Oct. 14 Don Mattingly pregame interview

Oct. 14 Don Mattingly pregame interview

Q. Could you give us an update on Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier, please?

DON MATTINGLY:  I can. I just got this before I came in, so I've got to get it right. The X-rays that they took the other day were negative, but when they did the CT scan, I think it's showing a fracture on the eighth rib. So it's something that, obviously, it's painful for Hanley. It's not necessarily dangerous, if he tries to play. Well, it's not dangerous if he tries to play. It's just going to be a matter if he can swing the bat or not, and that's what we're kind of trying to get him loose now. He'll try to swing here in, I don't even know what time it is, I think around 2:00 they were talking about, 2:00 something. And we'll have to make a decision from there. He's going to be more of a game-time decision.

Andre's kind of in the same boat. We'll have to see him get out on the field, see what he can do, and we'll kind of go from there. Another game time or at least after BP or during BP at some point we're going to be able to figure out if he's going to go or not.

Q. Considering the obvious importance of this game, how do you deal with the desperation factor? You don't want to play desperate, but you need this game badly. Have you said anything to the guys along with Mark about the over swinging and swinging for a five-run home run too much?

DON MATTINGLY:  Well, we'll talk to guys after BP today. Our guys are pretty much day-in, day-out you know what's going on. It's not our tenth game or something of the season. These guys have been through a lot. They've overcome a lot, so we trust them that they're going to constantly evaluate what's going on with game to game, at-bat to at-bat.

We'll have probably a little talk after BP just to make sure that we're all on the same page and make sure we keep it simple from the standpoint of where we're at right now. As far as the desperation, I talked about it in St. Louis the other day, we feel like every game is a must-win, and every game there are momentum changes in the series.

Right now, St. Louis, two very close games. We came up on the short end of both of those games, and they've got the momentum. There is no question about that right now, but that all changes tonight. If Hyun-Jin can go out and pitch the kind of game he's capable of and we can put some runs on the board, we have a chance to grab that back tonight. Then it's still game to game with that momentum.

Q. Obviously a lot of focus on Hanley all year and especially now, but hoping you could talk a little bit about the impact that Ethier has had on your team. And do you think he sort of gets lost in the shuffle a little bit with some of the bigger stars in the lineup as well?

DON MATTINGLY:  Well, no question he gets lost in the shuffle a little bit. There is obviously some big names and Dre's probably not the household name nationwide, or out on the west coast here, people get a pretty good view of what kind of player this guy has been over the years.

But the second half, this guy's resurgence was just as big a part of how we got here. Obviously, we've seen Yasiel and Hanley and those guys just came in at the same time almost and just lit it up.

The second half, Andre had the biggest resurgence, really. He struggled in the first half, and his numbers may not be quite what he's been able to do in the past. But the second half, he was one of our leading guys. I thought with him he'd give us that other piece. He'd actually give us that fourth piece when you talk about Yasiel, Hanley, Adrian who is pretty much all year long, then you throw Andre into the mix, and it gives us that four-guy mix that's pretty dangerous throughout the lineup.

He definitely gets overshadowed a little bit, and we've missed him. The kind of defense he played in centerfield for us, with Matt being out, I think it's overshadowed how good he was out there. And he's kind of solidified us defensively. Where we were in a little bit of disarray because of who is going to play center, and then Andre took it over and kind of calmed that whole situation down. So he's been a big part of what's been going on.

Q. You mentioned it's contingent on if Hanley can swing the bat. What are the dangers of him exacerbating a broken rib?

DON MATTINGLY:  I can just tell you what medical has told me, that Hanley is not in any danger of hurting himself any further. It's just a painful thing and it could be a week, it could be two weeks before this thing is gone. That type of thing.

It's one of those things. Just certain things you just can't -- we talked about it yesterday a little bit. Certain things it's hard to play with. As a hitter, trying to stop and start, you can say oh, you should play through it or whatever, it's a lot easier said than done when you're trying to stop on a Rosenthal 99 mile an hour fastball that turns into a cutter that you're trying to stop on and your rib is basically cracked.

