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September 17, 2012

The Week in Quotes

September 10-16

by Hudson Belinsky, Jonah Birenbaum, Andrew Koo and Matthew Rocco

BOBBY V WITH ANOTHER GEM
“This is the weakest roster we've ever had in September in the history of baseball. It could use help everywhere.”
—Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine on the state of his team, which was recently decimated by a blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Ian Harrison, ESPNBoston.com)

"If there are people who could be brought up, we should bring them up. But I don't know that there's a lot of guys left."
—Valentine

RAYS LOSE GROUND AFTER SWEEP IN BALTIMORE
“It's too late. I don't want to say we have time, because we don't have time. We don't have time to lose any more games, especially one-run games when we have opportunities. We've got to start saying that now. Realistically, we may have a few we can lose here and there, but we've got to have the mentality of going out and winning every game.”
—Rays third baseman Evan Longoria on what his team will have to do to make the postseason. (Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times)

“Honestly, I don't even know if it was underneath my glove or what. I know it hit my glove on the bottom. It was hard to tell exactly what happened. The only thing I can tell you is that I didn't come up with it.”
—Rays outfielder Matt Joyce, who, despite a valiant effort, couldn’t come up with Manny Machado’s game-winning, walk-off single in the bottom of the 14th in Baltimore’s dramatic, 3-2 victory on Thursday.

“It's the same old story. We just can't score enough runs.”
—Rays manager Joe Maddon

NATIONALS ADJUSTING TO ROTATION WITHOUT STRASBURG
“I don’t think he’s ready for a straitjacket, if that’s what you’re getting at. … Stephen is doing fine. He’s handling it.”
—Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty on Stephen Strasburg, who was shut down for the rest of the season. (Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post)

“If we buy into what everyone’s saying about shutting down Stras, I mean, you’re calling us out of it before it even happened. I think Stras has had a big impact on us, and a big part of why we’re in first place. But at the same time, everyone else has been contributing.”
—Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (Amanda Comak, The Washington Times)

“He kind of deflected a whole lot of media attention away from the rest of a team that has been playing very well. I think a guy like me, it helps me a little bit because I don’t get caught up in everything.”
Pitcher Ross Detwiler

“I just wanted him, if he had something to say, good, bad and different, to voice it. Because a lot of what is said to [the public] is filtered.”
—The Nationals' Mark DeRosa sat next to Strasburg in the dugout only hours after the pitcher was given the news. (James Wagner, The Washington Post)

“I don’t want to see him beat himself up.”
—DeRosa said he wanted Strasburg to know that his teammates don’t feel like they’re being let down.

“I don’t think it’s as big as running across the bottom of the ESPN ticker is making it out to be. I just think it’s a situation where he knew it, we knew it coming into spring training. We knew we were going to be good. To say we were going this good and be in this position remained to be seen at the time. This would be a non-story if it was last year. But it’s not. But it’s a situation where you’ve got to deal with it. But I just wanted to tell him, I didn’t want him to feel like he was letting anybody down or letting us down. Absolutely. We all knew it. We all understand that situation is out of his control, for the most part.”
—DeRosa

PHILLIES NOT OUT OF IT JUST YET
“We’re cautiously optimistic. There’s still a long way to go and a lot of things have to happen for us to get there. But one thing we have done in the past is play good baseball at the end of the year. That’s something we’ve done for several years. I think it’s a product of, one, some of our veterans who’ve been through it and, two, a little bit of energy that’s been injected by young guys getting an opportunity.”
—Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro on Philadelphia's playoff hopes. A seven-game winning streak helped the Phillies climb above .500 for the first time since June 3. They now sit 3.5 games out of a wild-card spot. (Tyler Kepner, The New York Times)

“We're in it. I'd say we're dead in it, yeah.”
—Phillies manager Charlie Manuel (Todd Zolecki, MLB.com)

DARVISH DUELS COUNTRYMAN IWAKUMA
“We are friends, and sometimes we get dinner together and sometimes we talk on the phone. I'm looking forward to pitching against him. Of course, it's fun waiting to face each other at the major-league level. In Japan, we played against each other a couple games. So we expect that, it's just now we're here.”
Hisashi Iwakuma, through his translator, before he squared off with Rangers starter Yu Darvish on Friday. It was the first time they opposed each other in the U.S. (Greg Johns, MLB.com)

