manager FREDI GONZALEZ
“I tell you what, from D-Lowe all the way to Craig at the end, we had a lot of good things happen. Defensively, Gonzalez a couple of nice plays.
“D-Lowe had that sinker going good and even the base hits he gave up were choppers or balls through the infield. That’s a nice sign to see from a sinkerball pitcher.”
On Chipper Jones’ double:
“That’s was good baserunning. That’s the kind of stuff we like to see. He goes out there at age 38 – he’s probably feeling pretty good opening day – he got a double, then a base hit from the right side. I hope that keeps up for a while.”
On Jason Heyward homering for the second consecutive Opening Day:
“Maybe we need to trick him on Saturday, tell him it’s Opening Day again. He hit that ball a ton. The very next inning, I thought Ankiel got his, and he made it the the warning track. It tells you how strong this guy Heyward is
On rookie 1B Freeman’s scoops:
“That’s not surprising. We saw that in spring training. His reports from the coaches that had him in the minor leagues were, this guy can do some things around the bag.”
On Moylan’s big strikeout against Laynce Nix:
“They pinch-hit Nix there when we brought in Moylan, and he used that changeup pretty good. If he can do that – and we encourage him to do that more often – there’s no reason why he can’t face both sides. We know how tough he is to the right-handed hitters, but if he starts doing that to the lefties – wow.”
On using Kimbrel clean inning, not Venters to face LaRoche first AB in 9th:
“We talked about that, and I said, we could be Johnny Manager here and left Venters face LaRoche. Roger goes, you know what, let’s just bring him in for a clean inning. If he’s got a mess, let’s let him get in own mess. In a perfect world, Venters gets him out. But if not, a base hit, now we’ve got to bring Kimbrel in with a runner on.”
On first win as Braves manager: “Obviously you want to win the ballgames, but it doesn’t feel any different. A win’s a win. I’m wearing this uniform and wearing it hopefully for a long time time and we get a lot of wins.”
On the cold: “I didn’t feel nothing, to tell you the truth.”
On Heyward: “Hasn’t even turned 22 yet. If he keeps doing what he’s doing, or just staying on the field, being healthy and having a good year instead of having something nagging, this guy can put up some big numbers.”
“This was the calmest I’ve been on any opening day. I really felt like I didn’t have to worry about mechanics, which is always my downfall. I felt very confident in the spring I had, and the way it ended last year. Hopefully I can have more months like September this year, and not wait till the last [month].
“I know there’s going to be bumps in the road, but I feel like this year I’ll be able to regroup faster.”
“We know we’re a good team and we’ve got a long way to go.”
On throwing 59 strikes in 105 pitches:
“It was a lot of pitches. I was kidding Roger – it felt like there were times out there I was just playing catch by myself; nobody was swinging. In that way it was an interesting game, but all in all, we’ll take it.”
“We got those two early runs and was able to not be in a lot of trouble, which is great for your first start. The first two innings there were guys on base and we were able to get through that.
On winning again on opening day:
“Just happy with it. The buildup in the last couple of weeks, you start really looking forward to it. I’ve always tried to get off to maybe too good a start. I felt more confident this year than I’ve felt in many years, so it was good to go out there and see the right things happen.”
“I’d faced these guys twice in the month of September. I think maybe that’s why there was a lot of trying to figure each other out. I didn’t want to pitch the same exact way that I did last time, because with technology you can kind of figure it out [patterns through watching video]. So it was kind of a cat-and-mouse game; that’s probably why I threw such a high number of pitches in a short amount of time.”
On Heyward’s homer and how hard he had to hit it to get it out Thursday: “People don’t understand, I probably should have given up two home runs, on a normal day. The one LaRoche hit, for sure, was a home run, and Ankiel the same way. Those were two balls that probably later in the year are home runs. Just kind of thankful that it was 40 and drizzling rain.”
“We kind of know his power. He’s a special player.”
On the ‘pen:
“Our bullpen is going to be some kind of good all year long. We have every type of situation covered out there, and we’ll be very happy to turn the ball over to whoever they bring in in the late innings.”
On winning for Fredi: “You know he’s excited to kind of fill in for a legend, and to give him his first win, it’s nice.”
“It felt real good. I was still nervous – I’m going to be nervous every time I go out there. Nervous and excited.
“Hopefully this season me and Jonny are going to have a lot of opportunities to do that, because if we’re put in those situations that means we’re winning a lot of ballgames.”
Being used back-to-back with Jonny Venters: “Whatever order it’s in, that’s going to be good.”
“Awesome game. Everybody did their part today, and that’s why we got a W.”