That's not an easy thing. But we'll see what Hanley's going to be able to do. I know he wants to play, and he constantly will say he's vowed to play. But that's just a different thing when you get out there and try to swing a bat. If it's grabbing you every time you swing it, you're just not going to be effective. He's going to have to be able to do some things for us to be able to play him. But medical has told me no danger in him playing.

Q. So he'd be able to dive for a ball to his left?

DON MATTINGLY:  Again, it's going to be whatever he can deal with for the most part. We've had people in from different places. I've talked to the NFL, different paddings and shirts, NFL running backs wear. There is all kinds of stuff going on here in the last 48 hours with Hanley and trying to protect that from those type of things, from the bumps and the bruises part of it. But all the padding in the world doesn't stop that from you being able to either swing or not swing. That is the area that we're going to have to cross.

Q. Does the result of tonight's game play any role in your decision on who is going to start tomorrow, or do you already know?

DON MATTINGLY:  Well, we don't know. Ricky is ready to go. I'll probably be able to tell you a lot more after the game. So I would say, yes, today's results may have something to do. But like I said, Ricky is ready to go right now.

Q. As news of the injury worsens, any fear of your guys retaliating for the hit pitch? Was there any talk of that being intentional?

DON MATTINGLY:  There hasn't been talk of it being intentional. I don't think it was. Most of the time you can tell when somebody's trying to intentionally do something. The Cardinals are a class organization and you don't really see it. I've never really felt that from them. That's not the way they go about their business. They're trying to get you out. They're trying to beat you. I don't fear any retaliation.

I've said it in the past, our guys are going to protect -- we're going to protect our own guys. That's for sure, but it just didn't seem like a situation that they're trying to hit Hanley there.

Q. You've talked about how much emotion Yasiel plays with. Have you seen any signs in the series that maybe at times his emotion is taking him out of his game?

DON MATTINGLY:  I think that's always the case with Yasiel with any kind of mistakes or his at-bats and stuff. It is emotional. But the one thing I think we all know with Yasiel is it's always from trying too hard. It's never from not trying. So for the most part, when he's trying to do so much up there and do everything he can for us to win, the one thing, again, I go back to is -- talk about how proud I was of him last series and the decisions he has made. The at-bats, without the result, you see him deeper in counts and laying off pitches and it's like it goes the other way. It's like he can't do it enough. This kid cares so much about what's going on here, as do all of our guys, but this kid carries. The one thing, we see a lot of different things from Yasiel. He's still 22. He doesn't have a half a year in the big leagues yet. This is still a young, talented kid that's still growing. I think that's one thing we always have to kind of keep an eye on.

Q. The crowds seemed to energize last series against Atlanta. How important is it for you guys to be back home?

DON MATTINGLY:  It's huge for us. Talk about in St. Louis, the playoffs don't start until you lose one at home. So we've got a chance tonight to come in front of our home fans, put a win on the board and change the momentum of this series. If we can go out tonight and beat their top guy, it kind of puts momentum on our side and we'll see if we can do that.

Q. Talk more about the resolve of your clubhouse and how you've fought and found ways to win games and all the streaks this year. How that affects the confidence going into this situation too?

DON MATTINGLY:  There is not a club that's at this level. You're down to the final four teams. Every team in it has had success. We've had a lot of success. We've been through a lot, as most teams have been. We've clinched and we've won a round. So we've had some success.

I think we're realistic enough to know that we swing the bats in St. Louis, and just a little bit better we're up 2-0. We know what we're capable of doing. Obviously we didn't want to lose two games. We didn't want to be down two games, but we know if we can win tonight we can change this series around.

Q. Are you keeping Yasiel in the clean-up spot?

DON MATTINGLY:  The lineup is going to be made probably a little bit later, depending on Hanley. So I haven't put it together yet. But if I'm thinking right -- it depends who can play is where he ends up. So I can't tell you yes or no right now.