“Ender had a great day. He was turning the bat loose. Loved his approach today and how he attacked the ball.”
On the win in general:
“It was a good overall day. We got a strong start out of Mac (Brandon McCarthy). When he got the runs he just kept working. He’s one of those guys who’s not going to give in, he just kept making his pitches and making his pitches, and that’s big. In this ballpark, you get up early and they still have a chance to come back. I just feel like this is one of those places where you’ve got to try to keep scoring, because it’s not safe.”
On bullpen’s 3-2/3 hitless innings:
“It was good. Sammy (Freeman) that was kind of big right there. And Peter (Moylan) came in a got a big double play; great play by Dansby (Swanson) on that, too, just aggressive, attacking the ball to get the double play on Franco there with Peter (pitching). And then Sammy picked him up, and Jesse (Biddle) threw the ball well the last two innings. Really good.”
That how you envision that lineup, what it can do with Acuna batting second behind Albies and in front of Freeman?
“Yeah, and I don’t know how long we’ll go with that, whether we’ll roll with it. But probably will Tuesday (series opener at Mets). I kind of like it. Lot of balance. I have to get used to the pitcher hitting eighth, which I’ve never been a fan of, but in some situations it might be the way to go. So we’ll see.”
So you’ll probably bat Ender eighth or ninth for a while?
“Well, Tuesday (against lefty Steven) Matz. And if this thing goes, we’ll run with it. Shoot, why not? I mean, this is about all of us.”
On Albies leading off eight times in career and starting three of those games with a homer:
“I know (laughs). It’s -- (long pause) --it’s an aggressive little guy. He’s aggressive, he trusts his talents. As you see, he just keeps playing. Making adjustments, and it’s good. And too, this is the ninth time we’ve seen these guys, so they know what he can do and they have good pitchers. So it’s probably been good for him to face a team like that that kind of gets to know him and he has to make adjustments. And he does.”
One month in, how to you assess where the team is?
“I really like where we’re at. It’s real good, I think. As long as we stay in that take-it-day-at-a-time mode and everybody contributing. Defensively I think we’ve been really good; we’re a good defensive team. I don’t see anything abnormally just really great; I see some good baseball being played is what I see. Some guys that are preparing well, some guys that are working hard every day and not taking anything for granted. And the biggest thing is I just want them to let their talents fly, not be afraid to make a mistake, trust their instincts, trust their abilities and have fun playing.”
On scoring 10 runs without Freddie Freeman having a big impact:
“That’s a good thing, because Freddie’s going to get hot in the middle of this too. But that says a lot about all these guys, and I’ve been saying that from the beginning, it hasn’t been one or two guys, it’s been the whole group that have been just kind of doing their job.”
More on defense:
“Camargo made a really good play on that high pop-up in shallow left field, too. You forget about it, but that wasn’t an easy play. He went a long way from where he was to get that.”
“It gets overshadowed, Markakis has a two-run single that doesn’t leave the infield. Credit that to Ozzie. I mean, I’ve been over there (coaching) at third, and I told Wash, isn’t that cool when guys are running so hard you can’t stop them? And that’s what Ozzie was doing, he was looking to score. And when they push the envelope like that and force you to send them, good things happen. He had a great jump off of it and he was looking to score, and that’s a credit to Ozzie, and Wash (Ron Washington) for keeping him going.”
Are you pleased with how things have gone for you (4-0, 3.09 ERA in six starts) in the first month of the season?
“Yeah, I think all of us should be. We’ve played really well against some good teams. We’ve executed well, we’ve pitched well, we’ve had some offensive-explosion games. We’ve done a lot of things well against a division team that we’re going to be racing with all year. I think we’ve set a good tone.”
On making great pitches to get out of a first-inning jam:
“Yeah, I made some terrible pitches to get myself into it, but at least cleaned up my mess. Which set a nice tone for the day. To not put us in a deficit early. I was proud to be able to get out of that, but a little pissed off to get myself into that mess that quick.”
On the young guys in the lineup, what they’ve been able to do over the first month:
“It’s been really good. Ozzie obviously is doing some ridiculous things right now. You’re seeing early the way teams are already pitching to (Ronald) Acuna; we’re (five) games in (his career) but he’s not being pitched like someone they’re just trying to figure out. For him to lay off some of those pitches hitting in that two-spot with Freddie hitting behind him is really impressive and, I think, sets a good mark for him that this could be better than we think.”
On team’s defense in the first month:
“They’ve been great. We have two fantastic catchers that set a good tone, and defense behind us is really good. I thought it was smart, knowing that we don’t have five aces rolling out there, that to make sure you have solid defense behind us. That and offensively have been fantastic. Guys picking balls, diving catches, they’ve done a little bit of everything so far.”
On the team’s overall impressive start:
“We’ve been pretty consistent almost from opening day. There’ve been no major lulls. We haven’t won 10 in a row, we haven’t lost (many). We’re playing good baseball very consistently. So that’s the most important thing, when you stretch it over 162 games you’d rather have a team that just does that, that plays really well for long stretches instead of really hot, really cold, really hot, really cold, which can deflate a team pretty quickly. Just keep executing, do everything we need to do for six months and things should turn out well.”
On batting leadoff instead of second in the order:
“It’s the same for me, just trying to do what I need to do.”
On contributions from so many again Sunday:
“Yeah, I like the way we played today. Inciarte had three hits, Acuna two hits, Camargo with the home run. We’re just going out there and just playing the game and getting the W’s....
“We’re having fun on the field and doing what we’ve got to do.”
On what he looked for on the first pitch of the game, when he hit the homer:
“Just see the ball and hit the ball. I was trying to be aggressive and it came out good for me.”