On Lowe’s performance
“It’s not what we want, obviously. I’m not going to mince any words. And I’m sure it’s not what he wanted, either. But it is what it is, now we’ve got one game to play in the month of September. Then October comes around and it’s a new month. There’s not a guy in that locker room that I wouldn’t want on my team to play that game.
“We’ve played 161 games with those guys, and I wouldn’t trade any of them [before] tomorrow.”
How to explain the offense, another bad hitting performance
“I don’t know. We had some chances against Oswalt. He turned a double play on us.
“When you don’t pitch, you kind of look the way we did tonight. Yet we’ve got one game to win tomorrow, then a new month, and the guys we need to win tomorrow are out there. I believe in all those guys, and we’ll get it done.”
Time to lean on veterans?
“We’ll lean on everybody.”
Cumulative effect of last three weeks have an effect tomorrow?
“You can’t worry about that kind of stuff. It is what is is. We’ve played 161 games and it comes down to one. We’ve done it to ourselves and there’s not excuses there. And we’ve got to go tomorrow.”
On Alex Gonzalez calf injury, did he aggravate the same injury?
“I think maybe a little bit more than that, than aggravation. We’ll find out more tomorrow.”
How’d it happen this time?
“Just fielding his position. It wasn’t one specific play or one specific move that he did that aggravated it.”
“It looks doubtful for him tomorrow, but hopefully it’s not one of those things that’s a lingering thing.”
On Lowe, surprised he hasn’t turned it around late?
“Hitters go through slumps, pitchers go through slumps. I think maybe we’re getting one of those right now with D-Lowe. But you’ve got to have confidence in your players. You’ve got to have have confidence that they’re going to be able to turn it around.”
On team’s ongoing hitting malaise, can you explain it?
“I can’t. Clubs go through it early in the year, clubs go through it in the middle of the year. Unfortunately we’re going through it right now. Again, I really believe if we get through tomorrow, the month of September is over with and behind. It’s probably the worst month we’ve had. We start October and who knows what can happen.”
“We still have a chance. I’ve let everybody down in here. But come tomorrow, this isn’t about my terrible year, this is about getting this organizationt to the playoffs.”
On his struggles, his mechanical problems
“This is something that I have to hash out in the offseason. By no means am I sitting here saying this year is lost, or a wash. I’ve put myself in bad mechanical places for a long time. But I’ve never given up or quit. I’ve got to keep fighting and figure it out. I see what I’m doing, but there’s a difference in figuring it out and actually doing it when the game starts.”
“If you’re 9-17 with a 5 ERA, c’mon. I’m not going to sit here and say if I had a bounce here or a bounce there. I’m man enough to sit here and say I’ve had a terrible year. But again, we have a chance. We have our best pitcher going tomorrow. Who knows what’s going to happen tonight [in Cardinals-Astros game]. And again, this isn’t about me, this is about this organization. I know how much hard work these guys have put into the season.”
On whether he’s confident Braves could do something if they get to the postseaseon
“Without rehashing the story, I’ve been on teams that were down 3-0 and won seven in a row and won a World Series [2004 Red Sox], and I’ve been on a team that was down 2-nothing and won three in a row against the A’s in ’03. I’ve seena l lot this time of year. The bottom line is, you’ve got to find a way to get in. Clearly, you look at us and the Red Sox right now and we both … you know. But still, you’ve just got to get in.
“We’ve made it difficult. I’ve really made it difficult after tonight. But again, once you get in you never know. That’s the beauty of the playoffs. It’d be a shame if something happened and we didn’t get in. We’ve played too good for too long not to make it.”
On his mechanical problems, can he be more specific?
“Tree in a wind storm. You know, 6-6 pitching at 5-10. Makes everything kind of flat and hittable. Mechanically, it’s been pathetic…. This has been a s—ty year.”
So you’ve not been standing upright on the mound and getting a downward plane?
“Yeah, the ball is going sideways and it’s just … again, it’s something that can be fixed. I just… I don’t know. I don’t even know what to say.”
On the team’s slide
“It’s like we’re living out a bad dream. You really never expect this to happen to you but there are a lot of things that are contributing to it, whether it’s injuries, whether it’s just the bats falling silent at the most inopportune time of the season. It happens. It’s hard when you have a young team to keep it from snowballing. And discounting myself, it’s a pretty young team.”
On Fredi Gonzalez’s postgame message to team
“We’ve got one game left. If we had one game to win, having Huddy out there on the mound and our lineup, he wouldn’t have it any other way. And that’s reassuring as a player, to know that your manage has got your back. And we feel the same way. If we’ve got to win a game, I’d want Huddy on the mound. He’s a bulldog, he goes out and competes and we know we’re going to get his best effort tomorrow.”
On if best to forget all that’s happened or use as motivation?
