— quotes compiled by David O’Brien and Carroll Rogers
Braves quotes from Ramiro Pena, Aaron Harang, Freddie Freeman and manager Fredi Gonzalez after Monday’s loss to the Cardinals.
Seeing some progress tonight, some steps forward?
“We did. We swung the bats, nine hits, and some balls hit at some people. Freeman, with a man on second base, hit a rocket to the (first baseman). Yeah, I feel pretty good that our offense showed some signs of us scoring some runs. We kept putting people on, putting pressure on, that’s a good sign.
“I thought Harang deserved better than getting a loss. They hit some balls through the infield a little bit and we gave them an extra opportunity there in that one inning, gave the Cardinals a couple extra outs and they put a crooked number up. But I thought Aaron overall did a nice job. Bullpen did a nice job holding it right there. We keep pecking away at the lead and you sure like to see those guys come up – Justin and Heyward in those situations and it just didn’t materialize for him today.”
On Simmons being the last guy you expect to see botch a grounder
“Yeah. It happens. Before that he made unbelievable plays. Such good plays that the one he made on Molina, it took me two hitters into our hitting to realize, hey, I didn’t go over there and tell Simmons he made a nice play, because you kind of get used to him making those plays. He’s human.”
On Pena giving team a spark when he gets opportunities
“Yeah you put him in the right situation, you match him up with the right guy and he gives you a good opportunity to win the game every single time.”
On opportunities ending in loud fashion, line drives caught, etc.
“Our bats were a lot better. We put a couple good at-bats with Gattis hitting to the right side. Freeman did a nice job going first to third. B.J. got a sac fly RBI out of that because of Freeman going to third base on that base hit. So there were a lot of positives, other that at the end, you’d like to get the W no matter how you get it. But offensively it was a good night.”
On Harang getting back on track after bad game at Miami
“I never worried about him – you don’t worry about a veteran guy like that. He’ll figure something out. I really believe he deserved better. What are you going to do, we go out tomorrow and have Gavin start his first time in a long time and hopefully get a good outing.”
On Justin carrying team in April, hitting skid now
“This game is funny because when you’re not going good, it’ll find you all the time. It finds you in certain situations. But he’ll be fine. There’s a couple guys on this team that I’d like to be up in that situation and he’s one of them.”
On if he’s looking at a lot of pitches, some borderline strikes but a lot of pitches
“I don’t know. They’re fastballs. And these guys are talented enough, these guys can cover an inch or two. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it on videos where it’s three balls outside and somebody (lines) a double down the right field line or even hit the ball out of the ballpark, so they could cover.”
Did lineup do what you wanted, with pitcher hitting eighth?
“I think so. I’m not going to put a timetable on it or anything but I think we’ll play with it for a while longer. Today it didn’t hurt us. And I think a couple times it helped us, having the pitcher in the eighth hole. Once the starter goes out of the game it doesn’t really matter, but I think Freeman hit third the first inning. I think later on the game he came up as a No. 4 hitter and there were men in scoring position and that’s what we wanted to do.”
On the skid
“Teams are going to go on runs like this. We’re going to battle out of it. I don’t think we’re stressing yet in here. You’d much rather go on a stretch like this early in the year when teams are about even, because you do this kind of run when it’s getting near the end of August and early September, that’s when things get out of control and you definitely lose ground.”
On Cardinals’ taking advantage
“You get runners on second and third and Bourjos takes a fastball in and hits it through past second base. It’s little things like that, I mean, that’s what makes them good. And we had a couple of missed opportunities to come back.
“The guys battled and made it a one-run deficit, really made them bite their nails over there. Everybody’s good (attitude) in here. We’re just going to keep going out and battling every day. We’ll flip this thing around. We’re not worried about it yet.”
On Simmons’ error
“It kind of got him off-balance. Those things are going to happen. I told him, hey man, keep your head up. Don’t kick yourself over one little thing like this. I said, you’re probably going to save my butt a few times this year, so don’t even worry about this. You know, just go do something at the plate, make another play in the field. That’s part of baseball. Little things like that are going to happen. You’ve just got to move past it.”
On coming back from his bad start at Miami
“I didn’t really think too much about it. know what I can do. It was just one of those rough outings (at Miami). There’s a bunch of different things you can look at, whether it’s having a couple of extra days off, not feeling as sharp … you’re going to have bad days.”
On coming back most of way from 4-0 deficit, could that have been big to finish the rally?
“Definitely. Every win’s a big one right now for us. We played a good game tonight. We hit a lot of balls hard with runners in scoring position. It’s a cruel game. They had some check-swing hits, some worm-burners that got through. It’s just one of those games.”
Felt different than some recent losses?
“Definitely. Felt like we were in it the whole game. And that’s what we wanted. Came out and played hard, we just came up short tonight. We’ve got Gavin making his season debut, so hopefully we can get some runs for him tomorrow.”
On flying out to the CF warning track on running catch, etc.
“When things are going bad, things are going bad. I think we all saw it when they get check-swing hits, broken-bat hits through the hole when we’re playing a shift on him, Holliday hits a worm-burner that takes a bad hop and scoots over… it’s just one of those days, when things are going bad they just snowball.”
“We were in the game the whole game. That’s something we haven’t been able to say the past week. So you’ve got to take the positives when you get them, and go in tomorrow with a better mindset, because we put up some really good ABs against Shelby Miller and he was throwing mid-90s just like we’ve been facing. We put up a lot better ABs against him tonight.”
Feel good to go out and give your team a little spark?
“Yeah, but at the end of the day we lost, and we need to win games. So it’s kind of tough.”
When you came up in ninth, feel good considering what you’d done to that point?
“Yeah, I felt good today. I was just trying to get a good pitch. That’s a tough pitcher; he’s a closer. I just missed a little on that last one.”
On getting more recent playing time, comfort factor at plate
“You get better just playing, so I feel a little more comfortable at the plate right now. It’s tough to be on the bench and just come in to pinch-hit, so as soon as you start playing everthing comes along, timing and everything. Today I felt a little better.”
“First AB I get a double and I’m like, OK, here we go, let’s have a good day.”
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