“Their lineup is really tough, more than other teams. So I really concentrated for this game and was very energized to pitch. I got hit by two home runs, but I tried to keep pitching and just minimize the damage. Of course Darvish did a good job for the game entirely, so I just hung in there.”
—Iwakuma, after the Rangers won, 9-3, scoring seven runs off the Mariners bullpen. (Greg Johns, MLB.com)

“Instead of trying to incorporate all the weapons he has, he’s coming out of the bullpen recognizing what’s working and he’s using them. One time it’s his slider, one time it’s his four-seamer. Today, it was his cutter ... and the slow breaking ball.”
—Rangers manager Ron Washington on Darvish effectively utilizing his deep pitch arsenal. (McClatchy News Services, The News Tribune)

“The hitters, I felt like they were starting to time all my other pitches, or their timing was starting to come together. I talked it over with (catcher Geovany) Soto during the game to start using that slower curve more.”
—Darvish on his slow, confounding mid-60s curveball, which he threw 11 times, generating seven whiffs.

“We had it in the report and you see it, but it's a tough pitch. It's something you're not used to, especially with a guy throwing up in the mid-90s. It definitely throws your timing off a little bit, and he used it real well. He located real well with it. He didn't waste too many of them. When he threw them, he threw them with a purpose.”
—Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager

ANGELS STILL CHASING
“Our goal when we came to spring training was to go to and win the World Series. That's our goal today. What constitutes a disappointment or a success? It's all relative. A successful season can be viewed as such in a much different way in December than it would be viewed in October. I think you have to use good sense. I think you have to be smart in the decisions you make. But at the end of the day, we believe we have the talent to be a World Series contender and to this point we still are.”
—Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, who is withholding judgment until the season ends. The team is 2.5 games back with 15 games to go. (Bill Plunkett, Orange County Register)

“I think what we're seeing is what we expected: a whole new division that opens up the last month of the season. I don't know if it's good or bad that we're in that division, because you'd certainly like to be leading your own division as opposed to trying to get your way into have an opportunity to win and make the playoffs. But we are where we are. You're still in the hunt.”
—Manager Mike Scioscia, on the extra wild card. (Vinnie Duber, MLB.com)

“The A's and Orioles are great stories that periodically happen in baseball, and that could include the 2002 Angels.”
—Dipoto (Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times)

CRUZ EMERGING IN DODGERTOWN
“Sometimes when you’re in the minor leagues, you get frustrated, but I never quit. I always thought I could play here. And my dad and my family supported me all the time. And I’m here and very happy. Maybe it’s [my story], but there are a lot of Mexican people here and a lot of Mexicans played here before. I don’t know, I just feel good here. Hopefully I can stay here for awhile.”
—Dodgers infielder Luis Cruz, an unlikely emerging hero. Cruz hit a three-run homer that propelled the Dodgers over the Cardinals on Friday. (Steve Dilbeck, Los Angeles Times)

“I think he’s been one of those guys on this team that nobody really talks about, yet he’s come up with big hit after bit hit and played great defense. To me, right now he’s possibly one of the better players on the team, playing consistently at a high level.”
—Left fielder Shane Victorino

“He's shown he can play here, and I think people like to see that. He's been holding the team up a lot with his bat, and he's a pretty good defensive player. He's got power, and he's got a good approach at the plate. It's good to see a guy like that finally get a chance and show everybody what he can do.”
Bobby Abreu (Lyle Spencer, MLB.com)

“It's like a dream come true for me. I spent 12 years in the minors, and now I want to take advantage of the opportunity they have given me. I come every day to play 100 percent and have fun.”
—Cruz

DUSTY BAKER’S FUTURE WITH REDS STILL UNCERTAIN
“Everybody likes security, but I'm not afraid of the unknown. … The only thing missing on my resumé is a championship, and that will come.”
—Reds manager Dusty Baker, who is in the final year of his contract. (Bob Nightengale, USA Today)

“It's weird, man, that he hasn't been extended yet, because this guy is so good. He may be (63), but he's just as hip as a 30-year-old. People want to discount those types of things, but for the same reason he can go out to a jazz club and hang out after a game and mix it up with people, is the same reason he's close to the ballplayers. There's no wall with him.”
—Reds starter Bronson Arroyo on Baker.