“I can’t remember what happened yesterday to be honest with you. I think that’s the way you’ve got to be. You almost have to have that closer mentality, that cornerback that just got toasted mentality. That’s a good part about baseball. Play as many games as I have, they all start to blur together at some point. You start really flushing the bad ones as quickly as possible. I’m getting pretty good at it.”
On what about the team (if they can forget it quickly too)
“Can’t speak for the rest of the team. It’s up to you individually to get yourself ready, get yourself prepared for each and every game. As much as you try to help guys along, you have no way of crawling inside their head and making sure that they’re ready for the biggest game of their life. I think we all realize what’s at stake and everybody is going to be ready.”
On if knee is bothering him anymore than last night
“No. I had two good (at-bats) and two not so good ones. But again, it’s the same old same old whenever you’re talking about going out there and facing the Phillies staff. They bring good guy after good guy out there to the mound and they can make you look bad sometimes. What you try to do is make them look bad a couple times. It worked for me last night. I guess it didn’t work too good tonight.”
On understandable struggles vs. Lee, Oswalt, Vazquez, but what about Wang and Detwiler?
“Yeah but I can’t really disrespect those guys because they executed their pitches. I was out there 60 feet, six inches away from them and I’m getting backdoor sliders with two strikes on the black. We’ve run into a string of pitchers that have executed. Can we run into some guy that just doesn’t have it one night? Haven’t been too many of those lately. Flush it, come back to work tomorrow, hopefully it’s not our last.”
On if he could have imagined that they’d even be in this position
“It’s like we’re living out a bad dream. You really never expect this to happen to you but there are a lot of things that are contributing to it, whether it’s injuries, whether it’s just the bats falling silent at the most inopportune time of the season. It happens. It’s hard when you have a young team to keep it from snowballing. And discounting myself, it’s a pretty young team, from a position-player standpoint, and from a starting pitching standpoint now that we have three rookies in the starting rotation, and with three young guys down at the end of the bullpen.
“It’s hard to keep it from snowballing once the ball gets rolling downhill. A lot of people say that young guys need to struggle at some point early on in their career and persevere through it. It’ll make them a better player in the long run. They’ll learn from it. Man, it’s a tough pill to take right now but whatever the outcome may be, they’ll learn from it.”
On if this is a confident team, or a tense team
“You know what, I have to favor the confident side. You saw us before the game. We were loose. We were free and easy. The dugout was no different. We ran into Roy Oswalt. We didn’t pitch real well early in the game.”
On how knee held up
“It was OK. It wasn’t bad. They gave me some good stuff, before, during, they’re going to give me some after too.”
On the loss
“Of course it’s frustrating. You want to try to get it done as soon as possible, but it hadn’t happened for us like that. It’s just that monkey, it’s on our back tough. We’ve got to find a way to get it off and put a good game together. We’ll see what happens from there.”
“He got a real comfortable lead and after that he was attacking with fastballs, mixing in offspeed every now and then. When you get a lead like that, and you’ve got an ace like that on the mound? It’s hard to come back from. I’ve been behind him a lot (in Houston) and I’ve seen only give up one or two when he doesn’t even have run support, and when he gets run support like that, then he’s really lights out. His fastball had a little more giddy-up tonight to me, than it did the last time we faced him. He was at 94, 95 tonight. When he’s on like that, he’s not easy to hit.”
On how to rebound from four runs in last four games
“We’ve got to hit. There isn’t anything else you can do. Score. You’ve got to hit to get runs across. I just think we need that one game to break us open, make us release and just have a sigh of relief. We’ve only got one game left tomorrow; that’s it.”
On if imagined he’d be pulling so hard for the Astros at this point
“Nah, I hadn’t, but I am pulling for them. I ain’t going to lie. You don’t have a choice. We didn’t take care of ours tonight, so we’ve got to lean on them hopefully handling the Cardinals.”
On the “let’s go Houston” chant that broke out
“Yeah I heard it in center field. I was actually bobbing my head to it. I’m right with them. I can’t be against that.”
On if he’s communicated with former teammates
“Yesterday I did. We talked a little bit. That’s all I’ll say. I let them know.”
On if the Braves can really put what’s happened in the past
“Like I said, you’ve just got to have a game where you break out. Can’t last forever. You’ve got to break out sooner or later. We’ve just got to have that game where we relax. We’ve just got to play baseball. Chipper said it to us a couple weeks ago: just relax and play. There’s nothing else you can do about it. It’s not the end of the world, it’s baseball. It’s not easy, and we all want to win, we all feel the need to try to do what we want to do. We’ve just got to relax and play. The game will come to you.”
“Tomorrow is the most important game of the the season. We have to come out and try to win the game, take whatever situations present themselves.”
On guys trying to help break out of the team hitting slump
“Everybody feels like you want to put the team on your back. It’s not easy when a pitcher throws like he [Oswalt] did tonight, or Cliff [Lee] did last night.”