Oct. 17 Don Mattingly off day interview

Oct. 17 Don Mattingly off day interview

Q. Can you update us on the physical condition of Hanley and Ethier, and whether you expect them to play?

DON MATTINGLY: Andre, I expect to play. I think he felt probably as good yesterday as he's felt since coming back. He just seems to get a little bit stronger as far as being out on the field. We checked on him late. We thought about if we were going to defend for him late. We were comfortable with what we were seeing, and he was comfortable also. So I expect him, for sure, to be able to play. I expect the same thing from Hanley. I think he'll try to play. He's been trying to play every day. I think he'll do the same as far as going out there and doing the best he can for us and we'll just make an assessment tomorrow as we do the lineup. We're traveling today.

Q. Your guy tomorrow night Clayton Kershaw and their guy Michael Wacha are both products of the Texas amateur system. Just curious in your career if you ever noticed anything special about Texas pitchers that separates them from other guys?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, it seems like they're all just kind of really confident and kind of power pitching guys for the most part. You see a lot of those guys starting, faced Nolan in his career, and then Roger, kind of the same type guy. Just big, aggressive power. A lot of power arms, it seems like, coming out of Texas. I don't know what it is. I don't know if it was growing up and watching Nolan and watching Roger and those are the guys you want to be like, but it seems a lot of the guys that come out of there are really accomplished, aggressive, big, strong power guys.

Q. You guys are down 3 2. One of your best players is obviously limited, and yet your players still seem to be having a tremendous amount of fun out there. We saw Adrian yesterday making the Mickey Mouse ears. You were talking yesterday about being America's team and how even St. Louis wants a 7th game. Are you guys trying to get in the Cardinals heads?

DON MATTINGLY: No, we're trying to win games. I think what you see from our guys is really the kind of personality that we have. These guys, we talk about wanting to have fun when we play and we play the game the way you would play it in little league, but then get down to business. So we know there's a lot at stake. We're not trying to get in anybody's heads. We're trying to win games, and I think that is the biggest thing.

It's been our personality, it seems like. As we kind of got on our roll, these guys have a great time playing together, and I think it's just as simple as that. These guys love playing together.

Q. There's always a lot of talk when a pitcher faces the same team in consecutive starts but doesn't give the team you're facing an advantage or anything like that. With a pitcher of Clayton's abilities, does it even make any difference? If he makes his pitches, it really doesn't even matter?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, I think it is I think teams like being able to see the guy a couple times in a row like that. Kind of having those home and away series, and it's good to see a guy back to back like that. I think, again, you get quality stuff. Guys have holes. And we've talked about this. It's about executing pitches and getting them to the spot, the sequence that he used. That's where the back to backs kind of come in as guys start to feel the sequences he used and they get them out before and make adjustments for that.

So that's where I kind of see he gets a little bit back there. But still, if you have holes and guys that area. That's what we see from Clayton, and I know their guy's good too.

The one thing I think we'll see both of us have better at bats this game just from the standpoint of vision. The last one was really a tough visual game. The shadows were there from the very beginning. This one should be no shadows. And more than anything, maybe a little bit of weather as far as being a cold game, so how we deal with that.

I think both teams will look more comfortable at the plate than they did last game.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the rapport that's developed over the years between Clayton and A.J. Ellis?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, those guys have been it seems like they've been friends for a while, and I think that always helps when guys have played together. I'm not sure if they played together in the minor leagues. I don't think they did in the minor leagues, but there seems to be a respect for each other. You know, I think all our pitchers in general have a great deal of respect for A.J. I know Yadier gets a lot of attention, and he should, but we love our guy.

And A.J. from the standpoint, they give him a lot of respect from the standpoint they know he studies, they know he works. When he's saying how do we go to get this guy out, it's not guesswork.

I think Clayton's a guy that just demands so much from himself, but also, I think, from the guy behind the plate too. He's demanding that he block the ball in the dirt and feels like he needs to be on the same page as far as calling the game. So I think there is just a respect there that they've both gained from each other kind of working together for a few years now.

Q. As far as Hanley goes, was he in any worse shape yesterday than he was the day before? Also, could you talk a little bit about the process of deciding to play him as long as you did and to take him out when you did? As far as how the conversations went and how he was feeling?

DON MATTINGLY: We don't feel like he's getting any worse. It's just a matter of how the game goes for him. The first day it seemed like he was able to stay loose and be comfortable the whole game. The second game was the second day there in LA was probably the worst day as far as feeling everything and just didn't look comfortable at all on the field.

Yesterday was okay. So it's just a process with the trainers more than talking with him the whole time and kind of saying that this is going on with him. So really I'm getting information as the game goes on from the trainers, if he's starting to feel tightness or something else, especially when we get towards the latter innings when there was a possibility of a double switch in there for him. We know there is a pitching change coming. We need to know how he's feeling so we don't end up moving somebody else out of the game. Him being the guy up a half inning later that needs to come out.

So just the process of going back and forth with the trainers more than anything.

Q. Obviously Hanley's situation isn't going to heal in a day. But having a day off, can that decidedly help him at all or is it not an injury is it something that he's just going to deal with until he can take an extended period off to really feel any different?

DON MATTINGLY: I'm not a hundred percent sure. I kind of feel like he's really going to have almost three. He has most of the end of the day yesterday, all day to day, and pretty much all day tomorrow. So it's almost three days. I'm hoping this gives him a little bit of relief. But I do think it's something that until he stops actually trying to swing a bat and twist and things like that, this thing's not going to fully heal.

Since I feel like he's going to continue to play like this, hopefully it's getting a little bit better. He's not doing something that it's all of a sudden going to get worse. But I do feel like it's not going to fully heal as long as he's swinging the bat.

Q. In light of what you just said with Hanley, are you committed to continue playing him as long as he says he can play regardless of what the results are on the field?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, I mean, to a point. If he says, oh, I'll go out there but I don't feel like I can do anything, then we're going to have to make a decision.

I look at Nick and he can he's capable of swinging the bat and getting hits and doing some things on the field too. We've seen that through the course of the season.

So Hanley, a lot like Andre, he's got to be able to feel like he can do something. Even though he hasn't gotten any hits, he's had a couple of yesterday I thought he had a couple of swings that looked more like himself. Obviously, not a hundred percent like himself, but better. He's just going to have to be honest with us, and we have to make that assessment of his I don't need a hero from the standpoint that I can go out there but I know I'm not going to be able to do anything. We won't play him like that. He's got to feel like he's going to be able to do something.

Q. Is there any thoughts of breaking up Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier in the lineup to not allow the Cardinals to bring in one of their lefties to face two guys that row there in the later innings?

DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, we've talked about it a little bit. I've looked at a couple different ways to do that. The one thing I've liked about it is that we've seen they've pitched to Adrian. When we have Yasiel back there with the right handers, they were just going after they were going straight to Yasiel and kind of doing that.

Since we've put Andre back there, we've seen Wainwright pitch to him. Andre has pretty good numbers off him. It seems like they have a little bit more fear right now of Andre with their righties than they do of Yasiel. So really that was a move more to protect Adrian. But there is possibly a way to do it, still protecting Adrian. We're talking about something a little bit different.