So they were comfortable with him. He kind of agreed to go through the minor league process enough to make us feel comfortable about using him. He came with no rules as far as I want to be the closer or anything else. He came basically saying I want to get outs for you. I want to be a part of this. Then, as we moved forward, he's pretty much been consistently good every time out.
He pretty much looks like the same guy. I mean, the velocity in San Francisco he was hitting 100 at times. Here we've seen a little different style, but we also see him clip 96 a few times. When he want it's, it's there. So we've seen him kind of basically being the same guy, just a tick less velocity.
Q. How did Hanley and Andre respond to playing nine innings yesterday?
DON MATTINGLY: Good, both guys good. I think our lineup will pretty much look the same. So they're in. Hanley feels, obviously we're not going to get a huge difference in the way they feel from day to day, going from feeling great all of a sudden.
As long as we don't go backwards, we know that we have them at at least that level. So they're both good today and back in there.
Q. There was a little bit of chatter from their side last night after the game about the way some of your guys celebrated hits last night. What do you make of all of that?
DON MATTINGLY: I had zero problems with Adrian's hit. I heard a little bit of it, and Puig's kind of being excited at third base. I also had zero problems the other day when they got out of the bases loaded jam and Yadier pumps his fist, I mean, when he gets out of a jam.
To me, that's just baseball. Guys get excited. Again, I had zero problems with their celebration the way they do it, and I think our guys were excited that our backs were to the wall. They've been stopping us and shutting us down. Adrian gets a big hit for us.
Puig's been shut down, and a lot of bad things, not necessarily bad things, but hasn't been very good, and he's excited when he gets a hit. So, to me, it can't be a double standard. So that's the way I look at that part of it.
The bat thing, really, it's more our problem than theirs because if he stands there and doesn't run, it goes from a triple to a double; it helps them and hurts us. So that's more of our issue having to get him to go right away. So you would think they would be excited that he doesn't run from that standpoint, really, because it helps them or has a chance to help them.
Q. Did you say anything to him about that getting out of the box fast?
DON MATTINGLY: We always talk about it. Our guys, you hear them yell in our dugout, run. Again, I think the thing was just the excitement of the game. I think it's baseball. It's postseason, and guys are committed. They care about their team. We care about our team and what's going on, so I don't think it's that big of an issue.
Q. Had you lost Game 3, were you planning to go with Greinke pitching today? If so, did you also have at least Greinke and Kershaw planned to possibly pitch on three days' rest?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, the way it went down more than anything was Zack and Clayton both wanting to pitch and offering to pitch on three days. Honestly, we went back and forth and thought of different scenarios. We flip flopped more than once on what we wanted to do with it, and at the end of the day -- really, we talked yesterday about it. We said we'd wait until after the game. As the game went on, I just told Rick I didn't feel good about it, and we're going everybody's staying where they're at.
I really think it tells you a lot about Zack and about Clayton that they both come and want to do it. It's a lot like Hanley and Adrian and Andre. They want to play. These guys want to win. So it tells you about where their heads are, and we appreciate that part of it. But we just didn't feel like at this point it was the right thing.
Q. To clarify, if you decided that during the game last night, that means that Ricky would have gone win or lose today?
DON MATTINGLY: Ricky would have went win or lose today.
Q. You used the word double standard a few minutes ago in your comments about the Puig stuff. What did you mean?
DON MATTINGLY: When they got out of the bases loaded jam the other day, Yadi (Yadier) pumps his fist, and I have zero problems with that. I don't like seeing it, because they got out of the jam.
But that's just a guy being excited in a key moment of the game and gets excited, and he does that. So to me, if you don't get excited, it means you don't care. So our guys aren't trying to show their guy up. They're excited they got a hit. Yadi wasn't trying to show us up. He was excited they got out of a jam, and I look at it simply as that.
Q. Back in May when you guys were struggling, you talked about some of the difficulties with putting together a high priced roster. Obviously, you had so much success since and now you see some of the high priced guys playing through all sorts of things, whether it's Hanley with his rib, or the pitchers you're talking about wanting to go on three days' rest. Just curious if you could talk about the inherent advantages or disadvantages to the way the Dodgers have put this team together? And whether you think you'd be in the same spot without a high priced roster?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, you don't get here without good players. I think it doesn't matter if they're younger, or older, or if they're making a little money or a lot of money. It's going to take X amount of talent to get here. So once you get guys on your team, the money has nothing to do with it anymore. You know what I mean? The fact these guys are making money or not making money. The guys that aren't making money on the other side or if there's a guy that's not making a lot of money, they're going to.
It's just a matter of time. It means you've got some older guys that have been through the free agency process and have done really well. That's not so much the challenge. The challenge is when you bring guys in from different places and you're trying to put them all together as a team, I think that's really the challenges of trying to put that together.
As you're trying to build a culture the way you want to play, what team means in that format of what is the commitment to obviously, our ownership came in and said we want to win, and they made a commitment towards that. That's what we have to get our guys to buy into is that's what we're here for.
Q. Are you surprised at how players have come together?
DON MATTINGLY: Not really. I feel like the players are players. Even though we categorize them a little bit as they make money, they change. Like a Carl Crawford's in Tampa making no money because he's young. Everybody loves him. Now he makes a little money, and now we cut him up what he does and doesn't do. It's the same with all guys. I've seen it happen with the Yankees. Everybody says they bought this and bought that. Well, all the guys they paid were Jeter, Mariano, Posada, Andy Pettite, guys that came through the system at one point were those young guys that everybody loved because they weren't making any money.
