NLCS Gm5: Mattingly on Greinke's tremendous outing

Q. Talk about Zack and what Zack did today in a crucial game for you guys?

DON MATTINGLY: Well, obviously tremendous. Started and looked a little rough early there. Carpenter went out there, Holliday's ball drops and it looks like we're in trouble. He gets a big punch out there and then gets Yadi to hit into the double‑play. Then the rest of the day kind of set the tone. The one, obviously, the one inning in there that we get the two and they get it right back. But from there, they've settled down and he does what he does.

Q.  In a series when the long ball has been at a premium, for you guys especially, can you just talk about how comforting it was to finally get some sock?

DON MATTINGLY:  Well, Adrian's first homer was huge. I felt like we get the two runs, and then they come right back and get him right back. But then Adrian pops one for us and puts us on top and gives us that lead right back. From there, Zack kind of took over, then Carl kind of one at a time. Then Carl hits his; A.J., and then another one after that for two for Adrian.             So obviously we hadn't been hitting them. We know the ball carried here during day, but it was just one of those days that we were a little better, got some runs, good feeling.

Q.  Not just the home run today, but it seems like all your postseason Crawford has been giving you something every day. How important has that been for you? Was there anything that you could point to that happened the last week of the season that got him on this little roll?

DON MATTINGLY:  I don't know if there was anything this last week. I know the last week of the season he started running for us. I think it was like he had a bunch of little stuff during the course of the year, back a couple different times, a couple of different stints with a couple slide hamstring that's kind of slowed him down.

It's almost like when he came back he kind of stopped running. That last week of the season it seemed like he kind of decided that he needed to go, and he started stealing some bags late in the year. Then he's kind of been on the home run tear through the playoffs. I think it's four, right? So he's been on a little bit of a run here in the playoffs, and it's been good to have him up top there and doing that for us.

Q.  The other day Wainwright and some of the Cardinals were upset with the way your guys enjoyed some of the events that happened. Can that kind of create a boost for a guy like Gonzalez, or do we make too much out of that?

DON MATTINGLY:  I don't think it's ‑‑ I think we make a little bit out of it. I think guys read that stuff back and forth. But I don't feel like it's been like a boost for us. I think we just know we've got to win games. Today, obviously, our back was to the wall and this makes it a lot more fun for us when we get on the plane.

Q. Could you talk about the fact that, obviously, you don't want to be down 3‑2, but you're going back and you've got your left‑handers going and maybe the best pitcher in baseball?

DON MATTINGLY:  I think if you look at it now we've kind of become America's team because everyone wants to see a seventh game. Probably even the fans in St. Louis would like to see a seventh game, so I figure that everybody's for us to win on Friday night. So obviously it's a pretty good feeling with Clayton pitching on Friday. So we breathe till then. We feel like Clayton pretty much is going to keep you in the game and give you a chance if we can put some runs up. We know their guy's really good, so it will be fun.

Q.  Good luck with that theory about St. Louis.

DON MATTINGLY:  Yeah, that's my home area. So maybe my hometown really wants to see a seventh game.

Q.  I was going to ask you about Zack. There was a time way before you guys signed him, but people questioned the big market, big game. What do you notice about his personality and demeanor that seems to have lent itself to big games even though people didn't think it would?

DON MATTINGLY: I think Zack's really ‑‑ well, obviously, this is my first year being around Zack, but we've just seen none of it. You see it every once in a while. They've introduced him twice here and he doesn't go out for that. I don't know what that's all about.

But he's pretty much just focused all the time. He's so competitive about getting better and making pitches and with everything that he does. I think it just lends to him ‑‑ I think he loves competing, to be honest with you. I think it makes it easy for him. Doesn't really matter where it is. It's just the fact that he's competing, trying to make pitches and get people out. I think he likes studying and knowing how to get a guy out and what he's trying to do to get him out.

The hitting part, he loves that part of it. I think the stuff that we had heard is just kind of like null and void with him. He's just super competitive, and it's just been fun to watch.

Q.  Just back to Adrian for a second. He did come back at Wainwright on the Mickey Mouse thing and kind of owned it a little bit and had some fun with it. Today he comes up with the big home run, comes off the field, makes a gesture to get your own guys fired up. Do you think he got the team a little to rally around him there and became the guy to kind of stand up?

