Oct. 15 Don Mattingly pregame interview

Q. Could you give us a little -- obviously, Grandal is in the lineup, so I assume he's better, but could you give us an update on how he's progressed, and with Ellis hitting as well as he has been, were you tempted to start him today?

DON MATTINGLY: Yes, obviously came in yesterday, looked at him. He was feeling a lot better, doing a lot better. We planned on playing him today, him and Zack have worked really good. That's probably our main reasoning right there. I think they're really comfortable. Zack's really comfortable, and that's kind of the main thing to today.

Q. You got a little twist to your outfield today. Joc starting in center and Kiké in left. Why the decision to have Carl sit today?

DON MATTINGLY: We just thought Joc gave us the best chance today.

Q. Just a little more on Zack's preference. Is it any particular reason? Is it so he can maybe bury a breaking ball? He feels Grandal blocks better, or is it just you've seen their numbers?

DON MATTINGLY: I just think they've worked good together all year. Zack's comfortable. He's pretty much calling his game. I think they just seemed to have worked good all year. I think Zack would be comfortable either way, if Yasmani couldn't lift his arm or something. But this is the exact same guy we played against last time. This guy's tough on the righties for the most part. Yas actually had some good swings against him.

Q. That said though, offensively do you anticipate Grandal's still maybe a little limited because of that shoulder?

DON MATTINGLY: We'll just see. I'm sure they've been working on him and trying to get it as good as they can get it today. He's comfortable, we're comfortable.

Q. What is the challenge for your guys against deGrom, your takeaway from the first game?

DON MATTINGLY: Obviously I thought we did okay with him. Honestly, his stuff was really good that day. It's always pretty good. The challenge with him is the changeup down, breaking ball down, fastball up. So we've got to find a middle ground where we've got to be able to leave the ball alone down and not chase the ball up, and that's kind of tough when a guy's throwing 99 or a hundred.

So those are really the challenges with him. So, I mean, the biggest thing, I thought we did a pretty good job in battling. Not chasing down, we chased some balls up, which is going to happen. We had a couple of opportunities, we just weren't able to cash in. So hopefully we're able to get the same opportunities and put a couple runs up.

Q. Can you just talk about the experience that you guys have had over the last couple years to prepare you for a moment of this magnitude?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, I don't know if you can really get prepared for this because this is just that game. You try to get to it. It's kind of you win or go home, Game 5, Game 7 are all the same. We've been through enough that we've lost -- we went home the last two years, so obviously nobody wants to go home.

But I don't know if any of that prepares you for today. Today's one of those days you never know what's going to happen. You hope your guy throws good, hope you're able to execute, get some good hits and the ball bounces our way a little bit. It doesn't really change anything because it's a bigger game. That's it. It's the last one if you don't win.

Q. Does it change managerial moves in a winner-take-all game?

DON MATTINGLY: Oh, I think it does, you know, what you're willing to ask guys to do.

Q. Collins has said that Syndergaard and Harvey are available out of the pen. Is Kershaw available for you guys?


Q. Would you use him?

DON MATTINGLY: He's here. I'm not sure what we'll do with him.

Q. Getting back to deGrom, the last time you faced him you had had four or five days off. Maybe you can experience from experience. After those four or five days, all that velocity, now, obviously from five or six you've seen plenty of that. Do you hope or in your experience is that helpful at all?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, you hope that just seeing him a few days ago helps you be prepared for that look and that velocity and what you've got to do. I'm sure we're trying to make some adjustments I'm sure. He's probably not having to make very many.

But hopefully our guys have a little better playing, and like you said, get used to that velocity over time because every one of their guys, Syndergaard, Harvey, they're all right there, pretty close. So you just kind of -- it just keeps coming. Doesn't make it any easier, but I do think you get used to that velocity.

Q. You've had Zack for a couple years now. What have you seen in him and what's he meant to you guys?

DON MATTINGLY: Just seen pretty much the same guy all the time. Some of his comments, like yesterday, he's pretty simple. He's basically going to come and pitch his game. He doesn't worry about too much after that. I think just what him and Clayton have meant to our club over the last three years is just that one-two punch. They kind of save your bullpen. They take pressure off the other guys. Those are the guys that you think they're going to win all the time. So that's what we've they've been bringing to us the last few years.

Q. Now that we've established Clayton is present, have you talked to him about possible use and what would be your hesitation?

DON MATTINGLY: We've talked to him. Obviously, hesitation is health. He just pitched on short rest and he's had a day off. He's, I don't know, he's pretty good, and I think that's always your main concern with guys is health and what's right and what's fair. Even though the moment is huge, what is right? And I think that's where you always have to get to.