On Braves building a 3-0 lead in first three innings
“We manufactured a run that first inning, did the same the next couple of innings. It was huge. Anytime you go against a guy like that, with what his ERA was the last two or three years, he’s a dude you know you’ve got to bring you’re ‘A’ game with. He’s a tough pitcher and we manufactured some runs.”
How’d you feel tonight?
“I felt good. I didn’t necessarily have that two-seamer coming back to lefties; I was kind of pulling it a little bit. But overall, I felt great. Just tried to get a feel for the game, see if they were going to be aggressive or patient, and just kind of mixed and matched.”
You don’t seem stressed about the mounting win streak in your starts (21 Braves wins in a row in his starts)
“It’s awesome. My wife’s told me, there’s been a couple of people tell me who I’m being talked about with. Whitey Ford? Let’s go. Come on. Don’t even say it. I think it’s just kind of happened that way, they [Braves] go to battle for me, I go to battle for them. It’s just kind of worked out. I don’t know, just take it a game at a time. I haven’t gotten ahead of myself. I’m really just trying to take it a game at a time.”
Do you just try to ignore it as the streaks grow?
“I don’t necessarily ignore it. I mean, I think it’s awesome. Any time you can get in the same sentence as guys like that, it’s really cool. Like I said, I just try not to get too ahead of myself, just focus on the goal at hand, which is trying to make the playoffs. Every five days I’m going to go out and try to do my thing. If that leads to more wins, then it does.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen when I lose; you guys aren’t going to talk to me. [Laughter.] But yeah, I just go out there and try to win every time. That’s the goal. You have a game plan every time. Pay attention to scouting reports. I mean, it’s just all Groundhog Day. It’s the same thing every day. Just a different lineup. You attack guys and see what happens.”
On Medlen and Whitey Ford stat (Braves first team to win 21 consecutive starts by a pitcher since Yankees’ 22 w/ Ford)
“That’s good company to be in. Medlen continues to just plug along. I don’t think he was as sharp as we’ve seen him in his most recent starts, but it was still good enough to shut out a major league ballclub for eight innings. You didn’t see a ton of balls hit on barrels. I know they got some hits off of him.”
On team’s 3-0 lead after 3 innings
“It was a good job by the offense getting some runs off Josh early, running his pitch count up. You had a feeling coming in here tonight that runs would be at a premium. Bourny did a good job in the first leading off, we manufactured a run in the first, and Constanza with a couple of hits kind of kick-started things.
“It was a big win for us, especially after last night, a game when we didn’t feel like we hit particularly well, at least until the ninth. And we let that one slip away, so it was good to get the series win against JJ and the Marlins.”
On manufacturing runs better than have much of season
“When you get in the postseason you’re facing Josh Johnsons. Maybe not him per se, but guys like him, guys that are very stingy with earned runs. And you’ve got to get a leadoff batter on and bunt him over, move him over, get a big base hit here and there, a sacrifice fly, it’s huge. The last time we were down here Josh stuck it to us, and we were able to jump on top today, which was nice.
“We made an adjustment against Josh. He gets so many swings and misses on that back-foot slider, down and in to lefties. You didn’t see a lot of swings on those. I know he got a couple, but not near what he’s got in the past against us.”
“You could tell by the swings we were taking in the first three innings that we were getting in predictable counts and getting pitches we wanted to hit, and putting them in play.”
On tying Lou Gehrig for 58th on all-time hits list
“Lou’s a big one. That’s the Iron Horse, man. Just really honored to have as many hits in my career as one of the greatest in the game. Now we’ve got to work on passing him.”
“He was really good. Commanded the strike zone on both sides of the plate. We played some good D behind him. I thought Prado made some nice plays at shortstop filling in. Bourny ran a ball down there in left-center field in the eighth inning. We played good defense. But that’s a by-product of Medlen pounding the strike zone, getting the ball, throwing the ball over and keeping the guys on their toes.”
Think about leaving Medlen in instead of pinch-hitting for him?
“You always think about that. But he was going to come out no matter what. It was one of those things where you’ve got the middle of the lineup [coming up], arguably the best closer in baseball. You don’t want to bring him in in the middle of an inning. That kind of stuff always goes into the equation. So we decided to give the ball to Kimbrel.”
On jumping to 3-0 lead on Josh Johnson after three innings
“We manufactured the first two runs. Got a leadoff double, get him over, get him in on the sac fly by J-Hey. Next inning, the same thing. We had first and third and got a sac fly by Freeman a couple of innings later.
“We worked [Johnson] pretty good. He had about 100 pitches in the fifth inning and kept getting deep into counts. We had some good at-bats. To get three runs off JJ, you’re doing something.”
With postseason nearing, how encouraging to manufacture runs, something Braves have struggled to do?
“It’s good. This is the time of the season we need to be doing that. Every run in the postseason is going to be hard. You’re going to be scrapping for them. You get those opportunities, you’ve got to take advantage of them.”
On Bourn’s leadoff double in first
“Those at-bats are getting better. Today he had a couple of good at-bats. Those are good signs. I believe the groundball the other night, he beats that out or the call gets changed differently, those are good things that keep going and building. It’s good at-bats for Bourny today, and we get a day off tomorrow before three against the Phillies.”
On Medlen not panicking when had a runner at third with one out in 1st, or one-out double in 2nd
“It’s like he’s in the backyard. He pitches like he’s in high school. He has fun, he’s always smiling. There’s intensity there, there’s focus, but he doesn’t get spooked. He doesn’t get caught up in the moment. He knows what he wants to do and goes out and does it. It’s fun and refreshing to see a young pitcher do that.”
Prado maybe starting to look like a shortstop to you? (laughter)
“We’ve got to get him out of there before he gets hurt. That’s been like the Bermuda triangle over there at shortstop this year. But yeah, the versatility he has is such a great asset to have, especially in the National League game. And he’s an offensive player, too.”
On his Jeter-like jump and throw to first from the outfield grass
“That was a great play. I didn’t know he had that in him.”