DON MATTINGLY:  I think the fact that ‑‑ Adrian's been doing what he's doing all year long. So, obviously, a big hit the other night in our win, big hits today. He's always been that guy. He does it a lot differently than most of the guys. He's not quite the play‑around near as much. He's more serious. He does his work, goes about his business, kind of day‑in, day‑out consistently doing his thing. He's always been that guy, really, that you rely on. You don't have to worry about. So him just doing well, it's what he does.

Q.  Has the past couple days been a new side to him though than what you've seen during the season, personality‑wise?

DON MATTINGLY:  It seems that he's kind of stepped up here. Maybe the fact that Hanley has not been able to do what he's been doing in the past, and Adrian maybe feels that responsibility. But I think maybe it's the time of year. He's getting more attention for it, but he's been doing this all year long for us. It's something that we've seen all year long.

Q.  At the time the Dodgers and the Red Sox made the trade for Carl Crawford and for Adrian Gonzalez there was a lot of criticism, particularly the price tag attached. I'm just curious what you think a game like this says about that trade and the way the Dodgers have been constructed in general?

DON MATTINGLY: I heard some of the stuff. A lot of times when a guy gets hurt, you tend to put him on the back burner. A few years ago Carl was a free agent and he was probably one of the most sought‑after guys in baseball from the things he was able to do. He goes to Boston. Doesn't seem like a good fit. He gets hurt and misses a lot of games. All of a sudden, you become a bad guy.

So Carl coming here, I think, is a little relief for him to be able to come out here, just come play. It's still been a little bit of a rough year, I think, from the standpoint of some injuries and things like that. But this postseason has helped Carl shine and show what he can do.

How we're constructed, it's just been the way our ownership went about it. It was what they promised the fans. They've basically done everything that they said they were going to do. From reconstructing all this area and our locker rooms and training facility and cages and what they would do for the fans and they were going to put a winning product out there.

Q.  So you say you could win this game without the high‑priced talent you brought in here?

DON MATTINGLY:  I think it's just talent period. You don't win these games without talent if it's young or old. The guys that are high‑priced now were young guys, not high‑priced at some point. These guys have just earned their way and the system gets you paid, you know, the free agency and just the way baseball is, right. So the fact that they're getting paid, to me, has nothing to do with it.

Q.  Kershaw has obviously been great for a long time now. Wacha's only given up one earned run in his two playoff starts. How would you assess that match‑up?

DON MATTINGLY:  Obviously, pretty good. They were both good last time in St. Louis. I think everybody kind of complained about they couldn't see. We're going to get a night game so everybody should be able to see. But I'm thinking their stuff's probably both going to be pretty good again. We'll see.

Their guy's been really good. Our guy has been really good all year long too. It ought to be a good game. Again, I know everybody wants to see a seventh game, so...

Q.  You're two wins away from the World Series. For you, the further you're getting along in the playoffs as manager are you feeling more comfortable, more confident? How would you explain it?

DON MATTINGLY:  I feel fairly comfortable. Obviously, the one thing I do like is when you're out there, it's baseball. No matter what the game is, it's still baseball. You're trying to make baseball decisions to do what you have to do to win. Obviously didn't like being down 3‑1, and now not necessarily thrilled about having another elimination game. But I feel pretty good about having Clayton pitching on Friday night and our chances of getting a seventh game.

Oct. 16 Zack Greinke postgame interview

NLCS Gm5: Dodgers on Greinke's strong Game 5 outing

Q. What did do you in particular to get out of that first‑inning jam? And how important was that for you?

ZACK GREINKE: It was huge. That was big. I was real nervous out there with that situation and trying to make a good pitch and get Adams to chase and get him into a double‑play.

Took first pitch, and then I don't really remember, and then threw a curveball down. Once I got into that situation, I could go for a strikeout. But then Molina, I know if you hit on the ground there is a good chance it's either going to be a hit or a double‑play. Risky going in, bases loaded because he could do some damage. It was just, I mean, it worked out.

But with Molina there is nothing you could do that you know is going to work. He can adjust to anything, and you just, I kind of got lucky, I guess. I made a good pitch, but still even with a good pitch he can hurt you, and it just worked out.

Q. Was there a little bit of a sense of deja vu when you gave the lead back up, the two‑run lead?

ZACK GREINKE: Yeah.

Q. And what kind of a mental boost did you get when Adrian gave it right back to you with the home run?

ZACK GREINKE:  I don't know why that happened, but it was the same part of the lineup too, I think. Beltran same thing. Just went over today. I said if I got beaten by Beltran I want it to be with the curveball and that was what happened. Probably should have went in earlier in that at‑bat when I had some opportunities and then that curveball would have been more effective.

