On Hanson’s performance
“He got six innings in; that’s the first time he got six innings in a while. Just left some balls over the plate. I think at the beginning of the game he had three 1-2 [count] hits. The leadoff double in the first was a checked swing that just happened to go down the line…. But just a couple of pitches out over the plate. But he gave us six innings.”
On the game
“We accomplished what we wanted to. Got our bench guys some good at-bats. Overbay had some great at-bats, and Hinske had a big at-bat against a left-hander. Pastornicky had a couple of good at-bats, and Rossy. That’s a little scary there when he [Ross] takes that foul tip off the knee, and you’re playing these last two games and getting guys some rest and getting some [bench] guys some at-bats. That’s what keeps you up at night….
“Tomorrow we’ll run our starters out there for a couple of at-bats, and hopefully we’ll come out of it healthy. And hopefully get a win, too. That would be nice.”
Did Hanson make any progress since mid-season?
“Well, he ended up with, what, 13 wins this year? And with a guy that might not have had the best stuff of his career, he still found a way to win some ballgames, which is good. You like to see that stuff.”
Is the slow delivery something he can improve, to cut down on the stolen bases?
“It’s something that Roger’s on him all the time about. And we’ve gotten him down to 1.3, 1.4 [seconds to the plate]. But I don’t know how much quicker you can get him without re-doing the whole delivery and the arm, and then you’re getting into some areas where he might get hurt, changing arm angles this late in his career. But it’s something that definitely could use some work.”
Hanson’s role next couple weeks, be ready for anything?
“Yeah, be ready for anything. We feel like we’ve got a good handle on what’s going on, especially with that [Wild Card] game on Friday. But anything can happen. Beyond that, I’m not even worried about that right now.”
On postseason roster decisions, can a bench guy help his chances in these last couple of games?
“Especially for the first game [Wild Card game] where we could carry a lot more position players. So that’s why we wanted to run some of those guys out there, see what kind of at-bats they could give us, give them at-bats. Yeah, I think one game, a couple of good at-bats, or a couple of good games in a row, could definitely be an advantage for somebody.”
On getting hit by foul tip in the knee
“I’m alright. It got a lot of padding.”
On Hanson, did you think he progressed in right direction since return from DL?
“Yeah. I mean, to me Tommy – and he knows this – when he’s got his fastball location going, I don’t think it has anything to do with the DL or anything like that. I just think his fastball command, when it’s not on, that’s the times he gets hit. But Tommy’s a really good pitcher, really valuable to us.
“Tonight his slider was a little flat, fastball location was just OK. And they took advantage of it. We’ve got to do a better job of getting ahead of hitters in certain situations, and holding guys on, just little things like that. But Tommy’s been one of our better pitchers, one of our more consistent pitchers for a whole season. He’s one of the rare few we’ve got in the rotation that have been pitching all year.”
Probably not the way you wanted to end the season?
“Yeah, definitely wanted to pitch better. Wasn’t the way I wanted to end it. The first two innings were tough, and then so was that fifth. Not the way I wanted to finish, but it is what it is. And I’ve got to try to learn from it and try to make adjustments and try to get better.”
Is it as simple as becoming more consistent with fastball command?
“Yeah, my command was there at times and then I lost it. I think that’s the biggest thing, being consistent with that command. And it wasn’t consistent today.”
On next couple of weeks, how do you prepare?
“I don’t know what my role’s going to be or what the plan is, so I guess I’ll find that out tomorrow or the next day, and we’ll go from there and move forward, and do whatever I’ve got to do to try to help the team. In whatever capacity that might be.”
Did the changes you made in offseason, then car wreck in spring and DL stint this summer, make it hard to be consistent?
“No. I felt like I made some adjustments and they were fine in spring training. And then I had to make some more adjustments because I wasn’t pitching the way I wanted to pitch. I feel like you always have to make adjustments and you always have to try to find a way to get better. I’ve been trying to do that all year.”