“His last four starts or so have just been dominating. He’s striking out guys. That’s his 16th win today. [Short rest] didn’t affect him at all. He was fired up, and he could hit with that breaking ball anytime he wanted to.
“Our bullpen did another magnificent job, and Conrad again, back-to-back nights, the big blow.”
“And Rossy had a great day. Three doubles, caught a great game. It was a good ballgame for us, good start to the homestand. We need to keep winning.”
On this weekend’s series against Phillies, emotions of his last regular-season series, etc.
“Well, these games are so important, I’m going to put that on the back burner.”
On how the team responded after disappointing road trip
“It was a tough road trip for us, knowing we had to win a few. We played Philly tough, we just got beat. But they responded very well [against Florida].”
Overcoming yet another injury, to Prado
“Well, we started with a good bench, and that’s why we can do that. And we had a deep bullpen. A couple of guys were in Triple-A, Jonny and Kimbrel, that when guys went down they were here to replace them. It’s huge.”
“He was lights-out again today. He’s been really good.”
On drastic improvement in Lowe, was it just having that week off to rest elbow?
“I think Roger [made a big difference].”
On hitting a homer before 7th inning
“Diaz has been on me about that for a long time. I’ve been getting interviewed about it and things like that. I tell everybody, it’s not like I’m not trying to do anything [in the early innings]. And so I brought it right to Diaz’s attention after I hit that homer. I said, ‘That was before the seventh.’
“Hopefully there’s more to come like that.”
On sweeping the series
“It was huge. We had to do it. From here on out we’ve got to keep winning. We’ll have a nice off day tomorrow to rest up and spend some time with the families, and get ready for Philly coming in.”
It seems fitting it’s coming down to the last weekend against Phillies
“Before we went into Philly, when we still had a shot in the division, we said it’s going to come down to the last weekend. It still has, it’s just in a different way – we’ve got to win these games to get in the playoffs. It’s a crazy game. You play 162 games and it all comes down to these last ones. That’s why you play every one hard.”
“It’s fun to be pitching at your best at the right time. It’s what I’ve always enjoyed, this time of the year going out there and pitching in meaningful games this late in the season.
“We were able to get some early runs, which always helps.
“We’ve given ourselves a chance. We’ll sit back and enjoy tomorrow, see what happens out in San Diego, and then come in with the mindset that the Phillies are going to pitch everyone and the Phillies are going to play everyone [not rest regulars in the weekend series].
“I hope that people aren’t sitting around thinking the Phillies are going to kind of take it easy on us because they’re already in.”
“It was a great homestand. The starters went out there and in three games gave up three runs. That normally is going to give you a chance.”
What was the key to your turnaround, other than getting some time to rest elbow?
“The breaking ball over the last month has been kind of how I remember it being. It’s been pretty bad for a long time, and this is how it’s normally been [before that]. So it’s good to see that come into form at the right time.”
How does this start rank?
“All that stuff is stuff you look back at in the offseason and go, that was a good run. This was my last regular season start, but clearly you want to pitch like this in the postseason. People will remember that more than what you do in September.”
On it coming down to the last weekend
“You figured it would. We did what we had to do, play three strong games against Florida. Now enjoy tomorrow and come here Friday ready to go.”
On short rest, how’s the elbow?
“Everything’s great. Up until two months ago I’ve always had a resilient arm, and found that those extra days here and there never really affected me. And today was the same.”
On team overcoming adversity, the Prado injury being latest
“The [Prado] injury, if that happens in the middle of the year, there’s maybe a little more panic. But when you have four games to go, you don’t have time to sit back and worry about who’s not playing.
“Guys just … we have to play who’s healthy. Clearly no one wanted to see him go down. But during the regular season you say, this guy’s going to be down for 15 games, we have to have someone fill in.
“But not with three games to go.”
Where did that recent slider come from?
“I flew to L.A. and picked it up. This is how my breaking ball has been almost till I came here. We’ve talked many times, back-door breaking balls to left-handers is a pitch I’ve always been able to throw. But I haven’t had much success with it for a long time.
“The confidence definitely helps. I give Roger a lot of credit for the different gameplans we’ve been able to come up with against different teams. This is another team that’s given me fits all year long. I kind of pitched differently against them than I have been.
“If you look at how I pitched, I still throw sinkers but it’s not one after another. It’s pretty much, you throw it enough to let them know you’re still going to throw it, but you use the other pitchers in your arsenal to get more outs.”
“It’s nice to contribute to a win. You sit on the bench for a couple of weeks and you’re champing at the bit, there’s nothing you can do when you’re not playing. To get in there and to actually have a little bit of success and help t he team win, was really fulfilling for me.”
“Oh, man. That’s what big players do. That’s why they pay him the big bucks, really, because he’s a big-time pitcher and he’s been in these situations before.
“Since that Washington game, he’s been lights-out. His stuff right now is really good, really sharp. He’s been our horse down the stretch here.”
Hudson and him responded on short rest
“Whew. Really responded. It was nice to get this win before tomorrow’s off day. Just sit back and see what happens.
“I think everybody was excited about this win. With B-Mac out of there and our lineup a little different, we found a way to win. Can’t say enough about Brooks Conrad, what he’s brought to our team all year.”
Do you feel like you’re almost there?
“We’re not a team that can put it in cruise control or sit back and be like, we’re right there. If we let up at all, we’re not very good. So as long as we keep pushing and keep working hard and grinding out at-bats and doing all the little things, we’re going to be fine. Because our pitching staff’s really stepped up for us.”