October 12, 2002
SAN FRANCISO, CALIFORNIA: Game Three
Q. Mike, just talk about the situation you entered today and how the team felt about it and responded to it.
MIKE MATHENY: Well, it was obviously not the situation we wanted to be in. We didn't anticipate leaving St. Louis down two. But we came in here and we knew that we had to turn it around in a hurry. We've been able to really get our focus on each game, game-to-game and day-to-day. Kind of microfocus everything, down to each pitch and I think that's what guys did today. They realized that what's happened is behind us and all we control is what we do today and go out and play good baseball and take our chances with that.
Q. Would you talk about your ability to go through the first two innings, only giving up one run. It looked so uncharacteristic of you guys.
MIKE MATHENY: Well, we were not playing with the best defense that we can play. What I attribute to having only one run is a good veteran pitcher. Finley did a good job of keeping his composure and giving us a chance because it could really have gotten ugly there. He made the pitches that he needed to and -- I think he has a lot of confidence that the guys back there are going to make the plays for him more often than not. Once we got some of the kinks worked out, we had a chance to score some runs and let Chuck do his thing.
Q. What makes your bullpen so effective, by and large?
MIKE MATHENY: These guys have done a great job all season, having far as I know, got the notoriety and the publicity that they deserve. They have done a huge job of all having different roles, some guys stepping in for closers, some guys who have been relievers stepping in for starters. They have really done a great job of adapting to whatever role is given to them. Just another kind of -- look just like the rest of the team. They have been through a lot of adversity and taken it on their shoulders and carried us for part of the season.
Q. You only have three home runs this year. Were you thinking home run at all for your second at-bat?
MIKE MATHENY: I never think home run, obviously, with the three that I had this year, it was not a whole lot. I'm trying to put up good at-bats. This time of the year, I think if we go out there and really grind every pitch -- we've heard it said a couple of times, take every at-bat like it's your last one and grind it out. Either you're going to have a good at-bat and fight off some pitches and hopefully wear down their staff and get something to fall in. I was trying to do the same thing, have a good at-bat, trying to battle and take what he would give me.
Q. How important was Marrero's home run in the sixth after Bonds' home run to tie it?
MIKE MATHENY: He's had big hits for us all season long. It's good to see him step up right there. We needed somebody -- the momentum had shifted. A lot of air was let out of us with that pitch and you try not to let that happen. But when you lose a three-run lead on one swing, it's definitely a turn of the tide. He stepped up and did something that he's been doing all season long. It's been somebody different all season long. Guys have really taken advantage of their opportunities whenever they come, and we were real happy that it was Eli this time, or anybody.
Q. After three games, what's your feeling about Bonds discipline at home plate? How hard is it to pitch him?
MIKE MATHENY: Obviously, the numbers will speak for themselves. We have known for years that he is disciplined in the zone. He's dangerous when you bring it in to where he's looking. That was a big -- a big hit today, obviously. We give him all of the respect in the world because he's done everything to deserve it. But we've also made some good pitches this series and been able to get him out at times. Hopefully we can stay one step ahead and continue to pitch him tough.
Q. What do you expect from Livan Hernandez tomorrow and your approach against him?
MIKE MATHENY: He's a pitcher. He's smart. He knows how to use the plate, how to use his offspeed pitches. He's going to move it around. He's going to slow you down and speed you up. He's a guy that you just can't really expect to see patterns because he won't give them to you. Once again, I think the idea, what we were talking about before, is putting up tough-at-bats, going in there maybe not trying to do too much, take what he will give you, and try to string a couple of hits together here and there. Hopefully get a lead and give our pitching staff a little bit of breathing room.
Q. Can you just talk about your mind frame now offensively, compared to maybe at the start of August when you bottomed out?
MIKE MATHENY: Well, it's obviously a lot more fun contributing offensively. I try not to let my offense influence my whole game. I realize that what this team needs me to do is contribute defensively first and foremost. Anything at the plate offensively is just going to be a bonus, and that's been -- try to be my approach, is go out there and be consistent, and then try putting my work and prepare offensively, work with Mitch Page, watching film, and do as much studying as I can, then do my early work, batting practice and just trust it from there. Basically, it's just the normal roller coaster offensive year for me; sometimes things were going well and also struggled for a while, too. That's baseball, and I've learned to try to make the adjustments, not to make those down times last too long.
End of FastScriptsÃƒÂ¢Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã‚Â¦.