Then they start making money, and they're spoiled players. You can't have it both ways. So I look at the guys who are always the same. They're just players now they're making a little money.
Q. You had to isolate a couple things that are the differences between Nolasco in August and Nolasco in September. What would they be and what types of things would you be looking at as checkpoints in the first couple innings tonight?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, to be really honest, we've put Ricky in it's not a great spot for Ricky. He hasn't pitched in a while. We basically bring back Clayton on short rest in the Atlanta series, and Ricky didn't end up pitching.
Now he's here in Game 4. He hasn't pitched in a while, so that makes it tough on him. I think we didn't see a whole lot of differences in Ricky. He had some teams in there that he didn't match up well with and had to pitch against traditionally. It seemed that he got roughed up a couple times really good, and it wasn't the same.
Then we see him bounce back and pitch a little bit better. Ricky's competitive, and he's worked hard in here to try to stay sharp. We'll just be keeping an eye on him and see where he's at and try to manage the game as it tells us what to do.
Q. This team looked much more comfortable playing last night at home than they did in the first two games of the series. Can you speak a little bit about that? What the home crowd gave to you guys?
DON MATTINGLY: I think playing at home is always nice to be in front of your home fans. This year it seems our fans are even more excited than I've seen them in the past. It's great playing at home. There is an energy around our ballclub, it seems like, here in LA right now.
So that, obviously, gives it an advantage. I didn't feel like we were uncomfortable in St. Louis. We've been a pretty good road team as far as we got going. I don't think our guys are afraid to go on the road and have to win games. But it's always nicer to be home, around your family, in your own bed. You're not in a hotel setting. Guys are just more comfortable.
Q. If George Steinbrenner were watching these playoffs when Wilson comes into a game and watching the Red Sox play, what do you think he would make of that?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, as long as Wilson wasn't on the Yankees, I'm sure he'd be fine with it. Obviously, he had the facial hair policies. But he was about winning, so that's one thing you can say. When it gets down to the bottom line, he's going to be about winning. He would want to have one of those guys or the guys that are doing well. But he would basically have to talk them into not having the beards.
Q. Similarly, Volquez hasn't pitched in a while. I would assume he's available as long man tonight?
DON MATTINGLY: I hope so.
Q. What has he done to get ready? He also threw a sim game last weekend. Did he pitch a bullpen or anything in St. Louis?
DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, he's going to continue to do these guys that have routines that keep themselves sharp to make sure that the bullpen is a little bit tougher for him because he hasn't been in the bullpen. But throwing sides and that type of stuff and doing enough work touch and feel to be comfortable when you go out there.
Q. Where do you feel Nolasco is as far as his frame of mind? Whether it's a roller coaster, whether it's not, he hasn't pitched in a while. Do you check on him a bunch? Obviously, he's going to be important.
DON MATTINGLY: I think he's good. Ricky seems to be calm about everything. He's a guy that's come into this setting and pitched really well for us. He's been calm. He's a professional about his work. He doesn't say a whole lot. He just prepares. I feel like Ricky's going to be fine tonight.
We'll check on him from the standpoint of just seeing how he's feeling. Not really worried about him as far as being ready or being scared and all that stuff.
Q. As far as how deep into this game Ricky can pitch, do you have any number of pitches or innings in mind that you'd like to see him go?
DON MATTINGLY: I'd like to see him go nine, honestly (smiling). But we're just going to read the situation as we go. See how Ricky's pitching and how he's feeling. The game will tell us, really, how it's going for him. Obviously, he hasn't pitched in a while, so you wouldn't look at him as 120 or anything like that. But I think he's capable of getting us deep into the game.
Q. Zack obviously did a lot of things right in his previous start. Anything in particular impress you the most about his effort that day?
DON MATTINGLY: He had great stuff we felt like that day. He was sharp with all his pitches. He's locating the fastball and attacking the strike zone, which, for the most part he always is. His stuff plays. I feel like we're a lot like what they try to do on the other side is you're going to have a game plan for him. We know there are certain areas to get these guys out.
As we've talked about with our pitching, guys that can get the ball to both sides of the plate, change speeds with a couple of different pitches, there's always a hole in there for guys. There are very few guys that there's not a place to get them out. So Zack is one of those guys that they can get the ball to all different locations on the plate with different speeds. So he's a tough match up for people.
Q. How does not having David Freese in that Cardinals lineup change the way you attack the middle of that order?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, it adds a different guy. I haven't actually seen their lineup yet, so I'm assuming Descalso from there. But it puts a lefty in the lineup.
David's a guy that, for me being from the midwest, I watched him play in some of the postseason, he always seems to get big hits. So he's a guy, I'm sure, that plays pretty much every day. But I'm sure they feel just like we do when we don't have our guys in there that they have another guy that can do the job. So we've seen them lose a Craig and throw Adams in there and not miss a beat it doesn't seem like. So I'm sure they look at it like we're not going to miss a beat.
Q. You said you were considering different scenarios with the starting rotation. Was there any one where Ricky wasn't going to pitch or someone besides the three who have pitched wasn't going to pitch in this series?
DON MATTINGLY: No, Ricky was going to pitch in the series. It was just a matter of when.