On Minor running into a wall again in middle innings
“We’ve got to somehow, some way, get over the hump there. That’s, you know, I keep saying the ‘young pitcher’ phrase…. We’ve got to get him over the hump somehow, whether it’s just keep running him out there, let him learn in those situations, but we’ve got to get through those innings. He walks two and all of a sudden they put a big number up. We’ve got to get, somehow – and we will, because the young man is a pretty talented and pretty competitive guy – get him through those situations.”
So that’s the plan, to keep him up here in majors doing this, for right now?
“Yes, there’s no other place where he can get these situations in the minor leagues. So we keep running him out there.”
Your guys kept scoring runs, kept coming back, kept giving them up
“I think in the last six innings we’ve scored runs, we haven’t had a shutdown [in the opponents’ next time up]. Five of their home half they’ve scored right back at us. And that’s just tough to do, to keep doing that. These guys are second or third in their league in hitting and scoring runs, so it’s a good offensive team. But we’ve got to take it upon ourselves as a pitching staff to bear down and get a shutdown inning.”
“He’s getting better, and the thing you see is the aggressiveness at the plate. He’s getting into hitter’s counts and ready to swing the bat.”
Do you have to make any changes in the rotation?
“You know what, it’s 10 minutes after the ballgame…. But for us to be consistent we’ve got to have starting pitching. We’ve got to go two and three times through the rotation and have good outings. We can’t go time and half and all of a sudden have two starters or one starter give you three innings, that kind of stuff. I don’t know if that answered your question, we need to roll through the rotation two or three times with good outings.”
On getting beat by fill-in starter Dennis Cook
“Cook wiggled out of some situations, and we couldn’t wiggle out of ours. And they beat us.”
On Red Sox scoring three unearned runs after Simmons’ error in fifth
“As a pitching staff we’ve got to cover that up. Nobody goes out there without making errors or a mistake, a bloop single…. As we go forward with these guys, we’re going to have to cover that up with these guys.”
Could Medlen step into the rotation now if you want him to, still stretched out enough right?
“He’s just what, seven or eight days removed from his last start? But we’re [not going to be publicly] talking about rotation options, again, this is 20 minutes after the ballgame.”
On his performance
“Basically what it boils down to is, I couldn’t throw a fastball for a strike on the inner half today. And I left a lot of them up on the outer half, too.
“The other games I was controlling my off-speed and throwing a lot of fastballs early on, and then today just, the whole game pretty much it wasn’t there. Even though I was putting up zeroes on the board early on, it still was a little shaky.”
Any explanation for all the homers you’ve given up?
“I would say I’m a four-seam pitcher. Everything’s straight unless it’s off-speed. It’s kind of weird, because all the home runs have been off-speed – either change-ups, curveballs, slider. But they’ve all been over the plate and up. So when you don’t show a lot of guys sink and moving it in and out, then it’s a lot easier for them to track the ball and get comfortable in the box.”
Is it a matter of figuring out how to handle guys the second or third time through the order?
“I think maybe that’s it, they’ve seen a couple of pitches, or they’ve seen all of them if they can go back and ask guys, ‘What’s his slider doing?’ and ‘What’s his cureball doing?’ Today I was spiking a lot of curveballs, so that was really a pitch that they could just throw out of there. Cody Ross hit the home run off of it, but it really didn’t break a whole lot. I was trying to throw a strike with it; I really didn’t want to go 3-2 with him and be faced with another walk situation. That’s why I threw it more over the plate.”
Is giving up runs after your team scores in top of inning the most frustrating part?
“For sure. Because I go out there, they get runs off me, and then I come back in and my team backs me up and puts more runs on the board, gets us in the ballgame, then I go back out and give up some more. So yeah, that doesn’t feel very good.”
How have you felt it your recent starts?
“I’ve felt good my last four starts, going back to the Nationals start. I gave up the home run there, but that was pretty much the only pitch that I felt like hurt me in that game…. Going back all the way to that game was when I started feeling better about my starts. I know you’re not going to have your greatest stuff every time. I feel like today is one of those days.”
Would you be disappointed if you were replaced in the rotation, given how you’ve felt in your recent starts?
“I feel like I’m learning. This is still my first year that I’ve been up with the team the whole time, trying to get some consistent starts in. So yeah, it would obviously be a disappointment if they took me out of the rotation. But if they did, then I’d do like what I always have and I would try to get back up here, if that did happen.”
On the trip
“Would have liked to have done better. We didn’t play terrible this road trip. Our pitchers, man they faced some tough lineups in their own ballparks. I think it’ll be good for them to go home and kind of settle in and come out and throw some competitive games.”
On how he’s felt during his impressive month
“Just trying to come and work hard, have some fun and compete, contribute and do what I can do on either side of the ball.”
On the ball that landed between him and Bourn in right-center
“Some of it was the sun, and some miscommunication right there. The sun was tough for me all day. We just kind of miscommunicated on who had a chance to get to the ball.”
** ERIC HINSKE
On the series
“We just ran into a pretty hot team. They’re swinging the bats well. If you look at the road trip, you say you split on it and take the positives. Winning three in a row and then losing the last two, you never want to do that. But we played pretty well. We swung the bats good, strung some runs together. We just gave up too many runs early to try to fight back from the last two days.”
How about yourself, broke out of a long slump with a double and triple today
“Yeah, I’ve been working hard. I’ve been going through the worst stretch of my career, and was just trying to stay positive and find out what was wrong. I definitely had a mechanical problem with my swing, coming around the ball and just rolling over balls to second base all the time. I worked with Walk [hitting coach Greg Walker] and Fletch [assistant hitting coach Scott Fletcher] just trying to stay inside the ball and use my lower half again, and today it worked.
“It’s kind of hard when you don’t get consistent at-bats, but I never use that as an excuse — because I don’t get consistent at-bats. When I’ve struggled, I was getting my pitch and not hitting it, rolling it over or fouling it off, and I couldn’t understand why, I couldn’t find it. And earlier in my career I could always find it quicker than I have this year. So I was pretty much lost, man. I was in bad spot.
“All you can do is keep coming to the field and keep working the right way, try to be positive and work your way through it. Today it felt great for me, but we lost.”
You hit two balls today that would be out at most ballparks, went for triple and double off the fences
“I think I’ve had three [previous] extra-base hits all year, and I had two today. So I just want to take this game onto the next one and keep on driving the baseball.”
** DAN UGGLA
On where team is at
“Freddie’s not all the way back. Me and Mac, we’ve been kind of searching these last couple of weeks. But I mean, we’re [team] going to get hot again, and we’re going to have opportunities where we’re going to start to play better and be more consistent. Every start that our young pitchers have, they’re going to get better and better and continue to learn. And that’s going to help us be more consistent, too.”
Last couple of games, Braves kept scoring after falling behind early
“They [Red Sox] did a good job, any time we got close they put another couple of runs on the board. Cody Ross got us today, and what can you do? We battled back, and yet again they continued to add on. That shows signs of a good team. You’ve got to continue to add on, all those things.”