“He was really good. What’d he punch out, 10? He did a nice job. And we swung the bats. We got off to a nice, early lead and were able to preserve it. We were able to get Gearrin back in there again and also able to get Kimbrel some work, because if we hadn’t if would have been five days between outings.”
“Everything went perfect. Good end to a tough road trip. The first [four] games in L.A. didn’t go quite the way we wanted them to, then a nice three days in San Francisco and two out of three here. So it’s nice to go into an off day tomorrow and start the weekend at home.”
Win five out of six, feel like things are starting to click?
“Yeah, I think so. Offensively, we saw the bats start heating up and it’s always the dreaded off day. You start swinging the bats and here comes the off day. I think we should put in the manager’s off day – whenever we’re going bad, that’s when we could decide to have an off day. But it doesn’t work that way. But hopefully we can stay hot against St. Louis.”
On Chipper’s big hits early in each of last two games
“It’s nice to see. It seems like there’s a new milestone every day with him. He’s swinging the bat and staying healthy. We were worried early on about day games after night games, and he came in today and said, ‘I’m good. I’m good to play.’ So we put him in there.”
On Hanson’s last few starts
“He’s given us quality appearances. Hopefully that continues. Now everybody gets an extra day with the off day. We’ll push everybody back, hopefully get them nice and fresh.”
On McCann’s long double off right-center wall
“If Ross would have hit it, it would’ve been out.” (laughter) “No, everybody’s swinging the bats. We took the opportunity to score some early runs.”
Could Gearrin’s two appearances here merit some consideration for keeping him with big-league club?
“Yeah, we’ve got a long ride back to Atlanta and we’ve got to get together and talk about it. Because at the very least, he gives you a different look out of the bullpen. Gives you that little sidearm stuff, and he’s throwing strikes. I mean, we put him in a situation two nights ago, first major league appearance and it’s in an extra-inning game and go get ‘em in the ninth, and he did well.”
On him being even a little different than sidearmer Moylan, who’s eligible to return Sat. from bulging disc (but could require another week or more)
“Let’s not get the cart ahead of the horse with Peter. Right now as the bullpen stands, that’s a little different look down there. And we’ll see how Peter comes around.”
Any update on Moylan since few days ago?
“No, I’ve heard he’s doing his rehab stuff and hasn’t done any baseball activity, so we’ll see.”
On McDowell situation, can you say anything?
“No, I cannot say anything. We’re going to release a statement, and that’s as far as I can take it with that.”
“It felt good. Just one of those days where everything was working. I think, in talking wth Mac [Brian McCann], I just need to bring that mentality into every game and not take any pitches or any innings off.”
Did early lead help?
“It always helps getting a lead. You just want to go out there and be aggressive, and make them put the ball in play. Getting that lead always helps. It was just one of those days where I was getting outs with all four of my pitches, so I kept them off balance.”
“Your goal is always to not let them score. But when you do get a cushion like that it makes it a little bit easier and it’s not as stressful, you can throw some more strikes instead of getting 0-2 and throwing three in the dirt.”
What do you mean by “that attitude’?
“Just being aggressive, knowing I can make all my pitches and make them with conviction. I think from last year to this year, that’s the one thing I’m going to try to do when I go out there, every pitch – I’m going to try to make every pitch. That’s going to be my new thing…. Don’t take any pitches off. It sounds so easy, but it’s kind of hard when you’re out there, to do that.”
Hit your stride the past few starts?
“Yeah, ever since the Marlins game I’ve felt really good with all my pitches. My fastball and slider, I’m commanding those, and then I’m throwing a lot more changeups to keep them off my fastball, then throwing that curveball when I need to. I’m throwing all four of pitches and commanding them.”
Do you feel like in last couple of series the team has turned a corner?
“Yeah, I think right now we have a lot of confidence as a team. We’re throwing the ball really well, and swinging it well, too. I think this was a good road trip for us. Obvioiusly L.A., we wish had been better. But these last two series have been great, so hopefully we’ll go into this off day, get a short breather and come in hot this homestand.”
Didn’t want to hang around long with Mick [on the RBI chart]?
“No. I put him in the rearview mirror.” [laughs]
On coming through in the first two innings
“It was a big spot. We had ‘em on the ropes early. I didn’t even realize that Martin’s ball was an error; I thought it was a hit till later. Obviously that was a big play. It extended the inning and gave Jason, myself and Mac an opportunity to put the game out of reach.”
On what winning five out of six in last two series has done for team
“Lot of confidence. I said it earlier, that last game in L.A., even though we lost, kind of turned our season around. Because we battled for nine innings against a really tough pitcher, should have won the game, but kind of got that feeling back from last year, where we came from behind so many times to win. And we’ve been playing, with the exception of the first game here where we kind of played a stinker, the last six games we’ve played really well.”
Last six or seven games a better indication of this team than what came before?
“I like to hope so. I mean, that’s the kind of baseball we all expected to be playing, and people around baseball expected us to be playing. I think if we go out and play the way we have the last six ballgames, we’re going to be tough to beat.”
On pitching the last two nights
“It’s been awesome. J.J. was great last night, was able to give the bullpen a night off. Tommy was on top of it again today. The last two times out Tommy has thrown extremely well. Stayed on top of hitters with his fastball and able to use the whole repertoire once he’s ahead in the counts. That’s the kind of Tommy Hanson we need for 35 starts.”
On how it can take a few weeks for some teams to start clicking
“When you’ve got new pieces and you’re trying to feel each other out, it takes a little time. When Jason moved into the 2-hole, obviously the same as it did last year, we started scoring some more runs. And to be honest with you, it took some of the pressure off Nate, because he’s gone down to the 8-hole and swung the bat really well since he’s been down there.”
Will you call your dad to talk about passing Mickey Mantle?
‘He texted me last night and texted me today, so I don’t even have to. I grew up in the shadow of Mickey Mantle my whole youth. I could sense that he and mom were welling up last night when I tied him, so I can imagine what it was like today.”
“It’s gratifying. I look a the numbers as me just going out and doing my job. That’s how I always approached it. I never really thought about my place or anything like that. But when you grew up hearing about Mickey the way I did, with the reverence that I heard from my father, to pass him in career RBIs, that’s quite a feat.”
On his long double off the right-center wall, missed a homer but at least you got your first double
“Yeah, that’s all I’ve been wanting.” [sarcasm.]. “It took me 85 plate appearances. Everybody was getting on me for not having a double, so actually I was glad it didn’t go out of the yard. This is a big yard. You’ve got to hit it pretty good.”
On Chipper’s big hits early in past two games
“It’s been huge. To give us a lead, especially in this ballpark, with the guys that we’ve got who can pitch with a lead. Tommy was unbelievable today, hitting all his spots, mixing everything up. He was working down in the zone.”
On winning five of six
“It was nice to come back and play the last two series like we did. Any time you can have a winning record on a road trip going out west, you’ll take that anytime.”
“We’re a team that pitches. If we get good pitching, we’re going to win a lot of games. We’re a team that can really go out there and pitch, and swing the bat, too.”