(BaseballStL) — The World Series is the kind of stage that can cause even the most seasoned veteran to tighten up. Carlos Beltran said before the NLDS that he still gets butterflies before big games, and he’s seen just about everything baseball can show a player.
The bright lights of the game’s biggest stage can make anyone wilt- even managers. Because of this, Mike Matheny practices the philosophy he has preached to his players all season long.
“I think guys who have been able to be here and have had success at this level, you talk to them about what consistently was their approach, and you find out that to be able to put those things aside is really the key and to just play the game. There shouldn't be more weight,” he said. Despite the big stage, the Cardinal manager said Saturday it hasn’t been harder to keep himself on an even keel.
“When things start creeping into your head about the weight of the situation, it's usually a distraction that's going to take you away from being as effective as you can,” he said. “So that's why we've tried to be so consistent with our approach.”
While Matheny stressed the need to stay even with his club and how he makes his decisions, he did admit the last series of the year is important enough convention, especially with pitching moves.
“You only have so many opportunities to make something happen here. To us it's a case‑by‑case situation. We watch our starting pitching and see, is this our best opportunity to leave them in right now? And same way with our relievers,” he said. “I don't think there's a game plan that we map out ahead of time regardless of how they're throwing. If they're throwing the ball well, we'll stick with them.”
The former catcher has already shown trust in his instincts this series, leaving Carlos Martinez in for two innings in Game 2, and not making a switch to a lefty to face David Ortiz. After the game, Matheny said he felt Martinez was locked in, and gave the Cardinals the best chance to win.
It’s something he may well do again, given his confidence in the skill and endurance of his young relievers.
“I think we have multiple pitchers that can throw multiple innings. Right now, these guys can all‑‑ they've had enough rest, they're all able to do whatever we need them to do,” he said.