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October 7, 2019

Mike Shildt

St. Louis, Missouri - postgame 4

Cardinals - 5, Braves - 4 (10)

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Mike Shildt.

Q. You think they should start working on the Yadi Molina statue at this point? What do you think?
MIKE SHILDT: Listen, for me that's always a post-career deal, but that's what makes them so special -- great player, all phases. Did it behind the plate today. Helped navigate the relievers through it. Did a nice job with Dak, who I thought did a nice job as well. But that's what makes you an elite, special player, that's what he is.

Q. You have been the one who's believed in this team all season no matter what. Can you describe the reaction right now and your feelings towards forcing this Game 5?
MIKE SHILDT: Talked about this, believing in individuals and teams only gets tested when things are a little bit -- aren't going your way. And, so, the easiest thing in the world is to punt on somebody.

And sometimes it's necessary in competition if a guy just doesn't feel or look right, but not necessary when you have guys that you believe in that you know their work is taking place in the right manner, their head's in the right spot, you know they've got a process for what they're doing and how they're doing it.

And you know -- if you know that's going to happen then you know the tide can turn. And we had two great examples of that today. We had a couple of multiple, really, but the two that come to mind are Kolten, who didn't have his better at-bats early in the game but stayed with the process of what he was trying to do and looked to get better as the game went and rewarded himself and us to lead off the tenth -- and Carlos.

Q. Marcell seems to really like playing in the postseason. How happy are you for him that he's having this success, and did you always know he could be a player like this on the big stage?
MIKE SHILDT: Super happy for him, all the guys. I just appreciate -- no, I'm not the least bit surprised. From the first day he got here and the process that's taken place leading up to now he gets hungrier and hungrier the last couple of years to want to sincerely be in this position.

What I appreciate about him and a lot of our guys, pretty much all of them, is just the fact that he's embracing it and enjoying it and letting the game come to him and playing.

And I'm super happy for him. Obviously a big couple home runs and some really good at-bats. Played well defensively as well.

Q. I think you mentioned earlier this morning that you wanted to see where Carlos' head was at. Did you have a conversation with him pregame, and then is that, did that influence using him?
MIKE SHILDT: I did. I caught up with him in the food room. I've known Carlos for a while now. I Knew him a little bit before I got him in 2012 in extended spring training, but got to know him in 2012. So you're going on a seven-year relationship with Carlos.

And the one thing that I sincerely appreciate about Carlos is his competitive spirit. And you just know he's got the verve to handle these type of situations, but what I did want to make sure of is that his head was in a good space and that he was properly going to focus on executing his pitches.

So we spoke this morning, and it was a beautiful response. I won't get into great detail. But he's got that cornerback mentality, you know? And it was almost like, what do you mean; I'm good; ready to go.

Like I said, we had a very brief conversation. I looked at him in the eye. I've known him. And it really speaks to the fact that Acuña, I love the way the ball was coming out, candidly, to the point earlier about just not having blind faith in people.

We had Miles playing some catch when he went out because the starter needs to take a little more time.

So there was a contingency plan if it didn't look right. But right in the first at-bat to Acuña, I was like, it's coming out nice. I liked the way it was coming out, the way his body was moving, I liked the action on the pitch, liked the crispness and the lateness.

And he kind of hooked the ball, got down the line. At that point you're like, oh, boy, just because you're in a tough situation, runner at second, nobody out. We just watched him and he went -- he kind of went here. When Carlos is there, you go, okay, we can ride with that.

But that's the trait that makes Carlos special. If you know you're getting that trait then you go and you let him compete. And to his credit, he got it done.

Q. I think it was back in the beginning of September when Dakota Hudson said that Yadi smells playoffs. Could you see that from him from the beginning of spring training even to right now to him pushing the team?
MIKE SHILDT: I've noticed that from afar. I noticed that when I first got in the organization and not having that opportunity, rightfully so, to be at this level.

But I started in '04 in this organization. Yadi's first year. And clearly was watching the playoffs. I just always appreciated how he competes and how he plays. And then you watch -- and Tony told me this, I didn't necessarily need it, but the confirmation of just how special he is -- and I won't share the specific quote or comments. But he's, like, man, he only swells up when it matters the most.

And what a special trait with Carlos as well. But he does smell -- it's what this guy lives for, you know? This is exactly what Yadier Molina lives for, this is what he trains for.

Clearly he's going to have a lot of personal accomplishments, rightfully so. I'm sure they mean something to him. Yadier Molina is about winning and winning championships, period. Special.

Q. Just a little more on Yadi. His style kind of stands out a little bit in the game now. You see all-or-nothing-type guys; he's a contact hitter. And he's built for those exact two situations that we saw, I would think.
MIKE SHILDT: That's a great point. It really is. It is. That's why I love hitting him fifth. We hit him a little bit second last year. Fifth or sixth, I think it's a great spot for him, because there's so many different situations that come into play in that spot in the order.

And to your point, if he needs to just put a ball in right field, he can do it. If he needs to work on getting the ball in the air, he can do it.

I mean, I literally saw him -- we had a first-and-third situation -- and still I'll tell people when I'm 80 and drooling, but hopefully not -- but the most impressive thing I've ever seen almost on the field, a couple of them are by Yadi. But this one in particular was amazing to me.

We had first and third, and went to hit and run, one out. Similar to tonight. And we hit and run. Big-time ground ball guy. And the runner at first missed the sign. So he doesn't run. So Yadi, as the ball's coming, Major League pitcher, recognizes that the guy -- and he starts to kind of make sure he's getting on top. Guy doesn't run. Mid-flight, changes his approach and hits a fly ball in the middle of the pitch. It takes four-hundredths of a second to get home, and that was the game.

After the game, I was, like, did you really change your swing? He goes, yeah, the guy wasn't running so I need to get a ball in the air for a sac fly. He's a pretty amazing individual.

Q. [Inaudible]?
MIKE SHILDT: It was the middle of the season this year.


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