Oct. 9 Mike Matheny pregame interview

Oct. 9 Mike Matheny pregame interview

           Q. As hard as you guys have played each other this year, and as good as the series has been, as close as it's been, is it almost fitting it comes down to one game takes all?

            MIKE MATHENY: Well, I don't think it's the way either of us had it pictured in our mind, but surprised, no. We talked about that early on. We knew there were going to be some close games and we knew that everybody out here would be fighting till the end. So, not surprised.

            Q. Are you big on motivational speeches before a game like this or is it just go play like it's another one of 162?

            MIKE MATHENY: I'd be big on it if I thought it was necessary. I've said this before. I've not big on team meetings just to have meets. But if something is missing, something is lacking, especially the things that we can control like our concentration or the effort. And, obviously, from our last game those aren't issues. So when the guys are going about it the right way, when they're preparing and they're absolutely fighting, you want them to just keep going that way.

            We've got meetings still today as far as the same things we always do. We meet with the pitchers and with the starters about the game plan for the day, looking at our hitters against the starter. But as far as the big get together and me trying to motivate, they're already motivated.

            Q. We saw a lot of Daniel Descalso shortstop towards the end of the year as you went with the hot hands with the platoon there. What has Pete done to merit the start today and also through this series to sort of get the increasing start and move back into that role that he had in last October?

            MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, I think you answered it yourself with the hot hand. Watching Pete walk into the batter's box with a lot of confidence right now. Defensively, there's never been a question what Pete can do and how well of a job he's done for us at shortstop.

            So with that in mind, we just want to continue to try to keep that positive momentum that he has offensively and put him in this lineup to help make an impact somewhere.

            Q. Without asking to give away the game plan, is it possible to make a significant alteration in the approach against somebody like Cole?

            MIKE MATHENY: Yeah, it's possible, especially when you're facing somebody for the first time. I think it's really important that you just stay fluid with your approach anyhow. Guys have done a terrific job this year really led by John Mabry with coming back after every at‑bat and making sure that you're staying on top of what you see and how that could possibly help the next guy up. They've done a real nice job of that.

            So I know that those are conversations that they've already had since we got back here from Pittsburgh, conversations they'll continue to have throughout the day about what they saw, what they continue to observe on video, and what their approach is going to be.

            But it's going to change at‑bat to at‑bat. They've got an overarching idea of what they're going to try to do for the day, but it's going to have to change as the day goes on.

            Q. How do you view Matt Carpenter who had an MVP kind of season for you and the way he struggled? Do you stay away from him? Do you just let him work it out? How do you handle Matt Carpenter with this situation?

            MIKE MATHENY: I think just like everything else, we handle him the exact same way we've handled him all season long. We believe in communicating around here. We don't stay away from guys and think that that's going to fix things. There are times when we give them a little more rest.

            Right now Matt's guilty of carrying too much is what I see, and I think everybody else agrees. This kid has completely bought into that idea that it's about us and not himself, and feels that probably he needs to carry more weight than what he actually does.

            We're just convinced and trying to convince him that he just needs to go be the same guy that he's been all season. Not production‑wise, but just with the approach, just with the expectation, where he goes out and is himself. He doesn't need to carry this offense. He needs to be Matt Carpenter, nothing more, nothing less, and to trust himself. Trust the fact that the kind of season that he had was not a fluke, and it's going to translate this year, and it's going to translate this Postseason if he trusts himself, and it's going to translate in the future.

            Q. Adam Wainwright has been one of the best pitchers in the league for a while now. What makes him as good as he is? And could you talk about your level of confidence for him in this kind of situation?

            MIKE MATHENY: Well, I have the utmost confidence and the utmost respect, as everybody else in that clubhouse does. You try to draw up what an ace should look like on a staff, and Adam Wainwright embodies that, not just when he's on the mound, but how he handles himself in the clubhouse and away. He's a pro. The competitor in him really is something that you match that up with the stuff. His stuff's obvious that he's got above average ability to pitch.

            But a situation like today and games that he's pitched like this one in the past and how well he's done and how well he's fought, that's part of the respect factor that goes into our pitching staff. He's the guy that we want on the mound today. There is no question. He's done a great job. You start talking about all the young pitchers that we've had and some of the impact that they've been able to make this year. And you can't have that conversation without including the influence that Adam Wainwright's had on them.

            Q. Being with Tony all those years in the playoffs, do you have to manage differently in Postseason than the regular season? Last night you saw Leyland bring in Scherzer for a couple innings. For a Game 5, do you do things you wouldn't do during the regular season maybe tonight?

            MIKE MATHENY: Well, obviously, there is a lot of urgency tonight, so we don't rule out anything. But we've got a game plan going in, and you're going to have to probably be able to move a lot quicker if things don't look like they're following the plan. We have almost an all hand's on deck. We do have some young pitchers that we're concerned about not throwing them out there too soon and into situations that they haven't been put into before. We just have to be careful with them.

            But for the most part, we have plenty of arms down there. We're not afraid to make an adjustment if we need to, but we're going into this thing having full faith from our starting pitcher right down through the guys in the lineup that they're going to be able to do the things that they've been doing all season long.

            Q. In that vein, is Joe Kelly available today out of the pen? Is the only arm not available, would it be Wacha?

            MIKE MATHENY: We'll be careful with Joe as well. Joe and Michael most likely wouldn't be available today.