Braves quotes after Wednesday’s 2-0 win against Nationals

Braves quotes from Williams Perez, Michael Bourn, Peter Moylan and Fredi Gonzlaez after Wednesday’s 2-0 win against the Nationals.

**WILLIAMS PEREZ (throught translator Alex Cotto)

On finishing strong after his midseason, post-injury slump

“It feels really good to finish the season the way I have, especially after coming back from that injury. I was at such a low point. Finishing on this high point, it feels good going into the offseason.”

Biggest difference between that rough stretch and the recent improvement?

“Just having confidence in my stuff. Confidence in letting it do what it does. Just having that confidence that my pitches are going to work.”

Is that confidence why you’ve been able to get back to escaping tight spots repeatedly again in recent starts?

“Yeah, having that confidence. But also doing my homework before the game, looking at video of every hitter before I get into that game and having a plan, knowing what I’m going to throw before I throw it. Thinking a pitch before. That seems to be what helps me in those tough spots.”

On Roger McDowell’s impact on him and other young pitchers lately

“Mucho. Mucho. Roger’s done tremendous. When I came back (from the DL) I still had a couple of things wrong with my mechanics, and Roger told me, ‘We’re going to be working and getting after it, and getting it right.’ Him being on top of me and working with me is what’s helped me get to this point and finish on a high note.”


On team’s five-game home win streak, 7 wins in past 11 games overall, improved pitching

“That’s pretty much baseball. When it’s going good for you, it’s going good. And when it’s not, it’s not. But right now it’s been going good for us. We took two from them, but I mean, they’re probably not in the best mood to play since they just got eliminated from the playoff (race). They had a team that was expected to do some damage. They’ve got a good team, though. We battle with them every day. They’ve got another tough pitcher (Strasburg) going tomorrow. It’s not going to be an easy task, we’ve just got to go out there and try to complete the sweep.”

On saying before homestand it was important to finish strong, and now doing it

“For a while now we knew we probably weren’t going to be in the playoffs, so whenever you know that it’s up to the veterans to kind of show the way to try to keep playing hard, go out there every day and give it all you’ve got for nine innings, try to take some good at-bats, take it one day at a time. It’s not always easy to do, but once you reach a certain stage of your career you like to play meaningful in August and September. Some of the young players, they still have to play for. People like me, Markakis, A.J., Freddie, Edwin, we have to go out there and lead by example even though we know we’re not going to make (the playoffs), we still want to win the ballgame and try to set a good example.”

On what he’s thought of some young pitchers improving quite a bit since Bourn got here in early August

“I always remember when I was young. Man, it’s always a learning experience, to me when you come up here it’s almost like learning a whole different game. There’s a game in the minor leagues, and when you come up here it’s like a totally different game, the speed of the game is different, you’ve got better hitters up and down the lineup. So it’s a learning process. There’s certain people who come up here and have success instantly, but for the most part, take 90-95 percent of the players, you’re going to go through a learning curve. That’s just how it is in baseball. You just have to be patient with them, just don’t forget how you were when you came up.”


On bullpen retiring nine in a row, three relievers

“It’s something you obviously try to do every time you go out there, but for as much issues as the bullpen has had this year, as you guys keep saying (laughs), it is very nice to see the guys have some success out there. And it hasn’t just been tonight, I feel like it’s been the last few weeks. The guys have been throwing the ball a lot better and getting more comfortable every time they go out there.”

On Vizcaino’s success after being thrust into closer role at midseason

“I remember when he came up with us when he was younger, he always had closer’s stuff. I think the difference now is he has the ability to throw a secondary pitch for strikes to get guys off his fastball, and not just rely on 100 (mph) every time, even though that’s nice to have that in the back pocket. But yeah, the maturity he’s shown this year and the growth he’s shown this year, as you said being thrust into that role, it’s certainly going to hold the bullpen in good stead for next year.”

On the improvement of young starters Wisler and Perez in recent weeks

“That’s huge. A pen is only as good as your starting pitching. If the starter is going out there and going three or four innings every time, then your bullpen is going to get worn out. These guys have been going six, seven, eight innings the last few weeks, and it’s given the guys in the pen a chance to get rest. And when they come out there, they’re fresh, they’re able to repeat their mechanics because they’re not drained. The younger guys have done a really good job in these last few weeks.”

On Roger McDowell’s influence on younger pitchers, impact in recent improvement of several of them

“He was my first pitching coach here. He’s helped me so much. Even now, I’ll chat with him about certain things like pitch selection and going back to basics. It’s just a constant reminder that pitching’s tough, but if you go back to basics it can be easier. Don’t try to overcomplicate it, it can be a lot simpler. But yeah, his presence, he can be quite a stern presence, but if you can get past that and you don’t want to be pampered or you don’t want to be coddled all the way through your career, if you can get past that I think he’s fantastic.”

On Pierzynski with young pitchers

“Yeah, he doesn’t pull any punches, either. And it’s a good thing.”


On Williams Perez finishing his season strong

“Absolutely. When he came back from his injury he struggled a couple of different times, but he’s pitched well. Had the sinker going. Got behind in some counts early in the game, but he did a nice job. He really did a nice job, and good for him to finish that way. I think the bullpen did a nice job, retired nine in a row against some pretty good hitters over there. And we were able to score two runs. It’s good baseball we’re playing right now.”

On Perez working out of jams again

“I think they left seven or eight guys on base. We turned a couple of double plays – Simmons, I don’t even know how to score that one, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that one. I think he was looking for three (triple play). I think he was the only guy on the field thinking if I can tag this guy out, with Ramos running I may be able to turn three here. But he’s so special, got a couple of hits. Well played two games.”

On Perez’s mound presence, doesn’t seem like a rookie

“No, and that’s from Day 1. He not only know how to pitch, he changes speeds, and he did that today again.”

Are these perfect bullpen nights starting to get boring? (kidding)

“No, no. Never gets boring. You’re just a hitter away – the pick that Freeman makes, that’s a hell of a pick there from a guy that we’re going to lay off (not play him) and he says, ‘No, even if it’s just defense I want to play.’ We play him for defense and he makes one hell of a play.”

On Vizcaino stepping into that closer role after Grilli injury and Johnson trade

“He’s done a great job. He really is. We’ve given him every opportunity, even when there isn’t a save situation, to finish the game. To get used to finishing games. I think the only hiccups have come when we’ve tried to put him out there for two innigns, maybe that’s a situation that he’s not ready for yet maybe. Now we know going forward that might be something we lay off of.”

On Wisler and Perez improvement down the stretch, encouraging after the rough patch they went through?

“Absolutely. And it’s just a shame that Folty (Foltynewicz) got hurt, and Banuelos. Because it would have been nice to watch those two guys develop down the stretch also and get some more innings in September. But that’s the nature of our game, it’s hard to stay healthy when you play 162.”

Has the improvement of some young guys been reflection of Roger’s work with them?

“I think so. You see guys getting better. You see Wisler getting better, you see Perez. Vizcaino. Marksberry, can’t forget him, he started in A-ball this year and he’s pitching in the back end of major league games.”