CHICAGO — Braves quotes from Shelby Miller, Nick Markakis and Fredi Gonzalez after Friday’s 5-3 loss to the Cubs.
On the loss
“It was a good game. Obviously we had a couple of errors, I made a couple of mistakes on the mound that were kind of costly. At the end of the day, we played good baseball but not great. It’s a tough loss.”
What do you wish you’d have done differently?
“Walking people. Walks were obviously an issue. The strike zone was a little tight at times. I thought I made a couple of good pitches (not called strikes). You end up walking guys and some of them scored. That was obviously a big thing. That was the biggest issue for me to night, for sure, was the walks.”
On pumping his first after big inning-ending double play to preserve 3-2 lead in the fifth inning
“That play is huge. You’re talking about that play getting made and then saving some runs, which at that point in the ballgame we were ahead. So that was great. Obviously a great play by Freeman. Simba (Simmons) made some great plays. All in all we played great, just made a couple of mistakes. I made a couple of mistakes and it ended up costing us a little bit.”
Early on you were pounding strike zone, very few 2-ball counts, did you feel like might be a special day?
“I felt good. My stuff was good. Still some things I need to work on. I mean, I’m kind of throwing some lazy curveballs and getting a little lazy with my sinker sometimes. But other than that, I felt good. I felt like we did a good job making some pitches. Obviously the homer in the first inning, the only place the ball goes out is here. It’s a 1-1 ballgame there. I just gave a couple of runs back too easy, that’s my part of the deal.”
On his winless streak
“I feel like we’re going out there every game and playing our hearts out. At the end of the day that’s all that matters. If we’re coming to the ballpark and know after a game that we’re giving it all we had and we lose, it makes it that much easier to swallow. I feel like that’s what we’re doing, we’re showing up and trying to win ballgames. Obviously we’re on a little rough streak right now, but hopefully we turn that around.”
On scoring some early runs but leaving some other runners stranded in scoring position
“Against a team like this, you’ve just got to keep adding on. You can’t stop. We couldn’t find a way to score some more runs after that. It’s tough, but it happens.”
How much does this winless streak weigh on the rest of the team, as well as Shelby
“It’s tough. It’s a tough road trip going to the West Coast and coming back here. But it is what it is, we’ve just got to keep battling, don’t take anything for granted, have good at-bats, play defense and try to score as many runs as we can for these pitchers. We’ve been coming up short, but can’t say we haven’t been trying.”
What about Shelby’s winless streak specifically, are the rest of the guys aware of that, does it weigh on you?
“He’s a No. 1 (starter), so he’s going to be going up against a lot of guys’ No. 1’s. It’s tough. It’s frustrating for him and then for us. We’ve just got to keep plugging away.”
You’ve got 40 multi-hit games, have hit well (.333 in last 29 games) especially in second half. You’ve got to feel good about your consistency, right?
“Personally, yes. Team-wise, we’d like to be better. I’m just trying to go up there, have good at-bats, try to be aggressive, and when they make a mistake over the plate, try not to miss it. That’s the name of the game, especially at this level. You may only get one pitch (to hit) all game, and you’ve got to make the most of it.”
On having some bad luck but also making two infield errors by Ciriaco and Simmons that led to two unearned runs
“That’s not us. We play pretty good, solid defense, and today we made two errors that cost us some runs. Cost Shelby a chance to get a W or get even deeper in the ballgame. And that’s on us. I don’t know when the last time our defense made an error that cost us anything, and today it did. And you know what, if 1,000 balls are hit, I want 1,000 balls hit to (Andrelton) Simmons. Ball took a little funny hop there at the end and he couldn’t come up with it.”
Markakis had a couple of big hits early, helped you get a 3-1 lead
“He gives you good at-bats, no matter where he hits. He just gives you good at-bats, and when there’s an opportunity with people in scoring position, he comes through.”
Miller looked so sharp through first four innings, did you think might be something special today?
“Miller was good. We didn’t handle the baseball, which is on us. And we were not very good with runners in scoring position. We had (Kyle Hendricks) on the ropes the first couple of innings and he made some good pitches, some off-speed stuff low in the strike zone. We didn’t add on, and that was basically the game.”
You’d probably take your chances again with Freeman batting and two on in the ninth like that?
“No question. With all that being said, all the negatives I just came up with, our team had the winning run at the plate and we had the tying run at first, and in this ballpark with the wind blowing out, you like your chances.”
On Miller pumping his fist after double play, you could see how much it meant to him
“Yeah. I think we need one for the team. I think Shelby would say the same thing. We need to come out and get a W and get a winning streak going.”
On the Cubs having a lot of young players
“They’ve got young, talented players. Guys that are athletic, they’re young, they’re enthusiastic. But they’re good, let’s not forget that.”
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