On leaving Minor in after giving up two and then three consecutive homers
“It’s a teaching moment, a good moment for him to go back out there. He only gave up four solo home runs. I thought the kid pitched OK. It was a good chance for him to go back out there and hang around. We keep talking to our pitchers about just hang around, give yourself a chance to win a ballgame.
“I thought he did better in that fifth and sixth inning. His breaking ball started to have more depth to it. Hopefully he carries this on to his next start and keeps getting better and learns from it.”
“It could have been the ballpark. [But] we didn’t hit. It was a weird game. I think all the runs were on solo home runs. The old adage is that solo home runs don’t beat you. But we didn’t hit. We didn’t give him an opportunity. But I saw something in Mike today. I saw some growth in him.”
On the homers, which have plagued him for a while now; can you even judge those in this park?
“Well, I think one may have been a legit home run in a bigger ballpark. Maybe the other ones are off the wall. But it’s there for both teams. We gave up three more than they did.”
You beat Shields and Price in Tampa, come here and do nothing against guy with an 8 ERA at this ballpark
“This game is crazy. It really is crazy. The only thing, you go out tomorrow and we’ve got Beach going for us, and hopefully we get our bats going again.”
Did the ballpark have anything to do with some of the homers?
“I don’t think it was the ballpark. The pitches were up. All of them were up. It’s just what they did, home runs. If I’d get the ball down those balls aren’t hit as well. But they are good hitters, and they did what they’re supposed to do.”
Take any positive from coming back and pitching well in 2 innings after 3-homer 4th?
“I don’t think I allowed another baserunner after that, so I can take that, and I can also take that they were all solo shots. It was four runs instead of six or more. Just got to take it one day at a time and try to get better.”
The home runs have really hurt you lately
“Yeah, I’m a four-seam pitcher. Even my outs are pop-ups, a lot of them. That’s just what happens if good hitters come through a lineup like that and they know I’m going to give them fastballs. And they were sitting on my best pitch, which is the changeup, which tonight wasn’t very good. That’s what three out of the four home runs were [on].”
On getting out of bases-loaded jam with Votto flyball
“I didn’t really feel pressure with the bases loaded and Votto up because I feel like I’ve been in that situation four or five starts in a row. I’m kind of, I wouldn’t say getting used to it, but it’s easier to handle, something I’ve been working on throughout the week. Just buckling down and if he does get a hit there hopefully it’s only one run and I take that as a positive.”
More on problem with the changeup
“Early in the game it was a flatter pitch that didn’t have a whole lot of depth, just on one plane and only had side-to-side movement. So it’s a lot easier for a hitter to keep their bat in the zone and hit it solid.”
And that’s a pitch you throw a lot when ahead of counts, situations where most of the homers were hit tonight
“In that situation it should have been a lot further out of the zone, or on the corner black. A lot of those, all of them were up pretty much. Except the first one to Stubbs, who kind of reached for it and got it.”
On being within one strike of getting out of inning, 1-2 count to Leake with 2 outs
“Yeah, all that happened with two outs. I knew Leake was a good hitter. I’ve known him since college, and I knew he hit in college, too. So it wasn’t like I was taking him lightly. Obviously I was throwing him off-speed pitches, and usually you throw a pitcher a lot of fastballs. I was throwing him inside fastballs, changeups … he knew that was my best pitch, too. His first AB, the first pitch was a changeup and he came around on it but still got on base and hit it well. It just shows you how good a hitter he is.”
Offensive struggles it more about Mike Leake tonight, or Braves hitters?
“It was both. He made good pitches. We only got two hits, so he was pretty much on. Those guys right there, when they have good stuff and they’re up here but they’ve struggled, those guys are dangerous, because his back’s up against the wall, so he’s bound to go out and do what he can do eventually.”
Beat Tampa Bay’s aces, couldn’t do anything vs. Leake
“That’s why it is a crazy game. We didn’t have it tonight.”
Even after the three homers, still a relatively close game
“It was only 4-1. We had time to come back. But he beared down and made pitches when he needed to.”