“He struck out the side in the third inning and everything looked perfect. He got behind a few hitters and left his breaking ball up. He had a great breaking ball at times and a bad one, at times.”
Any mechanical issues?
“No, his mechanics are exactly like they’ve always been. Nothing new there. He could have had better luck in the one inning where they scored five. He gave up a little single to Damon. We thought we had Cabrera struck out twice, and that changes the whole inning. You know, instead of getting one they end up with five. So… But Tommy can pitch a whole lot better than he did, that’s for sure.”
No health problems? “No, [he's] 100 percent. Kind of like Verlander’s last start [Verlander's start: 2 innings, 5 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks]. He [Verlander] wasn’t exactly lights-out today, either. But he’s good.”
On the back-to-back day games in heat: “That didn’t have anything to do with losing the game, no. It’s hot. May as well get used to it, because it’s going to get hotter.”
On facing Strasburg Monday: “I’m anxious to see him. I’ve seen him on TV. He’s been dynamite. He’s been very good.”
On close calls in fourth inning: “Yeah, there was a couple of close ones. The first three innings felt pretty good. The third inning felt really good. Going back out in the fourth was really frustrating. It was not the way I wanted it to go, for sure.”
Physically OK? “Yeah, I felt good. I’ve been working on some things with my slider and felt like it was a lot better today. But they put the bat on it. I felt like I made some pitches when I had to, and they got some hits when they needed to. That fourth was a rough one.”
How surprised are you to have back-to-back starts like that?
“It’s pretty frustrating, to be honest with you. The last start in Chicago and then today. I don’t think I’ve ever had two starts like this back-to-back, where I’ve struggled like this. It’s definitely not fun. It’s not a good feeling. Today would have been a perfect day to go out and sweep a good team like the Tigers.
“I’m just really frustrated right now. At the same time, I’m not too low. I know I can go out there and pitch. I know I can go out there and do well. I’m just going to keep working hard, just see what I did wrong and try to make those adjustments.”
“I felt really good in the third. I felt like I was hitting my spots pretty well and had a real good inning. Then I go out in the fourth and, you know, some borderline pitches here and there, miss some spots, walk a guy, give up a hit, everything just kind of – the wheels kind of came off right there.
“It’s just frustrating. To not be able to get out of the inning was probably the most frustrating thing. Going from one inning to the next, it was a really good inning and then an awful inning.”
Physically OK, no health issues? “I feel fine. Everything feels OK.”
On facing Strasburg “To be honest with you, it’s another game, another pitcher. I know he’s got good stuff. He has shown that he’s one of the best pitchers right now in the National League, but we just have to come the same way, play hard and go 100 percent.”
“That’s a challenge. You’re going to see a lot of young guys with amazing stuff. But it’s the same game, and for me I just feel like we’re going to come and battle.”
On Braves’ interleague performance: “I’m really happy with the way we played against American League teams. Everybody thinks they’re tougher, but to me they’ve just got another hitter [in the lineup], that’s the only difference. The way we played against American league teams, we showed we’ve got confidence in our team and our ability to have have some success late in the season.”
On Hanson: “It happens. I think he lost a little bit of his confidence in his last two games. But I don’t have any doubts about his ability and his stuff. He’s one of the best young pitchers we have. He’s going to be fine.”
More on Strasburg: “I mean, everybody’s talking about it. I’m just going to come to the field and do what I do.”
Surprised by Hanson’s back-to-back starts?
“Yeah, a little bit. I don’t know what’s going on. He must be really struggling with his mechanics, release point, whatever. But it’s up to him and Rog to get it ironed out. We can’t string out the bullpen and get them tired. We need him to go 6,7,8 innings. Hopefully his worst starts are behind him and we’ll see the Tommy of last year.”
On facing Strasburg, seen him enough on TV to get good idea what he’s got?
“Yeah, pretty much. We’ll come in and watch our film. Everybody in America has scouted him, as much as he’s been on TV. But they’re a team that’s struggling right now. Hopefully we can get his pitch count up and get into the bullpen early. Obviously scoring early is important. Hasn’t been a lot of people scoring off of him, but that’s because they’re not familiar with him and he’s got great stuff. [laughs]
“So, we’ll just treat it like any other game.”