Here is what Braves manager Brian Snitker said after a 3-1 victory over the Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Sunday.
Q. In the ninth, did you figure they were going to walk Brian (McCann) to get to (Dansby) Swanson? And then taking this a little farther, until you ran for McCann you had a left-handed hitter available in Ortega and you left Swanson up there.
A. I wasn't going to pinch-hit for anybody there. It's kind of -- after I ran Billy (Hamilton), then I just figured (Rafael) Ortega would be the next runner for Brian if it worked out that way. I didn't know. That's a move that's made. I mean, I love Dansby in those situations. I always have. That kid lives for that moment. And he's been big for us the last few years since he's been up. But I understand why.
Q. In Game 1 they had not walked Dansby intentionally to maybe get (Mark) Melancon out of the game. And afterwards Mike Shildt kind of implied that he really liked that (Carlos) Martinez-Swanson matchup. I think he said today Dansby was 0-for-6 against him, and yet he hits the first pitch he sees off the bottom of the wall. How do you explain that?
A. Dansby is swinging the bat pretty good. I love when teams narrow him down to that situation, because he's -- there's something about his DNA, he likes that spot. And I get it. That matchup, it's a good matchup for them, with Martinez on Dansby. But, like I say, Dansby is a kid that thrives in that situation.
Q. You've been able to limit the Cardinals to one run the past two games. They'll obviously be playing with a lot of urgency tomorrow. How do you intend to attack the Cardinals tomorrow?
A. I think our guys have done a really good job. Our bullpen's just been nails. (Mike) Soroka tonight was, my God, it was about as good as you can get. And we'll continue to do our game plan and what we do against them. Hopefully the outcome will be the same.
Q. What did you think of the way Soroka handled not only the stage and the situation but the matchup with (Adam) Wainwright?
A. I thought he handled it just like I thought he would handle it. This kid is like we've talked, I alluded to this morning when we talked, and just the maturity, the ability to slow a game down, to stay in the moment, to kind of battle the inner battles of the hitter, the inning, the whole thing and trying to win that battle. It doesn't surprise me how he did. And going against a great postseason pitcher and he handled the moment very well.
Q. Who is pitching tomorrow? And, second, in the eighth, when they had first and second, did you anticipate that (Harrison) Bader might try to run there?
A. Yes, I did. And I mean he's looking to run all the time. He's fearless. He's one of those guys in the game that he can steal a base when everybody expects him to steal a base. That's a pretty good trait to have. And some of our conversations at the mound when I went out there were along those lines, that this guy, he's going to look to run. He's going to look to run. I think Darren (O’Day) did a great job in how he handled that situation, because that's that kid's game. And he's good at it, too. He's fearless. You steal bases, that kid's a thief and he's good at it.
Q. Pitcher tomorrow?
A. We're going to talk about -- we've kind of been just -- right now we've kind of been -- this is a tough-fought game. There's a lot laid out there, an emotional game for everybody concerned. We really haven't had a chance -- when I get back in there things will calm down and we'll talk about that.
Q. You're one out away from going down 2-1 in the series and facing elimination tomorrow. And as it ends up, you guys are dancing off the field and you could end it tomorrow. Have you experienced anything like this, your brief managerial career?
A. Not at all. Not at all. Like I said this morning, it's more amazing that I'm here than Adam Wainwright, quite honestly. And last year was different, just because of the expectation where we were, the games. This is a totally different thing emotionally, and I'll be honest with you, than I've ever been a part of. It doesn't compare to anything. And I don't know that it's something that you ever get used to. I sit there, I told Walt in the ninth inning, can you believe we choose to do this? It's just unbelievable. But it was really cool to see the guys -- this is what they do. This has been their DNA for a couple years now. I said it's like an NBA game. You don't want to leave this team in the seventh inning because they could lay around dead in the water and everything happened in the last hour of the game or 30 minutes of the game. That's kind of what they do. They never quit. They never give up. The heart and desire and will is unbelievable in those guys. Doesn't always work out. But I know the DNA of this team is really, really good.
Q. Obviously you had some key injuries down the stretch of the season, and Austin Riley slid a little bit. Did you know on some level that you were going to have to get some contributions from unlikely sources to make a run in the playoffs?
A. You kind of look at that, you hope. You don't know if it's going to happen. You've been and you see situations in the postseason where stars are born and things, guys come that haven't had a big, maybe, impact early or late in a team. They come late. There's stories like that all over the game in the postseason. And you know what? You hope you're a part of that, and you have somebody that does that, because if it is it's a really good thing. And so far it's been a really good thing.
Q. Now that it's over and your team did many good things today, but can you appreciate what you saw from Wainwright today?
A. My God, I told (pitching coach Rick Kranitz) during the game, this is amazing how this guy just keeps reinventing himself every year, and it's almost like year to year with him. He's always had that ability to spin the ball. He had that when he was a kid. But just how he -- like (John) Smoltz used to drop that. All he's worried about is getting guys out. He doesn't care how he does it. He just pitches and pitches and competes, and, like I said the last three days or since we've had this series going on, I respect, admire that guy so much for everything he's accomplished in his career. That's vintage Adam right there, just going out and leaving it all out there. And we just -- we couldn't get anything going. He just made pitch after pitch after pitch. And never gives in. That's the thing, he never gives in. Got no pulse on the mound. I mean, he's a true pro. And I'm glad we won the game. He did great. Like I say, I just admire the hell out of that guy.
Q. You guys had struggled with runners in scoring position in this playoff and the last year. How much confidence can you gain moving forward from what you were able to do in the ninth inning? And is that one of the last skills that young hitters learn in terms of delivering in those situations in real clutch moments?
A. You know what, I think that can be a team thing. It goes two-out RBIs, things like that, even over the course of the season you run into those ruts. And it's the mindset. And the mindset is guys try to do too much; everybody wants to be the guy. You press. It's one of those things that a two-out RBI here and there, a big hit can almost take the burden off of everybody and then it just flows. I mean, it's one of those things that if you could figure out how to not have that, it would be better than -- I'd make a lot more money than all the launch angle, exit velocity all that kind of stuff would be. But it's one of those things human nature, I think. A lot of it because guys want did to do good and be the guy and be there for their teammates. It's a tough spot. And you'll get into runs where it just flows, you know what I mean? I don't know that there's an explanation for it.
Q. What does it say about Dansby to have last year to miss the postseason when he's hurt, this year he gets hurt again, misses a month, struggles down the stretch. A lot of people are criticizing him. For him to step up like he did, what does it say about him? People talk about him about being a winning player. Is that an example?
A. Yeah, I've said earlier, I've always liked him in those situations. I've never not liked him in that defining moment of a game. For some reason, I feel like he lives for that. His DNA is to live for that. And he battled through it. He fought me a couple times when I gave him days off after he came back. And it wasn't even about him. It was about kind of (Adeiny Hechavarria); I wanted to get him out there because he wanted to keep playing, because it was like I needed bats to get going. And at the end of the year, that last week, he started clicking a little bit. And you're seeing now his at-bats have been better and better the last 10 days. And he's always a guy that the spotlight's never too bright for him.
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