Braves quotes after Thursday’s loss to the Blue Jays

Fredi Gonzalez discussed the good and bad from rookie Matt Wisler's performance and the Braves lack of hits in a 5-0 loss to Toronto Thursday. (Video by David O'Brien)

Braves quotes from Matt Wisler, Andrelton Simmons and Fredi Gonzalez after Thursday’s 5-0 loss to the Blue Jays.

**FREDI GONZALEZ

Have you seen progress lately from Wisler, or not enough?

“He gave us six innings. That was a big goal and we pushed him a little bit, we wanted him to go back out there. We gave him that challenge. In the fourth inning I brought him in and said, you need to stay out there. If you’re OK, you’re healthy, let’s keep pushing.

“The four-run inning, most of the hits came (when) he was ahead in the count and the balls were coming back over the plate, not hitting his spots. You do that to a good hitting team like this, you’re going to get hurt. But other than that, he gave us six innings. I know in the grand scheme of things that’s not that big a deal, but it is when you’re developing young pitching. It is for them to go back out there an extra two innings and compete.”

Both homers on fastballs ahead in count, 0-1 and 0-2

“Yeah, to those hitters, Encarnacion was one, and Pennington. He needs to get better in those counts, not give in to those hitters.”

On Wisler’s progress in couple of starts since the relief appearance

“To me it’s night and day. The way he’s been able to go about it ever since he pitched those two innings out of the bullpen in Washington. He’s been aggressive. Now we’ve got to make pitches when you get ahead in the count, you can expand a little bit in those counts. And again, that’s just the learning process we go through with a young pitcher.”

On Estrada, not a big marquee-name guy, Braves didn’t advance a runner to second base against him all night

“We didn’t get any good hacks. He’s the same way as (Bartolo) Colon. He’s got a little better fastball than Colon, but he changes speeds, he changes locations with his fastball, and he’s tough to score on.”

Did the runners being in motion on Pennington homer maybe distract Wisler a little?

“I don’t know. But for Navarro, who’s not a base-stealer by any stretch of the imagination, when he’s running on that 0-2 pitch, that’s something we need to address, something (Wisler) needs to address. Maybe he’s just coming set and looking at the guy, falling into a pattern. Because if it’s Revere or Goins or one of those guys, OK, you can live with that. But Navarro? That’s not something you want taking an extra base on you.”

**MATT WISLER

Can you take some positives from this performance?

“Yeah, there were some positives I can take tonight. My slider was the best it’s been pretty much in a long time. Obviously you’ve got to look at the negatives, though. I mean, that fourth inning really cost us the game. I’ve got to clean that up, with the lefties and stuff. That’s still my Achilles heel, the ones that beat me tonight. I didn’t let too many of the righties get to me, but the lefties got to me.”

Giving up homers on fastballs when ahead in the count to Encarnacion and Pennington

“The one to Encarnacion was just a mistake pitch. He’s going to hit that pitch out if you leave it there. So that one, kind of like, whatever. Obviously that’s a pitch I missed. But the one to Pennington, I can’t let that happen. Two guys on base, I’m up in the count, I’ve got to make a better pitch to get out.”

Did the runners in motion throw you off at all on the pitch to Pennington?

“No, I didn’t even notice it. I know Navarro was on second, so I wasn’t really paying too much attention to him, like I should have probably. But I’ve just got to make a better pitch there.”

That team doesn’t let you get away with mistakes, do they?

“No. I felt pretty good tonight for the most part. I mean, my slider was good tonight to the righties. I didn’t really throw it to the lefties; probably need to start incorporating that a little bit more. But, I mean, tonight the bottom of the order really got to me more than anything.”

“… In the fourth inning I could have easily quit, like I had been in August. So luckily I battled through that, and I feel mentally stronger coming out there and not caving in. After I got through that Fredi called me over and said, ‘Hey, we need you to try and pitch longer than this.’ So I got through the fifth and sixth innings, I battled.”

**ANDRELTON SIMMONS

On Marco Estrada’s eight scoreless, three-hit innings, no runner to second base. What made him so effective?

“I don’t know. I guess he mixed up his pitches good. Couple of balls hit hard, but I don’t know. I don’t know. We just haven’t been swinging the bat like we should. I guess you’ve got to give him some credit, but we’ve just got to do better.”

Do guys like that sometimes frustrate you more when they’re not overpowering you like guys with 99-mph fastballs do?

“It’s frustrating when you haven’t been playing good and still can’t get results. I’m not saying he’s a bad pitcher, I’m just saying, like, I didn’t see anything that we shouldn’t be able to score some runs. Yeah, it’s frustrating not being able to produce runs.”