But it was one of those things where, like I said last time, yeah, you don't want Beltran to beat you. But Holliday's just as good. So have a pitch you want to throw to Beltran, and he just did a good job hitting it.

Q. After the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh, you had about ten pitches an inning on average. What happened between the third and fourth?

ZACK GREINKE:  I don't know if they did, but I felt like they were adjusting and looking out over, and they were hitting the off‑speed well. So I just tried to locate some fastballs and ended up working. Got some quick outs. I don't know if that's what they were doing.

But them and the Twins are the two teams that make adjustments faster than any other team. It's always a mental battle, a physical and mental battle against them. Trying, like I said, trying to make adjustments before they do. I don't know if that was the case, but that was my mindset.

Q. Being with Kershaw this year, did you guys create any kind of a friendly competition, or do you build off each other or push each other?

ZACK GREINKE:  I mean, we might not knowing pitching‑wise. But we have a hitting competition every month. But pitching‑wise, we don't talk about it. I don't try to compete with him because I don't think it's possible to. Try, maybe, just try to come as close as possible.

Q. Would you be available for a seventh game, not to start or anything, but maybe to throw an inning or two?

ZACK GREINKE:  Yeah, I'm sure it's possible. But, I mean, bullpen guys, their job is a bullpen. Starters, their job is a starter. They train for it. They practice it. I mean, I've done it before, but it's not as easy as you think to switch. You're starting the whole year and then come out of the bullpen out of nowhere. But I'm sure extra‑innings‑type situation it would be more realistic if that happens.

Q. A few years ago there were some questions, maybe some doubts about you in big games and big markets. How has it been for you here? Do you feel any different than Kansas City, Milwaukee? I know you were in Anaheim briefly, but has it been a bit of an adjustment at all?

ZACK GREINKE: I mean, the games are fun. They're intense. I mean, I get nervous before the starts, but I'm sure most people do. I think the biggest difference is there are more people. I mean, this room is full and the clubhouse is full of media. I mean, it's crazy.

The biggest difference is just all the people and having to get used to it and find a way that is comfortable dealing with all the extra people around. Ideally there would be less people around, but that's just not the case. It's not my favorite having it, but if it was like this the whole year, I don't know. It might be a little tough. But the regular season there's not too many people around and you just try to do as good as you can.

Q. There's been a number of plays on both sides in this series where there's fist pumping and gesturing and whatever excitement you want to call it. When you gave off the mound, you had to think you were pretty close to knowing you were done after seven and looked like you were just walking with your head down going to the library. Did you have any thoughts of any kind of gestures at that point given how well you pitched and how big this game was?

ZACK GREINKE:  The biggest ones were the two double‑plays. I mean, those were really exciting. Their team has gotten a bunch of double‑plays against us, and we've had them hit some hardballs that we've made plays on.

But I don't think we've had many big double‑plays. It's just guys in scoring position, and that happening is just really exciting. The last three innings, nothing special. It was more the double‑plays were the most exciting part.

Q. You were able, after giving up the second run you retired I believe it was 13 guys in a row. Did Adrian's home run having the lead back, did that make you a little bit more comfortable?

ZACK GREINKE: I don't really think about the runs too much. I mean, if we get like a five‑run lead then I'll start to pitch according to that. But a tie game, one run, I mean, one run is not very comfortable so still pitching the same and the way I go about it.

Q. Could you tell us what your thoughts were approaching the plate in the second inning and take us through that at‑bat?

ZACK GREINKE:  Just there's a guy on first, so I saw there were more holes open a bit. So I was just trying to not strike out. That was pretty much it and hoped it finds a hole, because, I mean, there were some holes out there because of people being on base. They had to cover first and stuff. So it ended up working out.

Q. A.J. accused you of only wanting to extend the series so you had more time to make fantasy football trades. Would you care to answer this accusation?

ZACK GREINKE: I'm in last place. I'm tied for last place, so I've got a bet that I won't be in last place by the time the season's over. So I needed to go to Sunday for that. I've got a $10 bet on it, so it's important (smiling).

Oct. 16 Gonzalez, Crawford postgame interview

NLCS Gm5: Adrian clarifies Mickey Mouse ears gesture

Q. Adrian, as they say in baseball, you hang around long enough you see stuff you've never seen before. Could you just take us through the two home runs you hit. And then the thing I've never seen before, I think those were Mickey Mouse ears after the first one?

