On if he liked the way the team came out
Yeah. Harang pitched a great game. The two-run homer to (Ian) Desmond, it was the right pitch but he left it up about six or seven inches, right in his wheelhouse. He gave us an opportunity. We scattered some hits but we didn’t really get anything going offensively and they won the game. You get into their bullpen with (Tanner) Roark giving them seven solid innings, you get into their bullpen with (Tyler) Clippard and (Drew) Storen and then it’s pretty tough to score some runs even though we did score a couple runs last night.
On if it hurt to watch Nationals celebrate division title here
First of all, you’ve got to congratulate them on winning the division. You’ve got to tip your hat. They’ve had a solid year and good for (manager) Matt Williams and his coaching staff and the Washington Nationals. But, yeah, you never want anybody celebrate on your field but they did it professionally, I thought. I didn’t expect anything else from that organization. They run it first class. We’ve still got a chance and that’s all we can do is come in every day with a chance. Now we’ve got to set our sights on—not that we haven’t—but we’ve got to set our sights on a winning streak and maybe we can come in the second wild card.
On if his players had the right approach after getting lead-off runners on base
I thought we got, between (Phil) Gosselin and (Andrelton) Simmons, we got three hits. They got on base, we just didn’t keep the line moving. (Chris Johnson) got a couple hits at the bottom of the order but I think in between that we didn’t do very much offensively.
On Nationals starter Tanner Roark’s performance
I’ve seen him better. Today it wasn’t his good stuff but he still pitched. He pitched to the top of the strike zone against left-handed hitters and we just didn’t get good swings on him.
On if he points to diving catch by Jason Heyward in ninth inning to people who question effort
I hope people are not questioning that. They can question that we are not a very good offensive team or we swing and miss too much but not the effort. I take that personally. You see the guys running around. Jason Heyward, if he doesn’t win the Gold Glove it would be a shame because he’s been terrific for us in right field. Here we are down 3-0 down in the ninth inning of the (151st) game of the season and he’s leaving his feet and putting his body in a situation where he could hurt himself to make a catch.
On how he felt tonight
I felt great. I felt like I was executing pitches. It comes down to it, in those pitchers’ duels, to whoever makes the first mistake. That’s what happened. I threw a slider that just spun up there and didn’t have any break on it and was right in the middle of the plate. Desmond jumped all over it. Nothing else I can do about it. Got the next two guys out. It’s frustrating when it happens but it’s fun to pitch on those pitchers’ duels. It’s a tough one for them slamming the door on the division tonight. I was pitching with the intent for them to not win but it is what it is but we’ve just got to come back out and keep fighting for that wild card spot. That’s what matters right now.
On how frustrating it is to lose in same way
It’s tough because I know how much everybody is putting in work. Everybody is trying to get through this funk. I think sometimes you tend to press a little too much. It’s tough. I know the guys they are busting their tail, they are in that cage getting that extra work. It’s just one of those things, they say hitting and pitching are contagious when you go through those bad spells you press even more when you are on either side. It’s one of those things we’ve got to keep our mindset to keep going out and grinding because all it’s going to take is for something to go our way and we’ve just got to run with it.
On if it was hard to watch Nationals celebrate
I didn’t watch so it means nothing. Whether we watch it or not in front of you or on TV.
On if it was a goal to win so that didn’t happen
It’s our goal, regardless, whether they win or anybody else wins it in our division. We are envious of anyone who wins it. It’s our goal at the beginning of the season, not just now because they clinched on our field.
On losing in the same way, with good pitching and no hitting
It’s tough. It’s a grind. We can’t just all get on the same page offensively together. That’s been the story of the year. There’s still games left so we will keep grinding.
On if it bothers him that they clinched the division here
You can say that but the bottom line is you need to win. That’s the only thing that never changes each night. You have to win each night and in my mind that’s the only way you are going to prevent them from clinching here. They came in and took care of business to win the first two games.
On getting a lot of lead-off hitters on against Roark but not capitalizing
He was tough the whole night. Both guys threw well. Aaron made the first mistake. He wanted to bounce a curve ball, (Desmond) got one up and he didn’t miss it. Roark made his pitches, executed his plan well, wiggled his way out after getting guys on base. The bottom line is both pitchers executed about as well as you can.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com