Clubhouse comments after Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Miami Marlins:
Manager Fredi Gonzalez
On starter Aaron Harang’s night (5 2/3 innings pitched, three earned runs).
“He battled. He battled some stuff. In all reality he only gave up one run in four different innings and he almost got out of that one in the last inning, with only giving up three, maybe going six innings and having a quality start.
“But he battled, minimized the damage at certain times only giving up single runs.
“We just didn’t get anything going off (Marlins starter Jarred Cosart). He had the 94 mph cutter going. We had the opportunity there with the bases loaded (in the eighth inning) and we couldn’t put a number up. We didn’t score any runs.
What was missing from your at-bats?
“It was just Cosart was pretty darn good throwing that cutter and we didn’t get good ABs at him.”
Were Harang and catcher Evan Gattis having communication problems?
“Twice. That was that one run there in the sixth (a passed ball resulting in the Marlins fourth run). When you give him multiple signs, sometimes it’s difficult. Obviously Gattis called a pitch that Aaron didn’t see, or vice versa, and the ball got away.”
Starter Aaron Harang
“I made a few pitches they were able to put in play, other than that I felt OK out there.
On the sixth-inning passed ball that resulted in a Marlins run.
“That was a cross up. That was my fault. He wanted the fastball and I just didn’t see it. I saw curveball. I thought in that situation it was my fault. It was tough shadows tonight, and I obviously didn’t see the sign right.”
How did you feel on the mound?
“I felt OK. I didn’t feel as loose today as I have in the past. I was getting ahead early in the count but they were able to get some timely hits in key situations.
“That curveball to (Donovan) Solano, that was something right over the middle of the plate (a first-inning home run). You’re going to have those days. Cosart out-pitched me today, he threw the ball well.”
“I felt I was keeping the ball down. I obviously was getting some ground balls but they were finding the holes.”
Third-baseman Chris Johnson
“Yeah, he was good. He’s got a good cutter. He throws a lot of cutters, his curveball is pretty good, plus he’s not a guy we’ve seen a lot (this was the second time this season). Tip your cap, he was good tonight.
“It’s not often you see a guy, especially a starter, who throws that many cutters. He maybe threw only a handful of two-seamers and four-seamers tonight. He was cutter, curveball. It’s a tough pitch against right handers and left handers. He was good at it, he was spotting it up. He was working it inside and outside. It’s something we’ve got to get used to, him being in our division (after a mid-season trade to the Marlins), we got to try to get used to it and work out a plan for the cutter.”
On the three double plays the Braves hit into Saturday.
“Lately we’ve been hitting a lot of ground balls with guys on base and they’ve been not finding any holes. But when we don’t make contact you are talking about our strikeouts so it’s just part of the game. I think we’re going through one of those phases where we’re grounding into some double plays. We don’t have a ton of speed guys out there so when we do hit ground balls they end up being double plays.”
What is the answer for this offense?
“Man, I don’t know if I really know. Just have good at-bats. I think if we have good at-bats and put the ball in play and try to keep the line moving — make sure we swing at strikes, take our walks when we can — that’s kind of the recipe for success. We’re going to hit our home runs, those are going to come, I think it’s what we do in those other at bats. And I think we’ve been doing pretty well with that lately.”
Rightfielder Jason Heyward
How were you able to solve Cosart?
“I just knocked some balls through the infield. He made some good pitches, the whole night, I felt like. He was very tough on righties as you could see.
“The guy has a cutting fastball that is hard through the zone, he throws it up and down. His curveball was effective tonight. He pounded the strike zone. (Catcher Jarrod) Saltalamacchia had a good game plan going. It was his night.”
Heyward is 5-for-7 in the first two games of this series.
“I’m OK. I’m not too concerned about how I’m feeling. I’m trying to play the game, take what comes my way. It’s going to take all of us and I’m just trying to do my part. We all are. So far I’ve been able to get some base hits and get on base. That’s all I’m trying to do, get on base. That’s kind of my job — lead-off guy, set the table and let the great guys behind me work.”
On the double plays.
“It happens, man. (Cosart) was off the barrel enough in big spots. You want to be aggressive, you want to try to hit strikes in those situations. He made his pitches and they played D. A step to your left or right — I felt that one of my balls could have been caught. He threw a lot of good pitches tonight. He didn’t make too many mistakes.”