On getting “behind the eight-ball” by Hudson giving up 4 runs in 1st inning
“We battled back and made it a two-run game, and we had some opportunities in the seventh and the eighth, with what I thought were the right guys at the plate. Particularly there in the eighth, with some guys that can wear out left-handed pitching. And they wiggled out of it.”
“He gave us six. He stayed in the game, hung around and gave us some opportunities.”
What did he say about the first inning, what was his explanation?
“I didn’t even ask him. If I’m not mistaken there were a couple of doubles on a 1-2 pitches, I think Zimmerman hit on [on a pitch] that came back over the plate. I think Lombardozzi’s first at-bat was a 1-2 or pitch that kind of came back over the plate.”
On Simmons’ 14-pitch walk in 2nd inning having potential to change the game
“I thought it did. He had an unbelievable at-bat; we got the bases loaded and don’t get anything there. But he [pitcher Gonzalez] got taxed. I think he had 100 and something pitches in five innings or whatever he pitched. That was one hell of an at-bat. He’s swinging the bat well. Jason Heyward’s swinging the bat well. Chipper had a big double and RBI. And Freeman with a three-run homer.
“We swung the bats extremely well, but we just got behind the eight-ball there right out of the chute.”
On having more patient at-bats
“We try to do that every game. That’s something that Walk [Greg Walker] preaches, about grinding out at-bats. And I thought we did a terrific job today and last night with Strasburg. Here’s two guys that are used to going deep in ballgames, and we got them out of there fairly early. We got a win yesterday and we had some opportunities today. We just couldn’t take advantage with guys on base.”
On signing Ben Sheets
“I think it’s a great find by Frank and our people. Here’s a guy that I think everything is an upside, really. There’s not downside to it. He’s going to go down and I think the plan is to make two, maybe three starts in [Triple-A] Gwinnett and be ready right after the All-Star break, to come up and be ready to be in our rotation. If everything goes well. Two or three starts is 10, 12 days away, but I think it has a chance to be a great sign.”
On Braves All-Star selections
“These next three or four days the fans get to vote on another guy, and I really hope that Michael Bourn gets in there. Because you look at the list of the All-Stars that the fans voted in, Bourney is up there with those guys or has even out-performed some of those guys.”
On Bourn’s error today
“I think he got himself in no-man’s land. That ball is hit hard and it’s sinking, and he’s trying to make a play and he got himself where he couldn’t dive for it, and the ball just got by him.”
** TIM HUDSON
Was it anything in particular that went wrong in that four-run first inning?
“Just bad location, and not very good stuff. Just wasn’t very good.”
Weather have any effect?
“It wasn’t too bad. It was hot, but it was probably a little worse [Saturday].”
On giving up couple of first-inning hits on 1-2 counts
“Yeah, I got ahead of some guys and have just got to make some better pitches with two strikes. I just missed over the plate, up in the zone. Just wasn’t very good.”
On Zimmerman’s long home run
You seemed to settle in a bit after the four-run 1st
“I was getting some quicker outs, but I wasn’t great all day. It’s one of those things where I made some pitches to have some quicker innings and keep my pitch count down, but they got some pitches to hit and they took advantage.”
On facing the Cubs again
“They’ve got good pitching too, and that’s what they beat us with last time. They beat us with good pitching, came in and shut us down two out of three games. But it’ll be a good series. I think we’re swinging the bats pretty good, and if we keep doing that, if we get hot, we can compete with any team.”
Anything you can put a finger on with Nationals, to explain the struggles against them?
“It’s just different things, man. They came out and jumped on us quick. We fought back. We didn’t get up, and that’s one thing that our team thrives on. If we’re down, we know we’re still in the game and we’re not giving up. We feel like we can come back. The energy was still in the dugout. I just that they happened to get a hit here, a hit there, and it solidified the game at the end.”
“They’ve got a good closer at the end, too. He’s not easy to get to. They’ve got a good bullpen. I think one thing that stamps them is their pitching. One through five [starters] they can throw anybody out there and you’re going to have a battle any night. They can score a few runs, and if their pitching’s on they’re tough to beat.”
On his error Sunday
“I gave them another run. Those runs like that, can’t have that happen. The ball hit and bounced a little bit to the side. I didn’t expect it to bounce that way, and it kept going after that. It was my bad, and I couldn’t do anything about it. We fought. But it wasn’t enough fight.”
On being up for the “Final Vote” All-Star spot
“It can go a lot of ways. He’s probably one of the best in the game. I’ve been playing against him since the minor leagues. We came up the same time almost. He’s an amazing player. you always want to be in there but at the same time those four days can be a good rest for you. I’d love to go to the All-Star game. Who wouldn’t? That’s a compliment to anybody. But if I’m not voted it, there’s nothing I can do about that but take those four days off. I’ll watch it, either from my house or on the berm.”
On inconsistency of Braves
“We have the ability to play brilliantly. We also have the ability to bring out our inner Bad News Bears at times. It’s frustrating, but when you’ve got some young guys they’re going to make young mistakes. But we have a chance to really end the homestand against a team that we, on paper, should beat. So let’s just take care of business, and go to Philly and into the All-Star break on a good note.”
On Nationals jumping out to 4-0 lead in 1st inning
“For the second time in a row they ambushed Huddy early. They did it to him the last time they were in town, and today was just like his first inning the last time. We’ve got to get that ironed out, because that team’s in first place for a reason – they’ve got really good lock-down starting pitching. They’ve got a real good back end to the bullpen. It’s tough to string stuff together against them.
“I thought we did a good job once again of seeing a lot of pitches from their starter and getting him knocked out of the game early. But when you fall down early and then you make mistakes late in the game to give up a couple of runs late, it takes a lot of the wind out of your sails.”