ADRIAN GONZALEZ:  The first home run, I know Kelly is an aggressive pitcher, so I was just trying to look for a fastball. I got to 2‑0. Threw me a fastball 2‑0 and I kind of over swung a little bit. So I just told myself to try to stay short and he threw me another one on the other half and I was able to get to it.

The Mickey Mouse ears, I was just having fun with the comment that was made earlier. Nothing against them or anything. It was just to have fun.

Then the other home run, I was just ‑‑ I've always struggled against Axford, so I just told myself to look for something middle and go after it, and I just ran into a curveball. I was able to get it in the air; and luckily, thank God, it got out.

Q. What is it about this team that allows you to be so resilient? You could have your back completely against the wall like you did today and you come out and find a way to win; and who knows what's going to happen over the weekend, but what is it about this Dodger team?

CARL CRAWFORD: Well, we know we have a good team. We know what we have in the clubhouse. We believe in ourselves. We trust one another. To be honest with you, I just think guys weren't ready to lose today. We have to take it one game at a time.

Tomorrow is the next step for us, and we just believe that if we take that approach we can win. Hopefully come back and get to the World Series.

ADRIAN GONZALEZ: Just like Carl said, we believe in ourselves. We've been in a tough situation in late June. Very similar to where we could have easily folded the season and not be in this situation. But we knew that we have a team that can bounce back and do some pretty incredible things out there. Just a talented group of guys.

We've got a bunch of guys that have been in this atmosphere before and won a lot of World Series or been to the World Series. We just lean off of them and take their leadership and their direction and just keep playing hard every day.

Q. How important was it for you to have the support of the people and have accomplished two home runs and one single?

ADRIAN GONZALEZ:  LA fans have given us incredible support all year, and having them behind us was huge. It gave us a lift, and we definitely weren't going to go down on our home field. The importance of hitting two home runs, to me, it's just about winning. It's not about me. It's about the team.

Q. In your first answer, you mentioned having fun. Is this the most fun you've had in baseball personally? And what is it about this group that makes it that way for you?

ADRIAN GONZALEZ:  Yeah, you're in the playoffs. You've got to have fun. If you're not having fun in the playoffs, then you don't deserve to be here. Just enjoying every moment of it. Preparing and leaving it all up to God. Just really enjoying it, you know, and having fun. I mean, to me, if you can't have fun out there in these situations, then you shouldn't be out there.

Q. From the back flip to the Mickey Mouse ears, how much emotion was behind that for you? Are you concerned that the Cardinals will take that the wrong way?

ADRIAN GONZALEZ:  I don't see it that way. I think you guys are building it up more than anything. I think it just gave us the lead and there is no emotion. It's just having fun.

Q. Carl, anything you can point to for this nice stretch you've been on the whole postseason? The Braves series first and then this one. It seemed to sort of start the last week of the season. Did anything in particular happen there? And lastly, are you watching the Red Sox at all in the playoffs?

CARL CRAWFORD:  Well, I just started feeling better towards the end of the year. Luckily the body felt good, the swing started to feel better, so that enabled me to look for some pitches to drive. Just kind of found the stroke that I'm comfortable with, and it's been working for me. As far as the Red Sox, I'm watching both teams play. Monitoring them real closely.

I have to worry about the Cardinals right now though. I can't real really worry about what's going on in the other games. I mean, I watch them, but the Cardinals have my main focus.

Q. How important for you guys is victory, and how will you face off the next game?

ADRIAN GONZALEZ: The victory is incredibly important, because if not, we're eliminated. That goes without saying. Our focus for Game 6 is to score runs for Kershaw and let him do his thing. So if we can give Kershaw some run support, we're pretty confident.

Q. You've had success against Kelly in the past. I know it's been nine at‑bats against him, but you've had a lot of success against him. What kind of feeling does that give you going up against him in a playoff situation? Is nine at‑bats enough to build confidence against a pitcher?

ADRIAN GONZALEZ: Yeah, there are just certain match‑ups that you can't explain it. You just see the ball well out of his hand. It just definitely gives you confidence going into the game just knowing that you're looking for your pitch. But he's a great pitcher. I still have to execute my swing. I still have to execute my game plan. If he executes, he's going to get me out. I don't care how much confidence you have. Pitching dominates hitting. But if I can execute my game plan, I'm confident.

Q. Don was saying ‑‑ kind of got a feeling that typically you're very serious, very focused on the game, but you may actually be having a little more outward fun right now than you've had most of the time. Are you having more fun right now?

ADRIAN GONZALEZ: Absolutely. Like I said, we're in the League Championship Series here. Just trying to have fun, enjoy it and just not try to force anything. Just let the game happen. When I'm at the plate, obviously I'm serious. I'm trying to execute my game plan. But other than that, I'm just having fun.

Q. Until this year, you've, I'm sure, read about Zack Greinke and heard about him and now you're on his team. What have you learned about Greinke now that you're teammates with him?

CARL CRAWFORD:  I didn't realize how much of an athlete he is. He moves well. I faced him so I knew how much of a good pitcher he was, but he prepares well and he's real focused, a really smart guy. He's a bulldog when he takes the mound. That's the type of guy you want to play behind.

ADRIAN GONZALEZ:  Yeah, I mean, he's one of the best competitors I've been with. One of the smartest pitchers I've been with. He doesn't get rattled. He knows what he's doing. He stays composed. Even in that first inning, bases loaded, no outs. He just knew if he kept making his pitches he was going to get out of it, and he did. That just shows that he's got the whole package.

Q. For both of you guys, is this the perfect example of how baseball's such a crazy game? No home runs the whole series, and then, boom, it's Home Run Derby today? Then if I told you in spring training you had Kershaw and Ryu going in the last two, would you take it?

CARL CRAWFORD:  I'd take it. It just goes to show how baseball is. One day you can be on and one day you can be off. The pitching has been dominating this series, and nobody's been hitting home runs. Today we just seemed to find the stroke for the home run. I don't really know why that is, but we'll take it. Hopefully we can continue to swing the bats like that.

ADRIAN GONZALEZ:  Yeah, it is a crazy game. Can't predict anything, that's for sure. But, yeah, I'd definitely take Kershaw and Ryu the final two games of this series, absolutely.

Q. You kind of set off an internet explosion during the game when you made that ears gesture going into the dugout. Are the ears retired now, or could they come back out during the series?

ADRIAN GONZALEZ:  I'm going to retire them so they're not talked about once again. It's just something that doesn't need to be talked about. It was just for fun, like I said. I don't need it to get out of hand here because it shouldn't be.

Q. Carl, are you disappointed to hear the ears are going to be retired now?

CARL CRAWFORD: Once you start it, you've got to keep going (laughing). I'm pretty sure it rubbed them the wrong way and they're going to use that as some kind of fuel, so you might as well keep doing it, Adrian.

ADRIAN GONZALEZ: Hey, if Carl wants them. It's for him, not for anybody else (laughing).

Q. You've both been on teams with much greater payroll restrictions and owners who were not willing to do nearly as much as the Dodgers have done here. I'm just curious what the practical effect has been on your clubhouse? The day‑to‑day effect, and if the Dodgers hadn't brought both of you over along with Greinke that you guys wouldn't be playing at this point in the season?

CARL CRAWFORD:  It's nice to be with an organization that's willing to do whatever it takes to win, and that is the situation we're in right now. It's good for us because we always know that probably if we need something, those guys are probably going to get it for us.

As far as them being here without us, I'm pretty sure they probably would have went and got somebody that could help them get there with the money they have.

But we're just fortunate enough to be on this team. We've been fortunate enough to be able to contribute and to help being in this situation. That's really all you can ask for.

ADRIAN GONZALEZ: Like Carl said, they're an ownership group that was going to stop at no lengths to get a winning team on the field. We're just grateful to be here and to be with this organization at this time. It's incredible what our ownership group is doing.

Q. Kershaw is obviously one of the best pitchers in baseball ‑‑

ADRIAN GONZALEZ:  Not one of the best. The best.

Q. Got it. Wacha has had a good postseason. How would you guys assess that match‑up, and what kind of adjustments do you plan to making facing him?

ADRIAN GONZALEZ:  From an offensive standpoint, he's a guy I never faced before Game 2; and he's a great pitcher. He's got great stuff, great changeup, great fastball. But now that we've faced him and we can have an idea how he's going to attack us, we can make our adjustments and feel more confident definitely seeing him a second time.

With Kershaw, we're fully comfortable he's going to do the same job he did in Game 2. All we have to do is score for him.