“Outstanding. That’ll be his last start of the regular season, what a hell of a way to go. He gets to go above .500, 11-10, I don’t know more important. He had to be four, five games under. Terrific performance. I just wish we could score him some runs, so he would have a little breathing room instead of staring David Wright and Duda right down the barrel. He was terrific. Durbin and Avilan got us some big outs there in the seventh inning. Jonny did a nice job. We got a little crazy there in the ninth but we had the right guy on the mound to kind of settle him down and get two big punch outs there.”
On Minor’s ERA, low 2’s in second half of season
“Did he break 4.00? [4.12 for the season.] Yeah he’s been terrific. A majority right-handed hitting lineup and he’s pounding them in and he was really good.”
Concerned at all the way the offense is going?
“Well, that’s been for the most part our offense had been kind of in spurts. Yeah sure anything concerns you this time of year. A little banged up, injuries, not scoring any runs. But I remember one year when we played the Cubs, our pitching staff wasn’t very good and our offense was real good, and our pitching held and our offense couldn’t score any runs. We had Sheffield, that team had a bunch of guys over 30 home runs, and we couldn’t score a run so. It’s a little bit concerning but we scored a run today with a double, a wild pitch and a get-him-in on a ground ball by Heyward, so we’ll get it going.”
On Prado being the consistent guy in lineup
“He’s been a constant. It’s a nice thing to see.”
Did McCann and Kimbrel got crossed up?
“I didn’t him ask him. That’s the way it looked like. For me, any time a catcher goes up to the mound after one of those things, something screwy happened. And then Danny, I asked Danny on that ball to lead off the ninth and he said Tejada took a funny swing and he just didn’t catch it right off the (bat). He didn’t have a good read on it.”
On Minor in front of 48,000, like a practice run for postseason?
“He’s pitched one of those ESPN games early on in Cincinnati (as well as a Sunday night game vs. Nationals) when he gave up some home runs. He’s fine. I think that stuff doesn’t spook him.”
On why he stayed away from using O’Flaherty
“Well, ‘O’ came in yesterday and his back stiffened up on him a little bit, so we’re going to stay away from him. He gets it once in a while. Nothing as major as it had been before where we had to give him 15 days off, or anything. He felt a lot better today, so we’re going to stay off him. Hopefully we get him a game before that Friday game, the play-in game, but we’re just going to be cautious with him.”
What happened, you let a guy reach second base? (sarcasm; referring to Wright’s 7th-inning double)
“Yeah. D-Wright’s pretty good. I thought he hit a decent pitch. It just happens. He’s a good hitter.”
I was only kidding
“Yeah, I know. But I thought I made a good pitch and I turned around and it was at the wall. I thought, that guy’s good. I even asked, ‘Mac, was it middle-up?’ He was like, ‘No, he’s really good.’”
Fun atmosphere tonight, big crowd and all?
“Yeah, it was fun. I felt like tonight was a good team win, because we had a lot of guys come out of the bullpen, Martin had a couple of big hits, we played some defense behind me. Simmons made a play on a ball off a broken bat; I didn’t think anybody had a chance and he made that play in the outfield.”
Proud of how you wrapped up your strong second half?
“Yeah, I was kind of excited that we got the win tonight, and also that I’m not even anymore; I’m 11-10, so that’s a winning record this season. That was big for me.”
On how he felt before tonight’s game
“I had a lot of nerves, not because it was a big crowd but it was more, this could possibly be my last start. I don’t know if I might start again [during the regular season] or come out of the bullpen, whatever they need me to do. But I felt like tonight was one of those nights I was kind of pumped up for, because I knew it was one of my last starts of the year.”
On how he feels about his improvement at this stage
“I feel good. I’m executing pitches. I’m working well with the catchers and Roger [McDowell] and everything, so I’m pretty excited to see what happens in the future.”
On Minor’s improvement in second half
“I think his turning point was the game against the Yankees at home. [June 12, 7-1/3 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 walk.] He came out and attacked them and trusted his stuff. Once he got through the Yankees and showed himself that he could do that, he could get through anybody. I think it was a real confidence boost for him, and since then he’s been as good as the come in baseball, really.”
More on Minor, only giving up a few hits in most starts recently
“He’s been one of the better pitchers in the game the second half, and it’s good to see him keep getting better and better.”
On working with him, you two getting comfortable with each other
“I think he has confidence in what I’m calling, but at the same time he’s got the ball and sometimes he sees something that I don’t and he goes with it, and it works. He’s becoming more of a student of the game. I tip my hat to him.”
On scoreboard watching, you guys paying attention?
“Yeah, everybody’s watching to see what’s going on. It’s just part of the game. We’re already in the Wild Card game and we’re already playing at home. We’d like to win the division, so we’ve got to hope they [Nationals] lose.”
– Quotes compiled by Carroll Rogers and David O’Brien