Oct 13 Mike Matheny postgame interview

Q. We're sitting here, 100-win team and you're out of the playoffs. Can you put into words the emotions right now about what happened?


MIKE MATHENY: Well, you know, it was just unfortunate. This is a team that was as impressive to watch from day one as any team I've ever been around, and just a collection of skill and fight and character and just all the way across the board from the veteran guys leading to the young guys figuring out a way to contribute. It was a special group.

You know, that's always hard to walk away from. We had an opportunity maybe to get back home and do things differently, but they took advantage of the opportunities they had. The guys fought back into this game after having a good lead early, and just going back and forth, the long ball really made us pay the last two days, and this team plays well with this park.

We had the same conditions, the same stadium. We could have made it happen, and we came up just a little short. But to evaluate, I just asked these guys to be honest evaluators of what they did this year. And what they did was very special and how they overcame a lot of things. We haven't been throwing that in anybody's face all year until now and I'll keep telling them what they did was special, and very fortunate to be a part of watching these guys compete.

Q. I was curious about Matt Holliday, how healthy he was this series and if there was any thought at any point to subbing in Sam.


MIKE MATHENY: No, he was healthy, ready to go. It was a short series and had a big hit for us early on that first series. That's the guy he's been the majority of his career. We want him in that lineup, and we want him up to bat.

Q. You mentioned that they had the same park, same conditions. In the pitching did you see mistakes the pitchers -- you guys were making or did you see them just taking advantage? Was it more their hitting or your pitching?


MIKE MATHENY: It's always a little bit of both. When you look at how we got into a mess is a first-pitch slider hit by a pitcher that drives in a run. We get two outs, an opportunity to get out with no damage and then Baez comes up, gets a pitch most likely -- I haven't seen it on film, most likely up and out over the plate -- and the ball is going to sail here.

So that got us into a bind, at four runs in an inning after we've already had just two isn't exactly where you want to be. The other pitches I haven't seen. We had the guy on the mound that we wanted to go against Rizzo once we got the game tied up with big hits by Cruz and then by Moss.

We liked Kevin Siegrist, no matter what his splits say, that's the part of the lineup we want him in there for, and so we square up with our best guy for that situation against their best guys and see what happens. They had two lefties that made us pay, and that really is the difference in the game.

Q. The Cubs started playing a little bit better against you guys in September. Had you kind of seen this team start playing like this a little bit before this series?


MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, I think they've been playing with a lot of confidence, and obviously they finished the season that way. You know, there are a lot of things going in a good direction for that team. You've got a lot of talent, no question. You had some pitching that stepped up tremendously, and everybody kind of finding their role and some of the younger guys kind of taking those big roles. You could see that this team was going in the right direction and feeling good about themselves heading into the playoffs.

Had an opportunity maybe to change that after Game 1, come right back with Game 2, that one kind of shifted this whole series, and then we were kind of fighting an uphill battle after not being able to pull something off against Arrieta yesterday.

Q. Even with all the injuries and a 100-win season, do you feel like this team played to the full potential all season?


MIKE MATHENY: I have no regrets with this club and that's the one message that I made sure they heard before I came down for this interview. As we do evaluate what we've done, there's some special things that happened for this club and a lot of different contributors. The way that you would just look at the team as a whole, this team never let off the throttle, and that's hard to do through a season that's this long. They were grinding right to the end and always up for a good fight, and I think that's what our fan base expected, and I think we delivered that, and we just came up short when we needed to right here in this stretch run in October.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what Adam Wainwright has been able to do, coming back and especially the way he performed tonight?


MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, it's a great story, a story of a guy that's not going to let someone tell him what he can't do because everybody wrote him off early and he was the one who said he's going to be back and contribute somehow and we get into a big game and he's the guy we want to give the ball to. John Lackey did I nice job starting us out. We had to try and do something offensively to get back into the game and that left an opportunity and little did we know that Adam was going to be able to stay out as long as he did. But just an incredible, incredible person, Adam Wainwright is, to go along with the obvious pitcher that he is. But what he does for our club is something that you just can't really measure.

Q. When Moss got that hit, did you think that was going to be a two-run play there?


MIKE MATHENY: Hopeful, yeah. They came up and made a good throw, and that was exactly what we needed to do. We needed to test the outfield and get Tony and his legs straightened out a little bit more and on the plate, and it could have been even a closer play. But got us right back in there, a big hit by Brandon and obviously a big hit by Tony to get us to that point, and we liked our chances, how our bullpen stacked up. We knew we were going to run Siegrist out there. We knew we were going to bring Rosie in for a couple innings and felt good that we had plenty of coverage on the backside if this thing was going to go all night long. It was just a matter of whether or not we could make pitches, keep them in the ballpark, which we couldn't do.

Q. It's undeniable that you guys had an amazing regular season. Fair or unfair, teams are judged on the playoffs. Is it fair for us to say that this team finished the season unfulfilled?


MIKE MATHENY: You can judge us however you want. We've got to look in the mirror. Once again, it doesn't always matter how it's perceived by everybody else. When you can look around the room with the people you've been locked arms with all year and you can nod and say, hey, you did your part, I did mine, and I'd go to battle with you any day, and that's exactly what you're saying in that room right now. Now, we're paid to win and we came up short. Now, it's going to be viewed in a lot of different ways, but the way we went about the business, the way we played the game, the way they competed, that's what the internal goals are. Those are the things that we can control and sometimes things happen outside of our control.

Q. How much of a difference does it make not having Yadier Molina on the field for you guys in terms of his leadership and his handling of the pitching staff?


MIKE MATHENY: I think we've done a real good job all season of not relying on any excuses, and regardless of who we didn't have, we felt that next man up was going to get the job done. Tony Cruz had great game today. He and John Lackey were working well together and I'm always going to be quick to say no matter who it is we don't have, we'd like to have him, and then we make the decision who's going to give us the best chance. So with that being said, we have all the faith in the world that Tony Cruz can get the job done, and tonight necessarily wasn't on him, of course, and we don't say that things would have been different had we had someone else in there. We took our best out there and made a good run at it.