On the Nats owning the Braves
“They’ve given us trouble for the last six or eight years, for whatever reason. I can put my finger on it a lot better this year and maybe last year than I could the previous four or five years, because they obviously have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. But it just seems like they’ve always hit our pitching, and it seems like their pitchers have always made pitches to get themselves out of trouble whenever we’ve threatened. So it’s just one of those trends that we have to turn around.”
“We’re 4-1/2 games behind the Nationals. They’ve been a better team than us through the first 75, 80 games of the season.”
Is it an honor even to be up for Final Vote?
“Yeah, it’s always an honor to represent your team, your organization and your league in the All-Star game. This being my last year obviously would be fun to go. I’d love to take my kids to an All-Star game, so we’ll just have to wait and see. It’s a win-win either way. If I get to go, then I get to give them that experience and have a little fun myself and if I don’t, we’ll find something else to do for four days.”
On Bourn also being candidate for Final Vote spot
“Bourny is certainly deserving. He and I were talking about it this morning. If you look at what he’s contributed to this ball club, he certainly deserves to go. It would not hurt my feelings whatsoever if Mikey got elected to the All-Star game. Well-deserved.”
On La Russa turning the decision over to fans
“That’s probably the hardest job, the hardest team to manage in all of sports, having to pick the reserves and making sure you’ve got everybody somewhat accounted for as a far as teams and whatnot and trying to spread the wealth around and then weigh that against the people that actually do deserve to go. It’s a tough job. I don’t envy him at all.”
On Been Sheets signing
“Whenever I think of Ben I think of him striking out like 30 of us in one game. I don’t know how many it was but it was a lot. He’s got the ability to be, he’s got dominant stuff. the question with Ben has been his health but when healthy he could be a true No. 1. Is he going to be that for us? I think most of us would be shocked if he was but I think he could be a nice piece to our rotation and help us win some ballgames down the stretch.”
On Nationals winning eight of last 10 against Braves; are they that much better?
“No. I think we match up really well against them. They are a great team, and Mike Rizzo’s done a great job putting this team together. He made a lot of great acquisitions in the offseason; I thought maybe the best one was getting Gio Gonzalez to solidify that rotation. And they’ve had huge years from Michael Morse last year and he’s coming on strong this year; just great signings like that. They’ve got the young superstar, Bryce Harper. Zim’s always going to be a rock. Just day-in, day-out, they’re a tough team.”
But you guys got to Strasburg on Saturday and Gio Gonzalez today….
“Yeah, I mean, like I said, I think we’ve matched up good against them. We’ve got great pitching as well. We’ve got guys who can swing the bat and do some damage. It’s just, for whatever reason, they got off to an early lead against us. Huddy shut them down after that, and we got back in it late. But it just wasn’t enough.”
On getting his first start in All-Star game
“Huge honor that the fans thought I was deserving enough to start for the National League. I’ve been to two other ones and this is my first time starting. Huge honor, very happy about it. I’m excited to get to Kansas City and represent the National League.”
On the 3-error game last time to All-Star
“Unfortunately that’s what people remember me by, especially playing in Florida. That’s really the only time a lot of people around the country got to see me play. But that game was that game. I still loved the experience and although I would have liked to have done better, I still wouldn’t trade it for the world. To be able to experience that game in Yankee Stadium. I’m sure people are going to be talking about it and answer a lot of questions about it. it is what it is. I owned up to it that night and I’ll own up to it again. That’s just the way it’s got to be.”
On getting another crack to show people (nationally) who you really are
“Yeah definitely. I’ve been wanting to go back ever since and finally got a chance to do it this year.”
On possibility of Chipper getting voted to All-Star team on the “Final Vote”
“I think it would be great. Him and Mike B [Bourn] are both deseriving of it. Mike B has obviously put up a huge first half for us. And Chipper, just everything he’s done for the game. He just epitomizes the game of baseball, and I think it would be a great send-off for him, to vote him in for this last All-Star game, send him off on the right note.”
On being named to original All-Star roster this time (not injury sub)
“It’ll be a little easier. Last year I flew back form Philly, got off the plane, got back on another plane and flew out to Arizona. I knew when we were on the plane….I still enjoyed it a lot last year but there might be a little less stress with the traveling and everything this year.”
On hearing name today as All-Star selection
“It’s pretty cool. It’s an honor any time you’re selected to a team like that. Hopefully we can go out there and I can help the National League team win.”
On going back again
“Having this opportunity again is awesome. Last year I really didn’t know what to expect. This year I have a little bit more of an idea and maybe I can soak it up a little more.”
**Nationals rookie BRYCE HARPER
on being one of those up for the “Final Vote” All-Star spot
I just found that out before the game. But, you know, it’s an accomplishment I guess but you got Chipper up there. So, I think a hall of famer should be able to go to all-star game his last year. If I was going to make a vote, I’d go vote for Chip.
Weird to go up against Chipper?
“I don’t think it’s strange. He should have already been in the All-Star game no matter what. He’s an All-Star and has been an All-Star for twenty years. I think Chip should be there and, like I said before, if I had to vote, Chip’s going.”
“It’d be great. I think it’d be a lot of fun to be out there around guys like that and stuff. But I think taking some time off and going home for four or five days I think would be good also. Like I said, I hope Chip gets in there and, you know, hopefully I can get in there. If I don’t, then hopefully it’s Chip.”
All-star game a goal?
“When my numbers were better, I think so. But been struggling a little bit for the past two and half weeks or so, so Chip is hitting .290 with 6 or 7 or 8, whatever he has, with 35. So I think he should be there.”
Add anything to be in this spot at age 19?
“I’m not going to say I’m not deserving of it. But I don’t think, I don’t know. (Laughing.) It’s just … I have no clue. I really don’t know what to say right now. I don’t know. Chip should be there. There you go.: