Braves quotes after Monday’s postseason-ending loss to Dodgers

— quotes compiled by Carroll Rogers and David O’Brien


On wanting the ball, but it not going his way

“It’s tough to swallow. I wanted the ball. I wanted to be there in the eighth inning and just didn’t get the job done. The idea right there is to try to come in, get three quick outs and then hand the ball to Craig.”

Pitch problem location or selection?

“Definitely location. I tried to overthrow a slider. It popped out of my hand on me and it was right there in his wheelhouse where he’s going to hit it.”

On Justin Upton, Freddy Garcia, consoling him, what did they say?

“They said keep my head up. It’s a matter of grinding through situations like that. It’s tough. You don’t want to go through them. You build your character through them and the kind of person you’re going to be in this game. Right now it stings but for later on down the road when we’re back here, playing in this same situation, you’ll be able to make a little bit better adjustment for the situation and come out on top.”

On if knew Uribe had penchant for big hits

“Yeah, he’s a big swinger. He’s got a chance to drive the ball out of the ballpark. And I agreed with Mac on the pitch. It was my fault. I’m the reason that we’re not going back to Atlanta tied 2-2. I’ll take the responsibility for it every time. I let the guys down. It kills me. It kills me to have to say that, but I’ll tell you what, it’s not on them. They battled back. They got us to a tie ball game. Constanza comes up with the big hit but that’s on me.”

On what he learned tonight and season on the whole

“It’s a grind as a group. And I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys to do it with. I’m very, very fortunate to be here and have the group of guys that we did, go out every single night, bust their butts and just play their hearts out behind you and we try to do the same thing on the mound. Try to do the same thing next year.”

On what he was trying to do with Uribe

“Being a free swinger, if we can throw a slider down. If he’s looking in that situation trying to hit a fastball, most of the times he’s going to swing over the top of it. Just didn’t get the pitch in the spot I wanted to.”

On how it unfortunate with him trying to get a bunt down

“He’s trying to bunt Puig to third, got ahead in the count and just wasn’t able to execute, put him away.”


On losing the way they did

“Those guys in my locker room battled their … off all year long, and to end the way it ended tonight, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to be a long trip back. But tip your hats to the Dodgers, and congratulate Donny and his staff. And we’ll … the sad thing is there’s no more games.”

On Freddy Garcia

“He was outstanding, he really was. He matched pitch-for-pitch with Kershaw, and he was in line to get the W. It’s hard to save games at time in a one-run game, it’s hard to get nine outs. But we couldn’t have asked for more from Freddy. He gave us a great opportunity to win the game.”

On Constanza coming through with big hit

“We took five or six days to settle on the postseason roster, and I’ve got to give credit to our coaching staff for talking me into carrying Constanza on the roster. (A coach) said this guy puts the ball in play, and in the postseason you need somebody to put the ball in play. Pinch-hit him there, big at-bat, big RBI single there to put us ahead.”

On the game and being up to face Kershaw after announcement he would make the start

“We had good at-bats against Clayton. We had good at-bats the whole night. All their runs came on home runs, if I’m not mistaken. But I don’t think it mattered who we were facing today; we were going to bring energy, and we did that.”

On Kimbrel, how many outs were you willing to use him for, how soon might you have brought him in?

“We had it set up — we double-switched and put our best defense out there – we had it set up to bring him in for four outs. I think six outs was something that we weren’t even talking about in the dugout. But we were planning to bring him in with two outs (in the eighth) and we were set up to do that.”

On things, accomplishments he’ll remember from this year

“Chris Johnson finishing second for the batting title. Freddie Freeman should be talked about as an MVP candidate. Simmons should win a Gold Glove. Kimbrel, maybe some talk about Cy Young (award), out of the bullpen. The resilience of the team – I think we led the league in coming back from behind. So a lot of good stuff happened, and a lot of guys participated in the 96-win season. It’s going to be one of those seasons you’re not going to appreciate for a couple of weeks.”

On losing a game you led, when you had a chance to get back to Atlanta for Game 5

“That hasn’t even come to my mind yet. In my mind, I was trying to count outs and try to get through the game. I think on the plan ride back, you start thinking about those things, that we were that close to having a Game 5 back at our place, and you know how successful we’ve been at home. It just didn’t happen.”

On it possibly being McCann’s last game, what will your remember most about what he’s done?

“I’m not even thinking about that. We don’t know that’s happening or not.”


On whether it was as tough a loss as he’s had to take

“A broken heart. We’re winning 3-2, we have one of the best relievers this year on the team, and he gave it up but it’s part of the game. You go out there and try to do the best you can. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. It happened today. Too bad. Now we’ve got to look forward to next year, the team.

“For myself, it’s another game. I had a lot of fun. It’s a tough lineup to face. Like I said yesterday, I want to pitch my way. I did it. I gave up solo shots. I pitched six innings and kept the guys in the game and we got the lead 3-2 in the seventh. Too bad we couldn’t keep it. I think it’s part of the game and they played great. Wish them all good luck in the next round.”

On nobody figuring Garcia vs. Kershaw goes Braves’ way

“Well, I like people to think that way so I can prove them wrong. I’ve faced a lot of great guys in my career and I’ve beat them before. That wasn’t different today. I went out there and did my job I always try to do.”

On what he said to Carpenter in the dugout after the game

“Keep your head up. Don’t get it in your head because it happens. You’ve got a long career. You’ve got a great arm. Just keep working, keep pitching because it happens to the greatest. It’s not the first time it’s going to happen. You pitch long enough you’re going to have a lot of those but you’re going to see success most of the time.”

On how pleased with his outing in clutch situation

“I’m really happy for myself but it doesn’t matter because we lost. We win as a team. We lose as a team. So it doesn’t matter what I did. In the end, we lost. From here I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ll keep working and see what happens next year.”

On being upset after Crawford’s second homer

“I throw the change-up and it cut a little bit but he’s hot right now. He hit everything down inside. I made a mistake right there. Two solo shots. It hurt.”


On what happens now

“I don’t know. It’s something I’ve never been through. I’ve got two kids at home, so that’s what I’ll be doing. To lose in the postseason, it’s tough to go home.”

On Garcia

“He was great. He did exactly what we all expected him to do. He was mixing speeds. His split really had some depth to it. He kept them off-balance.”

On leading league in home runs, beat on home runs, best bullpen in league, bullpen lost lead

“It’s just one of those games. We handed it over to the bullpen. David Carpenter has been unbelievable all year long and he was good tonight. He just hung one pitch and Juan Uribe, he didn’t miss it. He had electric stuff tonight. It’s just the way it was. Tip your hat to Juan.”

On if he thinks it’s his last game in Braves uniform

“Man, I’m not sure. It’s kind of hard to think about that right now. I’m just going to try to put it in the back of my mind and whatever happens is going to happen.”

On if capturing moments today, trying to remember things as last game

“There’s definitely a chance. And I’m just trying not to think about it and whatever happens is going to happen so I’m just not really thinking about it right now.”

On if it was on mind on way to ballpark facing elimination

“Nah, my focus this whole time has been winning ballgame. That’s all you can do at this level. You can’t worry about your future. You’ve got to worry about the present. That’s kind of what I’ve done.”

On rough night at plate

“Yeah. I didn’t see that coming. Every pitch I had to hit I fouled off. Every pitch I was looking for, he threw the opposite. It was just one of those nights. I haven’t had too many of these but it’s frustrating.”

On contributions with guys stepping up tonight typical of season

“We have a complete team here. Top of bottom. We wish we had more games to play. This is a special group of guys and talent-wise, this is the best team I’ve played on.”

Was situation comfortable with Carpenter because he’s done it all season?

“We have all the confidence in the world in Carp. He’s had an unbelievable season. He’s been a big powerhouse for us. And it’s the right play. It’s the right play.”

On summing up the season

“To win 96 ball games in this league is very tough. I thought from start to finish, with the injuries this club has had, we’ve had some guys step up. Regular season, we had a great season, we got into the postseason and ran into a tough team.”

On work Garcia did

“He’s been here in this stage and he’s done it. He did exactly what we all thought he would. He kept them off-balance. He had a really good split tonight and he went pitch for pitch with Kershaw.”


On how different Kershaw looked than Game 1

“Yeah, he wasn’t the same. I can tell you that. You don’t see a lot of Clayton Kershaw fastballs and sliders and all that stuff going in the dirt as much as it did tonight. We thought we had the upper hand, and we had the upper hand for a while there. He battled, he grinded. I’m sure he’ll be the first one to tell you that he didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but he did it, he made pitches when he needed to.”

On thinking you had momentum, with Garcia hanging with Kershaw

“We thought we were right there. It’s tough to swallow when you get as great a performance as Freddy gave us tonight and I think it’s been years since he pitched in the playoffs. And for him to do what he did in an elimination game is – there’s nothing more we could have asked for. We battled all game, we came up a little short tonight.”

On Carpenter’s tough night

“Yeah you’ve got to remember, David Carpenter pitched us into the playoffs. We wouldn’t have been here without him. He’s been a shutdown guy for the whole year and he was always getting the ball to Craig. Just one mistake. He just left a slider up and that’s what Juan Uribe does. He’s a veteran player and he’s been in the postseason before and he made it pay with that mistake.”


On being a tough way to end it

“We feel like we did everything we could. We battled, it just didn’t go our way. It’s never easy, never fun to go out the way we did. But we battled. There’s nothing we can do about it now.”

“We played well this season. You never know what’s going to happen in the playoffs. We came here and we played a good ballgame (tonight), it just didn’t go our way.”

On Carpenter and bullpen

“They’ve done a great job for us all year.”

On losing after taking lead

“Obviously you don’t want to lose the way we lost, giving up the lead in the eighth inning. But it’s a part of the game. It’s not easy to swallow, but we’ll get over it.”


On the series loss and season

“We’re a good ballclub. We just got beat in a series this week. That’s what it’s about in the postseason, you can’t get beat.”

“This team’s got some thunder, and some young thunder. And some young arms. I think with a few tweaks here and there, this team is on the verge of doing something special. I expect us to bounce back next year and be an even better team.”

Tougher to lose after taking the lead so deep in the game, knowing a Game 5 would’ve been in Atlanta?

“Yeah, because you could almost see the wheels going up on the airplane, and them (Dodgers) having to go with us. When you get the lead right there in the seventh, and your big boys coming in who’ve dominated all year for us … we’ve been spoiled. These guys have pitched big all year for us. Carp’s pitched in some big games. You know, he just made one mistake. That’s why this game can be brutal at times.

“But you’ve got to give credit sometimes – they played a great series and came up with some big hits. And we just couldn’t get it done.”


On realization that season is over

“It’ll probably sink in soon. Chances are we’re not going to have his exact squad back next season, so it’s tough. It was a special group. I love every one of these guys. Hopefully we can get a lot of guys back next year and try to make another run at this and get better and go further next year.”

On Carpenter pitching eighth

“Carpenter’s our guy. He’s been our guy for a while now in that eighth inning. You have your guys. You go to battle with your guys. We wouldn’t have changed it. He was our guy, he’s still our guy. We come back next year and he’s going to be in there and fight for us.”


On season and team

“We had a good group. For me, I’ve been blessed with four great teams, four great groups of guys. We’ve all been family, we’ve all enjoyed picking each other up, we’ve all enjoyed coming to work each day, battling together. When you don’t accomplish a goal that you’ve work so hard for, that you’ve made so many sacrifices for, it’s definitely a disappointment. You feel bad for the guy next to you. You want to pick him up, as we’ve done this year.

“We all realize we didn’t achieve the goal that we set out to do, but we did give our best and I was proud to do it with this group.”

“First place in our division, I’m proud to be a part of that.”


On the series

“For us to scrap one run against Kershaw in the first game, if I do my job a lot better than I did it puts us in a way better spot to at least compete. Once that last out’s made tonight and I start reflecting on what I could have done differently, it just makes me more mad. It’s tough, but it’s part of the game.”

On them bringing back Kershaw on short rest

“You could tell they didn’t want to mess around. They didn’t want to have to go back to Atlanta. I thought he was more crisp today than he was the first game. He was tough tonight, but we still got a couple runs off him and put ourselves in a pretty good situation. But in the playoffs, every mistake is magnified. Perfect example, tonight’s game.”

On it possibly being McCann’s last game

“I’ve been thinking about that in the last few weeks. It’s sad. He’s been huge for my career and I hate to see him go. Who knows?”


On taking late lead

“We were feeling it, and we got close to it. Unfortunately they scored two runs late in the game, and we ran out of opportunities to score more runs.”

On the series

“We didn’t play bad, I thought. But we could have done better. Their offense was on fire, I felt like, in this series. They made us pay for every pitch that stayed down the middle, pretty much.”