Q. I asked Kyle about this, but with what you've seen from their pitching staff the first two games with Gio and Jordan, and knowing that that's been the backbone of their team all year long, how do you view their staff as a whole?
MIKE MATHENY: View their staff as one of the best in the League, and we have seen these guys firsthand, we came in here late in the season and they were very impressive. So our guys understand that. We give them a lot of credit, same old story. We also don't go too far from the fact that we have a lot of faith in ourselves and believe we have a good offense that can handle it.
But we have seen them very good and have the utmost respect for them.
Q. How has Chris Carpenter evolved as a pitcher since the time you were catching him and how has he used his stuff now even though he's only got 17 innings? How is he different from his stuff now than last year than he was at this time of the year having a full season and healthy?
MIKE MATHENY: I've seen the full evolution, really, catching him in Toronto for a little while when he and Roy Halladay were two young pitchers trying to figure it out, following Pat Hankin which was a great idea on their part, how to use their stuff from that into seeing him in St. Louis as one most dominant pitchers in the game. And to me, whenever you have a Cy Young calibre pitcher, you just watch closely, and fortunately, he's been a great mentor to all of our pitchers in our rotation and our staff and in our organization.
He has the makeup that's very unique with the kind of stuff he has, and then going out and trying to make other people better.
So what he brings to the table as a pitcher, his resumé stands for what that looks like. What he does for a club is invaluable and that's kind of that evolution. His stuff is still crisp and he knows how to use it. He's a smarter pitcher and that's how guys stick around this long. He's turned into somebody that's just an invaluable asset to us.
Q. I realize at this time of year you're not playing your bench players. What kind of challenge does it present to stay sharp at this time of year?
MIKE MATHENY: It's very tough. I've said it a couple times, that's something down the stretch, I would have liked to have been able to do better was to keep the bench sharp. But we felt like we were fighting for our lives every game all the way through the end of September, and didn't really have the opportunity to change something when it was going well and we found a good fit, especially with the middle of our infield, but keep especially a few guys like a Skip Schumaker and a Matt Carpenter and a Shane Robinson sharp that we need to keep sharp to be able to come off the bench and give us valuable at bats.
I have put them in a tough spot, but they have been making up for it and getting extra work and doing more to be prepared, and that's all they can do. But we are going to continue to try and get them in there, but when things are going as they are, we need to ride out what gives us the best opportunity each night.
Q. I'm assuming that Lance Lynn would not be available, so if that's an incorrect assumption, please correct me, but who falls into that spot? Is it Joe Kelly or Trevor Rosenthal? And what about Shelby Miller, just being thrust into a win or go home kind of game?
MIKE MATHENY: The first part of your question is you have the right assumption. Lance would not be available today. I wouldn't rule him out for tomorrow and I wouldn't rule him out any further past that. But right now after throwing 50 pitches and throwing the day before, we are going to have to be careful with him.
And who falls into that role, I think we do have options and you touched on them. We have Joe Kelly who did a great job throwing as a starter for us this year and has done a nice job out of the pen. Trevor Rosenthal is also available to not just go on short stints like he has so far here lately, but also to stretch him out.
Shelby Miller, we are always anxious to get a young player in there and give him an opportunity. We had him in some higher leverage situations in the end of the season, regular season, and we were impressed with his composure. We are not afraid to use him, otherwise we would not have him on the roster and depends on the situation how we'll use him where.
Q. Is Carpenter on any sort of limit today? Are you going to cap him at a certain amount?
MIKE MATHENY: No. We plan on going in and just watch him as he goes, and he's a pretty fair evaluator of himself as well, so we do rest on him and how he feels. But we anticipate going as long as it looks good.
Q. You would have a better perspective on this than anyone. What sets Molina apart from other catchers and how is he better than he has been in the years past?
MIKE MATHENY: There's so many things about Yadi Molina that you really can't classify or measure by the metrics of this game and the leadership that he bring; the things he does for this game, what he does pitch by pitch, how he's working with the staff, how he's working with me to evaluate midstream how the guys look and some alterations we might have to make.
How he's improved I think is very obvious. You tell him that he can't do something, he's going to find a way to prove you wrong. Tell him he can't run, he's going to lead the league in stolen bases. As a catcher, you tell him he can't hit for power, he's going to hit 20.
He has a drive that's very impressive, and I give him a lot of credit and I give Albert Pujols a lot of credit. He and Albert spent a great deal of time during the years that they were able to play together. And I see a lot of the similar traits, just never give anything away attitude, not one at bat, not one pitch behind the plate. And that's very rare. So you mix talent and that kind of makeup, and you're looking for special things to happen.
Q. I wanted you to talk a little bit about if you are surprised about his improvement offensively.
MIKE MATHENY: Is this Yadi?
MIKE MATHENY I think we all saw the potential even when he was very young of being able to hit for average, and only because early on in his Minor League career, not a high strikeout hitter, he could fight and keep himself into an at bat, a smart player instinctually. I saw him having the ability to be a high average hitter. The power, you never know how that's going to develop, and for him to come out with the season that he has, has been very impressive, especially later in his career, though to me I still think he's at his peak.
But I just see better things ahead as he just he knows his swing. I think he's developed his own approach. He's developed his own the mechanics of his swing and he knows them well and staying very consistent; whereas early on he was fighting to see what that would look like, he would change his swing quite often and his stance and his approach. Now he has his own rhythm and he's sticking with it and I think that just leads to more success in the future.