Oct. 15 Mike Matheny pregame interview

Q.  I know you went back and looked at all the games last year before embarking on this year.  I wonder what struck you about the NLCS last year, particularly the use of the bullpen and how they handle more innings than the starters, and whether or not that's colored how you approach the bullpen this postseason, because it happened again last night for both teams?

    MIKE MATHENY:  Well, I think last night put in a pretty tough spot where the guys needed help.  And I think that's what we've tried to do for the postseason so far is just keep a close eye.
    Yesterday things happened fast and seemed to get piled up in a hurry.  But fortunately the guys came in and did a great job.

    No, there's not a recipe that I've kind of put together.  Obviously watched and paid attention to how things went last year.  I watch and pay attention to how things are going with other clubs right now and try and see and think what possibly was going into the decision that was made.

    But to try and throw that into our situation right now, I think, is counterproductive for our guys.  I think it's more important to see what we've got at the time and use the decisions that we've used all season long and use the decision makers, Derek Lilliquist and myself, to see what we see and try to do what's best for the guys at the time.

    Q.  What kind of traits do you see in Freese that allow him to succeed on this kind of stage?
    
    MIKE MATHENY:  He's succeeded all season.  I know the statistic people don't believe much in clutch players.  I don't agree.  I just see that there's certain players in bigger situations thrive sometimes.  And you can't really describe why.

    But we have a few guys that we know if they get into that big situation they've got a high likelihood of coming through.  Some guys get excited about that position.  And I think David is one of those guys.  But we have a few of them.

    Q.  There's a lot more awareness about concussions now than there was when you sustained yours.  Have you been involved at all in getting the word out?  Do you think it would have made any difference in your career if they had had more knowledge about it at that time?

    MIKE MATHENY:  First of all, I thought the San Francisco Giants handled my concussion and my situation as well as anybody could possibly handle it.  Stan Conte at the time and Brian Sabean were very, very proactive and very forward thinking, realizing that there was something serious going on there instead of just patting me on the back and telling me I just have a concussion and you'll be okay.  They were very proactive in trying to find somebody that could look into this a little deeper.  And very grateful for that.

    But it is a heightened awareness, I believe not just in our sport but all across the board.  And I think people are starting to get to the point to realize this is a brain injury.  And the word "concussion," term "concussion," I think, almost lightens what's really going on there.  Not necessarily a severe brain injury, but can lead to it if not looked at seriously.

    I didn't plan on being one of the poster boys for that.  That wasn't part of my exit strategy from the game.  But it did happen.  And I've been able to spend some time talking with some people and some doctors, people that are making a difference with this now.  And hopefully some parents and some people that are organizing, especially sports on the youth level, are paying closer attention and being smart with these kids.

    Q.  There's a notion that power pitching is what you want from your starters in the postseason.  You and guys have shown a lot of faith in Lohse and he's rewarded it.  What does it say that as more of a pitcher he's the guy you turn to like this?

    MIKE MATHENY:  He's been incredible at making pitches, from day 1 in Miami, opening day, right up until his last start.  That just takes a great deal of physical skill and just mental toughness to stay as locked in as he's been.

    But that's pitching.  Pitching is location and changing speeds and height levels.  And he understands the effectiveness of that.  It's also nice to come in with some horsepower, and we have a balance with our club, as well.  But I think Kyle has been a great representation of the art of pitching and he's been rewarded by how consistent he's been able to be with it.

    Q.  You said you're paying attention to all these series.  What's your take on the slumping Yankees lineup, is that just the way pitching is this October, on this big stage?  Is the pitching going to be better or is it a surprise?

    MIKE MATHENY:  No, I think it's, as all of you know who follow this game as closely as you do, it's a tough game.  No matter what kind of career...what kind of lineup you throw out there, you're going to have those times when it's not clicking.  And we've certainly had it with our lineup.  And we've had days where we can throw a bunch of runs on and then we can't find a baserunner for a few days.  So you've just got to battle through those times, because they're bound to happen.

    And Joe has done a terrific job with that team.  And I know those guys have been there before and they know that it will come back around.  They're just going to keep their head down.  Just the same message that we give our guys.

    Q.  The back and forth that Lance Lynn has made, is that back and forth more challenging than he even let's on?  Is there a growing concern about his workload, kind of given what it was last year compared to this year?

    MIKE MATHENY:  The workload first, only because of how he's shown us how he's bounced back.  I think he's probably as durable as any guy we have on our staff.  He's still a young guy, but he's strong and able to hold his stuff deep into the game.  You're always, as you're getting into uncharted territory, going beyond where somebody has been before, you never know exactly.

    But all the things are pointed in the direction that that's not necessarily the problem.  And there's not really that much of a problem because in my mind we've seen Lance go real good, and then all of a sudden hit a little spot.  He's been able to correct it in the past two, so that's something we're anxious to do is get him back on the mound and throw his bullpen, get him back on top of the ball, a little more depth, a little more downward playing on his sinker, which seems to set everything else straight.  Tried to do it mid game yesterday, which he's been able to do during the season, but yesterday things kept snowballing.

    But in general it has been a test for him going back and forth.  That's not easy on anybody.  Especially somebody that goes to the All Star Game as a starter.  Somebody who was leading your team in wins.  All of those things point toward the direction of consistently being in there every 5th day.  He's had an opportunity to grow through some of the things we've thrown at him, like going to the pen.  He knows he has to do whatever he can to help us win.

    Q.  You put your only lefty, Rzepczynski, in the 5th inning.  It worked out well for you.  As a manager, did you have moments where you were going to get second guessed on a decision, and did it impact your decision at all?

    MIKE MATHENY:  Well, if I didn't know, I figured it out pretty quick, that I was going to be second guessed.  No, I knew that.  And I think that's one of the advantages to being a catcher, actually, because I felt like I needed to make sure I knew what I was doing every pitch.  I was second guessing myself every pitch.  So I knew that that's just part of the game.

    But as far as it influencing my decisions.  I made a promise to myself and my staff and these guys, that we go as prepared as we possibly could be, we cover all the bases while things happen in real time, make an educated decision at the time, knowing that it was the best decision at the time and then we let it go.  We review it later and try and figure out how we can improve from it, but we're not going to beat ourselves up, because there's too many decisions every game, let alone every season, to do that to yourself.

    But not afraid to look myself in the mirror and wish that I maybe had done something different, if I would have taken a different route.  But you could do that every single night.  But it comes back to doing the right thing for these guys.  That's the long and short of it.