“We had brief discussions in spring training, but said, ‘Let's just play the year out. And then let's talk.’”
—Reds general manager Walt Jocketty

TWITTER

—Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, on one of the most bizarre plays of the year. Rizzo slapped a ground ball to Astros’ second baseman Jimmy Paredes, whose errant throw forced Brett Wallace to jump off of first base. Rizzo dodged Wallace with an acrobatic leap into foul territory and appeared to suffer a serious injury. The 22-year-old missed a couple days, but he returned to the lineup on Friday night. (Paul Sullivan, @PWSullivan, Chicago Tribune)

—Toronto starter Carlos Villanueva wasn’t thrilled about comments his GM, Alex Anthopolous, made about his inability to hold up over a 200-inning season. (Chris Toman, @Chris_Toman, MLB.com)

—McCarthy continues to make progress since sustaining a serious head injury on September 5. (Brandon McCarthy, @BMcCarthy32)

—Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen was not happy about some of the things Buster Olney wrote about him and his club. On the bright side, Ozzie is back to tweeting after a long hiatus. (Ozzie Guillen, @OzzieGuillen)

THE REST
“That’s the last guy you want to see go down. One hundred percent I was worried.”
—Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, who held his breath along with the entire city of New York after teammate Derek Jeter sustained an ankle injury trying to beat out a double play in the eighth inning of New York’s 5-4 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday night. (David Waldstein, New York Times)

“We’re seeing the Greg Maddux effect take over. He’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Maddux for the simple fact he’s got the devastating change-up. Doggie [Maddux] would kill you with command of the fastball and cutter early in the count, and then put you away with the change-up. And Medlen is able to make the ball start off on the plate and come back on the corner. The one difference, Doggie could make the ball go both ways on both sides of the plate. Med doesn’t have the cutter, but he’s got a better breaking ball than Doggie did. But the approach to getting people out is the same.”
—Braves veteran Chipper Jones had high praise for pitcher Kris Medlen. (David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

“He does a great job with communication, and he's not afraid to put the hammer down when he needs to. He's got a lot of light-heartedness about him, too, but he's all business. I think the players have fun when you're playing for a manager like that. I think we absolutely got the right guy in there.”
—Former Braves manager Bobby Cox on current manager Fredi Gonzalez. (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)

“I think it's a great reminder of no matter how strong an offensive club you are, you have to do the little things. How many times have we talked this season about missed opportunities and not doing the little things? Yesterday, that was really the most frustrating part of that game—the little things. Not getting the bunts down, not getting guys over, not making the routine plays. I don't care how good an offensive team you have; if you're not doing those things, it's going to bite you.”
—Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com)

“We’re all frustrated by and upset with the performance and seriously looking at what do we need to do both to finish the year appropriately and make sure this isn’t something we ever see again. … I don’t think it’s ever fair to speculate on people’s jobs. My approach has always been to fully support the team we have in place, and when it’s time to make a change, we make a change. … There are loads of reasons and explanations (for the slide), but the bottom line is we’re not playing acceptable baseball. There’s nothing acceptable about the way we’ve played the last couple weeks. We recognize that, and we’re going to do everything we can to correct that.”
—Pirates owner Bob Nutting on the team's second-half struggles. (Rob Biertempfel and Karen Price, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

“There are issues in a lot of areas that put us where five is a better way to go as a standard rule. One, in terms of the length of the season, can the guys recover when you have all those consecutive days (of games)? We were in situations where we had to bump a guy back or use another guy. Recovery was one. Development was another, because their side work was really limited between games. We were really limited on how much they could do to work on their delivery; that was difficult as well.”
—Rockies assistant general manager Bill Geivett, on the decisions leading to returning to a five-man rotation in 2013. (Troy E. Renck, The Denver Post)

“As far as the game goes, I don't think my mental level has changed much. Every single outing matters—whether it's the seventh, eighth, or ninth inning—especially a year and a half into my career. So I just attack it all the same way. I haven't really had time to think about what it is to be a closer or whatever. I'm still trying to figure out what I do.”
—Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen, on his quiet success as the team’s ninth-inning man. (Greg Johns, MLB.com)

Jonah Birenbaum is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jonah's other articles. You can contact Jonah by clicking here
Andrew Koo is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Andrew's other articles. You can contact Andrew by clicking here

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Premium Article Collateral Damage Dail... (09/17)
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