Braves quotes from Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Dan Uggla, Paul Maholm and manager Fredi Gonzalez after Sunday’s win and sweep against Arizona.
“He did a nice job. He did a real nice job getting us deep in the ballgame, even that last out against Kubel, striking him out with the bases loaded. Our pitching did a nice job this whole series, they really did from the starting pitching all the way to the bullpen. Varvaro comes in there in the seventh with the bases loaded and pops up Pollock, who’s been terrorizing us for a couple days, and then Carpenter did a nice job.
“We swung the bats extremely well this series. We kept the line moving when we had to, and Freeman and McCann today both hit home runs, and it was a good day.”
On sweep vs. first-place club
“This (Arizona) is a good club. They’re a little banged up. It’s a good club. It’s nice to play well when you’re playing a first-place team from another division.”
On little things like Heyward slide before Freeman homer, and success vs. Goldschmidt
“I pointed it out on a TBS program, on the boxscore you don’t even see that play – Jason going into second base and keeping that rally going for Freddie to hit that three-run homer. And that’s big. That’s big hustle. Goldschmidt – Roger and our pitching did a nice job of minimizing the damage or pitching around him a little bit and getting him out. He’s a hell of a player and having a great year.”
On how they handled Goldschmidt
“We threw quality strikes and luckily he hit into a couple double plays. Tough double plays, I think both of them were 3-6-3 or 3-6-1 with first-and-thirds or those situations where very easily those balls could go through, so our pitching was not only good, our defense was even better.”
On Freeman coming through again with runners on base
“He continues swinging a hot bat, and I think with McCann behind him now and starting to see the old McCann it’s going to be more difficult for other teams to navigate around him like we saw against the Mets. They said anybody behind Freeman is going to have to beat us. So I hope now with Mac swinging the bat that’s going to be a tough task.”
On Uggla doing better with the contacts
“He’s swinging the bat well. I think he had one of his best months, this month of June. I think B.J. did the same thing, had a good month. So hopefully that continues. Those averages, the .202s and .203s and .180s, it’s going to be tough to raise them. But if you look at the individual months or series or you look at 10-day periods, you see good batting averages, base on balls totals, home runs, I think in the big picture that’s going to be good.”
On the first half of the season
“We couldn’t be in a better place really. Here we are complaining, and everybody has got something, whether you don’t pitch good enough and you’re in first place or you don’t hit, or you strike out. There’s not a perfect team out there but we’re in first place and pitching good. We feel like we still haven’t swung the bats like we’re capable of swinging so you feel good. It’s a good place to be.”
On satisfaction of coming through with runners on base, two outs
“Yeah, definitely. We played a great game today. Paul pitched great, and Danny and Mac and I got some big home runs. It’s always nice when you win the first two games of the series to go out there and get on them early, hopefully knock them down early, and that’s what we did.”
On his second first-pitch homer in as many days
“I just put my foot down and swung, hoped for the best, and I was able to get it out there today.”
On sweeping the Dbacks
“The first three games of this homestand have been great. We’ve got an off day tomorrow. Rest up, and hopefully we can get back against the Marlins and do what we did against the Diamondbacks.”
On Heyward’s takeout slide on the Upton fielder’s choice before Freeman’s homer
“And Justin hustling down, that (homer) wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t do that. They never give up. If they hit a groundball, they’re going to be running hard.”
Fan of the contact lenses you’ve been wearing lately?
“Yeah, we’re still tweaking them but it’s been a lot better week than the past. So, yeah.”
Today, (contacts) felt good all day?
“Daytime is a little different than night time, for whatever reason I don’t know. I guess your pupils are smaller during the day which helps out. But yeah, just gonna keep going.”
On Freeman being the constant in clutch situations
“Yeah he’s been our horse all year. Justin carried us in April but Freddie has really come on since he’s been back off the DL, and that’s the type of player he is. He’s just starting to scratch the surface of his talent level. And he’s starting to figure that out, and starting to realize how good he is.
“It’s a fun thing to watch and it’s cool to see him especially with runners on base. They don’t even have to be in scoring position, he just locks in that much more. More times than not he’s going to get the job done.”
On the offense nine or 10 innings (including seven-run eighth inning Saturday)
“Today was a good day. We finally put some runs across yesterday in the eighth inning or so. You can’t ever pick and choose when you’re going to score runs. You’ve got to grind out at-bats. You’ve got to battle and have some timely hitting. You’ve got to ride the wave when it comes.”
“Awesome. Pauly, he’s great. He comes out and battles and really knows how to pitch. He can get a double play with the best of them. We got him a lead and he took care of the rest.”
On making it look easy to get a double-play grounder on command
“He really does. I don’t know how he does it but he knows how to set hitters up and get them to chase a ball down in the zone maybe and more times than not it’s a groundball to somebody.”
On showing what lineup can do when guys are swinging the bat well
“The home runs have kind of slowed down a little bit, but that’s just baseball. We’re still human. We’re still going to battle. We’re still going to have to make adjustments. So we do need to get better at situational hitting – an believe me, myself included, I’m leading the pack with needing to get better in situational hitting. But I think we have the personnel to do that and the personnel to make the adjustments. Of course we’ve always got the power.”
On his performance, how he felt
“I felt good. I made some pitches when I had to. Obviously had some baserunners and got some double plays. The defense took care of me, and I got some run support early and was able to keep them off the board in the important innings.”
On double-play grounders by Goldschmidt, twice with two on and no outs
“In those situations, I’m not a strikeout pitcher, so even in the first inning my goal is to get a groundball double-play and give up the run. I’d rather give up one and manage the inning rather than try to strike out people and give up three or four early and put us in a hole. For me, the defense is always going to be key, and the guys made some great plays.”
On striking out Kubel with bases loaded for 2nd out in seventh
“I know that’s probably my last batter. I just tried to mix it up. I dropped my arm angle on two of the pitches. But, I mean, it’s left-on-left, I have confidence in getting the guy out and striking him out. I wish he would have hit a nubber and hit into a double play. But whenever you get two strikes, just trying to make sure you make a good pitch, and whatever happens, if you’re going to get beat it’s going to be on your pitch.”
On his 1.93 home ERA, more than three runs lower than on the road
“For my whole career I’ve always pitched better at home. It’s not like it’s something about the road, it just seems like those are the games where it’s a little off and you give up runs. When you’re home, you’re comfortable with everything. As long as we keep playing well at home, I’ll take it. As long as we keep playing well as a team overall and stay where we’re at, that’s the main thing.”
On his hard slide at second base in third, to help Upton avoid double-play grounder before Freeman homer
“Playing the game the right away. Extend the inning for reasons like that, you never know what can happen.”
On Freeman with runners in scoring position
“Really consistent. He’s someone who wants to be in that spot every time. He goes up there and tries to put up a good at-bat, get a pitch to hit hard. He’s come through a lot, obviously. You don’t take it for granted. You really appreciate it.”
On different guys coming through in wins
“That’s a fortunate thing about our team, from guys off the bench to starters, it came be somebody different every night, somebody different every series. You just try and hang in there, battle through the tough spots. But we’re really fortunate to have somebody step up, somebody get hot at the right time, and sort of carry us through those spots in a long season.”
On his good June, after injury-shortened April and May
“It’s a good month. It’s going to take at-bats, take time, anytime you miss time, to come out of it. That’s never an excuse – you’ve got to play, be on the field, to come out of it, and come to the field every day looking to make an adjustment.”
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Quotes compiled by Carroll Rogers and David O’Brien