Does it make it tougher to score later when you fail in earlier opportunities?
“I don’t know about that. I’ve never been a major league hitter in that situation. But it sure makes it harder on our pitchers, where you feel like you can’t make a mistake or you’re up against it the whole game. And also, I think it adds confidence to the other pitcher, if he gets out of that jam he feels pretty good about himself. If we scored one or two or break the game open it may be a little different story where we don’t have to face Rodriguez, Clippard and Storen later on.”
Got big hits in stretches earlier in season, does that make it maddening now when the team repeatedly fails in those situations?
“Through the course of the long season you know you’re going to experience those things. I don’t know about the word maddening. You’ve seen the guys doing it, and I feel like those guys, those hitters, at any given time are going to be able to do that again. Really, I feel that positive and that confident about our hitters. They’re too good to be going through long stretches like this without scoring runs.”
Gets magnified more when go through it at this time of season?
“Of course it gets magnified. We’ve got three games left and you’re leading in the wild card by two games. I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t magnified.”
Both homers came with two outs…
“Two outs, two strikes, and I saw the replay on Cristhian’s pitch, it looked like he just missed a spot. Rossy was set up outside and the ball came back over the middle of the plate to a dangerous hitter. I’m not so sure that the [homer] off of Minor was a bad pitch. It was a pretty good pitch. Maybe a little bit too much of the plate, but it was a breaking ball down.”
On the mindset of the team, keeping them loose
“I think they’re fine. You hear them in the dugout, you see them in the clubhouse. The key is just go out and win a couple of ballgames and put a big number up in one of those innings where we have an opportunity to.”
On going down quietly in the late innings
“When you’re facing Rodriguez and Clippard and Storen, those swings get a little tougher. Those guys are pretty good. And Detwiler, we let him off the hook a couple of times and I think he gained some confidence on that.”
On Minor’s performance
“He gave us an opportunity, and Cristhian did the same thing. We had some opportunities early. If we capitalized, it might be a little different story. We had bases loaded, nobody out, top of the order, then second and third [with one out] and the top of the order and we couldn’t capitalize. That’s the way it goes sometimes. But I thought Minor did a terrific job, Cristhian, and it was also nice to get Medlen in there. He gave us a nice inning.”
“He did fine. It was nice to see him, with all his hard work and that setback he had earlier in the summer, come back out and pitch in a major league game this year.”
On the home run by Ramos
“I saw it on the replay, it was down and in. But I feel like when I throw my curveball and slider it’s right there in their bat plane. I don’t know why. Coming from the left side, I feel like they kind of see it a little bit.”
Did you want to stay in?
“I felt fine. I felt good. But it’s their decision. Obviously I respect that. Cristhian came in and did a good job, no doubt.”
On the homer, what he thought when it was hit
“As soon as he hits it, I knew it was going to be out or off the wall. You could tell he backspun it the whole way. It’s a close game, their guy’s throwing good, they’ve got a good bullpen – it’s just frustrating to see that.”
Feel any pressure with games running out and the offense not scoring runs?
“I mean, they’re could be a little bit of pressure. But all the pressure’s on St. Louis, because if they don’t win, they can’t get in. Even if we do lose, they have to win. So that’s how I look at it, and I think that’s how everybody else looks at it, too.”
On being downa few runs against a tough bullpen
“You’ve got Henry Rodriguez coming in throwing 101 in the seventh inning, and Clippard in the eighth, and Storen seems to be lights-out lately and has 43 saves. They’ve got a good bullpen and they came out and played well today.”
On the road trip
“We had our opportunities today, definitely. Bases loaded, no outs and second-and-third, one out. We just couldn’t get anything across. You just kind of put this one behind you. This was a very brutal loss for us, but we have to come back tomorrow. Can’t feel sorry for ourselves and expect to win tomorrow. So we’ve got to come in tomorrow with a positive attitude and try to take care of business.”
Can you just put it behind you that easily?
“No matter what, we’re still going to be in the lead for the wild card going into the last three games. So we’ve got to somehow put it behind us and come out and try to beat Cliff Lee tomorrow. Hopefully it clicks for us tomorrow and we get a good pitching performance like we had today and score more than zero.”
On Nats bullpen and team
“It’s a good team, and their bullpen is getting better and better. Mix in Rodriguez doing his thing and Clippard, and Storen’s been solid all year. We just couldn’t get anything going.”
On missed opportunities
“We had opportunities. Bourney hit that ball good in the fifth and Espinsosa made a good play. It’s a different ballgame if it finds a hole or anything.”
On bases-loaded, none-out situation
“Everybody knows in baseball when you have an opportunity to score runs, opportunities like that, that you need to get those runs in. More than likely it’s going to come back to haunt you if you don’t. But it’s not an easy thing to do. They’re bearing down, we’re bearing down, and you’re not going to get the job done every single time. But right now, these next three games, we’ve got to get it done.”
More on missed opportunities
“We’ve kind of struggled as a team all year – me especially – with runners at third and less than two out. It’s just … we’ve got to make the adjustment. I guess since it’s crunch time there’s a little bit of added pressure there. But this is what we do, that’s that the game of baseball. There’s pressure every day in this game. Bottom line, worst-case scenario we’re still a game up with three games to go. Get back home, strap it on with Philly and leave everything out on the field, see what happens.”
On his performance after missing 13 months recovering from elbow surgery
“Felt good. I floated to the mound from the bullpen. Obviously it’s bittersweet. I’d much rather go in and get a scoreless inning up 10-0 than down three runs. But from a personal level I can’t be happier, from the amount of work I put in and all that.”
“I was more nervous for the first Instructional League outing that this one. I didn’t feel anything really. I was zoned in.”
“Talking to Huddy, he had the same thing and said it just takes a little bit longer to get loose. It took me a little bit to get loose, but once I got loose, you don’t feel anything.”