Did he even feel the cold with all his adrenaline:
“It was cold. When I got back in here I had to take my shoes off so I could let my toes thaw out.”
**** CHIPPER JONES
Were you going to try to stretch it for double all way?
“Yeah, just for the simple fact that he had to go to his left towards the line, and it was wet. I felt that if I rounded first before he got to the ball, it was going to be a tough play for him. I was busting it out of the box. I didn’t necessarily want to slide, but I had to. And Mac got the hit right after that. We had the 1-nothing lead and J-Hey tomahawked one.”
“Can’t say enough about our defense today. It was outstanding.”
On Heyward’s homers on first two Opening Days
“Yeah, I saw that he was one of two players in major league history to do that. That’s surprising. And the other was Kaz Matsui; it’s really surprising that he did it. I can see J-Hey doing it, but Kaz Matsui? Come on.”
On the Braves’ pitching:
“You want to stay away from long innings out in the field, and we did that. I don’t think we had an opposing first hitter get on base all game. And you’re going to win a lot of ballgames when you keep the leadoff guy off base.
“And when we did get in trouble, D-Lowe made a big pitch or somebody made a big play to get out of it.”
On Livan settling down after giving up two runs early:
“I was commenting to Uggs in BP, it’s these kind of conditions where whoever gets out in the lead after five or six innings usually has the upper hand, because it gets harder and harder to hit as you get colder and colder. You stand out there long enough and it’s hard to come up and try to time 90, 95 miles an hour.
“Our guys were awesome coming out of the bullpen. Everybody was outstanding.”
On winning in Fredi’s first game
“He’s 1-0. He’s undefeated as a Braves manager. It was good to that first one out of the way for him, for us, and for the fans of Atlanta.”
On Fredi replacing Bobby, how’d it feel in dugout:
“I didn’t think about it one pitch of one inning the entire day. When you’re out there between the lines – nothing beats the adrenaline of opening day. You’re so focused and so locked in, trying to get the season off to a good start for you personally, for the team, and quite honestly, even when he came out to make pitching changes, I never thought of it.”
On big defensive plays being as big as a key hit
“I feel like it is. It’s a tough situation. If I don’t pick that up [bounced throw from Gonzalez], all of a sudden you’ve got a bloop and it’s first and third. You can change a ballgame. That’s why I work so hard at it, because it wins ballgames.”
On his first game as new starting 1B:
“I wasn’t nervous at all. It was weird, it felt like it was just another ballgame. I think that month last year really helped me out for this situation today.
“I had a lot of fun, especially getting that first win.”
On his pal Jason Heyward’’s homer:
“That’s two years in a row, first at-bat. I guess we’ve got to keep that going next year.”
What did you say to him afterward in dugout?
“I was just happy for him. It was pretty impressive to see from the side angle. He hit that ball hard. He had to get it out today.”
On Lowe: “When you have sinkers and sliders going – he was throwing sliders 3-2, 3-1. He just had some much command today, and with the defense we had behind him today, with that kind of pitching, those sinkers, there’s a lot of ground balls and we caught them all.”
On his first opening day:
“I took everything in, from waking up and coming to the ballpark, seeing my name on the lineup, that’s special. For us to get a win, that makes it even more special.”
On ending the revolving door of Braves first basemen
“That’s my goal. I’m going to work hard and hopefully I can stay here.”
Do it for a few years?
“Hopefully many more than that.”
On hitting another opening day homer, just a fluke?
“It’s only been two, so it’s not a bad way to start.”
“What, [only] two guys [have done it]? That’s pretty cool.”
On homering to help get a lead and help Fredi win first game:
“We just wanted to help Fredi win his first game, it didn’t matter how we did it. Whether we won it in the last inning or jumped out early, it’s just great to help him win his first game. I congratulated him.”
Did you know it was gone?
“Mine was more of a line drive. I didn’t think it was going [as it came] off the bat.”
“It’s awesome to get out to an early lead, give D-Lowe some breathing room against this new lineup the Nationals have. I really didn’t feel safe the whole game. Just happy to get through it and glad our pitchers held them.”
On the homer pitch:
“Cutter. He got it up. The last homer I got off Livan, I think he did the same thing. He just got a pitch up. I was fortunate to get a mistake.”
“You go up there with a plan. You want to see something good to hit and try and jump on the first good pitch you get from Livan, because he’s able to make so many close pitches.”
You think about it being first at-bat homer again on opening day as rounding bases?
“This time, yeah. It’s evident right away. It’s first game, it’s freezing out there and your mind’s going a few more places than it normally would.”
“It’s huge to be up 2-0, and great to get ahead with that lineup they had today.”