and Grandal give you a better chance to win against Syndergaard?

DON MATTINGLY: Oh, I just look at it. We think Yas has been with Zack pretty much all year long. I know Zack's really comfortable. I just think he's going to be fine. Yas has been that guy all year long. It's not like we're going to just stop playing him. And Kike with the match-up with Syndergaard think the way he matches up is a better chance.

Q. You touched on Turner's ability to hit different spots in the lineup. How much flexibility does that give you? How much do you appreciate that? How much does that help?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, all our guys, really. JT's obviously one of those guys that hits righty and lefty. You can kind of put him and match him or sometimes they want to protect Adrian. Or sometimes you use him to get on base, depending on who else we have behind Adrian. Howie's kind of the same. We've hit him anywhere from early in the year he was hitting fourth in protection.

I think guys that hit both sides really make it better for you. JT and Howie give us that. Obviously, Adrian, guys like that. You're in the platoon spots is what gets you in trouble if a guy just hits lefty and just hits righty, then you're kind of boxed in certain times.

Q. How does Syndergaard differ from deGrom from what you've seen?

DON MATTINGLY: A little different mix. Still another power guy, obviously, velocity. A guy we're still going to have to keep on the plate or his ball will run off on you. Little different breaking ball. Pitches in probably a little bit more than deGrom. He'll throw some balls inner half a little more often. Same type guy though, really. Power stuff, is going to attack, still can't swing at the ball down with him with the breaking ball on the change. So a little different, but fairly similar. Young guy, power arm, going to attack.

Q. Have you ever given any thought yet to the possibility of pitching Kershaw again on short rest in Game 4, and if you have, where is your thinking on that right now?

DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, we've thought about it. We thought about it before the series. Yeah, we'll make that decision when we get there. That's where we're at.

Q. Seager had his first taste of the postseason last night. How did you feel he did, and how do you judge a young guy on the postseason?

DON MATTINGLY: I thought he was fine, as good as anybody else. Obviously he's dealing -- I thought his first at-bat looked a little bit quick. After that, I thought he was fine. How do you judge? You just watch. He's going to be fine.

Q. This team has not hit very well with runners in scoring position. Why?

DON MATTINGLY: Why?

Q. Yes, very open ended.

DON MATTINGLY: What are we with compared to the league?

Q. You're 10th in the National League.

DON MATTINGLY: So there are how many teams behind us? What is that? Six, five, thirty teams?

Q. Nine teams in front of you if you want to do the math?

DON MATTINGLY: Are we going by average? Are we going by well-hit rate? Are we going off velocity off the bat? What are we going with? Straight average?

Q. It's old school.

DON MATTINGLY: How many chances have we had compared to everybody else? Have we had more chances? It's hard to answer that, honestly, because I think because hitting with runners in scoring position, to me, you have to get guys out there. We talk about men left on base for the most part. You've got to get guys out there to drive in runs. It really goes back to runs scored. I don't know exactly where we fall on runs scored. I think we're up there fairly good, eighth, so middle of the pack.

Anyway, I have no real true answer for you why we don't hit that well with men in scoring position, but sometimes it's luck. I remember a couple years ago the Cardinals hit .300 as a team. The next year they were last in the league, same guys. So I think year to year, that changes. It's one of those I don't really pay that much attention to. Obviously, if you're going good, you've got to be able to get guys in and get big hits.

Q. You were 29th out of 30 teams in opportunities in plate appearances with runners in scoring position. Is that something you can control? I mean, is there a systemic problem related to that that you're just not giving yourself the opportunities?

DON MATTINGLY: So we didn't have that many opportunities, you're saying?

Q. Right.

DON MATTINGLY: Well, that is a bigger issue for me than the runners in scoring position. That means we're not moving runners and things like that. But the stuff we're talking about is individual parts of a season. At this point we're talking about trying to win a game. So, I mean, throw stats out, cut them up and throw them out there on the table right now. I don't know how much good it does to kind of try to evaluate your club and your chances of winning a game today.

I think we're pretty much as simple as, at this point, this is a huge game for us. We want to have quality at-bats, try to make pitches, try to execute pitches, execute a game plan, and get a big hit. I know at the end when you evaluate and look at your season and your team that either you've accomplished or didn't accomplish, then you're going to go into all that. But right now it's more as simple as just play as hard as we possibly can. Let's be smart. Let's execute. Let's win a game.

Q. There is a lot of talk analytically when you have a critical situation late in the game as you did last night when you took out Clayton, no matter what inning it is, you should consider bringing in your best pitcher, which in that case would be Kenley. Over the year have you and your front office talked about using a closer that way? And if you haven't, why have you decided that's not practical?

DON MATTINGLY: We haven't talked about using Kenley in the 7th. We do talk about using guys in high-leverage situations though.

Q. And what goes into whether you use them or not?

DON MATTINGLY: Are you talking about him or?

Q. Him.

DON MATTINGLY: Him particular. I don't know. We haven't really gotten into the 7th. I think we've talked about using him in the 8th and things like that. But we haven't gotten into using him in the 7th.