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October 14, 2013

The Week in Quotes

October 7-13

by Nick Bacarella, Chris Mosch and Satchel Price

DEJA-VU FOR OAKLAND AGAINST VERLANDER

“Everybody in the ballpark, 50,000 are rooting against me, and yelling as loud as they can. That’s fun for me. I enjoy that. I enjoy it as much as being at home and having that atmosphere as well. You thrive off it. At one point they were chanting ‘Let’s go Oakland’ and in my head every time they said ‘Oakland’ I said, ‘Tigers.’”
—Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander, who disposed of the Athletics in Game Five of the ALDS for the second straight postseason. (George Sipple, Detroit Press Press)

“I've faced Verlander a lot, and that's the best I've ever seen him. He was throwing everything for strikes and when he elevates the fastball just above the strike zone, it's tough. The only time you're going to get to him is if he gets himself in trouble, and he didn't do that.”
—Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson, on Verlander’s Game Five performance. (Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle)

“In the first or second innings, I noticed it had good life and guys were swinging at it and wanted to go with it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
—Verlander, on his fastball, which he relied on 65.7 percent of the time in Game Five. It was his second-highest fastball usage in a start this season.

“It's frustrating. We had a tremendous season and it would be great not to put ourselves in a Game Five against Verlander again, but those are the cards we were dealt. It was a deja-vu situation.”
—Athletics starting pitcher Brett Anderson.

EVERYBODY LOVES MICHAEL WACHA

“From our standpoint, we're kind of in awe with what all these guys are doing, to be honest with you. Mikey's 22 years old. Last year, he was playing at Texas A&M. Last year. I mean, what in the world? He's just ... it's amazing."
—Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, on rookie starting pitcher Michael Wacha, who pitched 6 ⅔ scoreless innings in Game 2 of the NLCS. (Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com)

“The way this kid has gone about it has been ... it's really hard to describe. I don't want to keep describing it, because I'd like to watch it happen a few more times.”
—Cardinals manager Mike Matheny after Game Two.

“It shows maturity. Some guys could come into those situations and think, 'Oh no, I have to face Greinke and Kershaw. We have no shot.' But instead, they rose to the occasion, went out and did the things that they needed to do to give us a chance to win."
—Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter, on Wacha and Joe Kelly, the team’s other young starting pitcher.

“This is a tough spot to be in when you're 22 years old, and he's done a fantastic job and it's so much fun to watch. You watch the emotion, you watch the excitement of what he's doing, the poise. His talent is there, and to watch the mound presence and the things that he's doing throughout the game and in situations has been fantastic. It's been a lot of fun to be a part of it.”
—Carpenter. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)

“I've never experienced his temperament with his kind of stuff. The guy is amazing. He's obviously very confident in his stuff, but his ability to stay focused and stay humble and continue to learn and process the stuff other guys are teaching him and then go out to the field and execute it, is quite amazing.”
—Cardinals catcher Rob Johnson, who caught Wacha in the minor leagues and big leagues this season.

DODGERS BACK UMPIRE ON PHANTOM TAG CALL

“That would be a shame for a great defensive play like that, the great throw by Carlos, and great play by Yadier at the plate to be overturned because of a technicality that he didn't graze him with the glove.”
—Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, on the bang-bang play at home in the 10th inning of Game 1 of the NLCS, where teammate Mark Ellis was called out despite Yadier Molina appearing to miss the tag. (Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times)

“It was pretty obvious I got tagged out. There was a collision at home plate. They're going to call you out every time. You run into it, you're out. That's how they're going to call it.”
—Mark Ellis. (Alyson Footer, MLB.com)

“I hope that's something that doesn't change, because that's an important part of the game. When you're back there personally as a catcher, you're trying to secure the catch and you're not really thinking about tagging. You're trying to hold on to the ball.”
—A.J. Ellis, on a similar play being subject to instant replay once it’s implemented next season.

“There's no umpire alive that I think would call Mark safe because he didn't get tagged right there.”
—A.J. Ellis.

WHERE DO I SIGN UP?

“If I could only manage October, I would be back every year. This is so much fun. But I don't miss the managing. I miss winning and losing. There's a big difference.”
Tony La Russa, on the possibility of coming out of retirement. La Russa and other former St. Louis managers were honored prior to Game Two of the NLCS. (Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times)

“Now that I’m in a different phase of my life, if somebody were to have a conversation with me or somebody thought I would be right for a spot, I’d explore it. I don’t know if I’d take it. I’m smart enough to say I’d listen.”
—Former Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken, on his desire to manage a major league team. (Eduardo A. Encina, Baltimore Sun)

GOOD JOB, GOOD EFFORT

“Anytime you win 90-plus games, it's been a pretty good year, it really is, and regardless of what anyone else might want to say. From my perspective, I'm really proud of our group. I don't want to be cliche-ridden, but there's nothing to hang our heads about, their really isn't.”
—Rays manager Joe Maddon, reflecting on the team’s successful regular season. (Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times)

“We won our division doing things a certain way. We just fell one game short. I don't know that you completely try to do things differently based on coming up a game short.”
—Athletics GM Billy Beane, on whether the organization would make any drastic moves during the offseason. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)

“We definitely had an amazing year. A year to remember. A year that's going to go down in the books forever. Definitely happy to be a part of it.”
—Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, after being eliminated by the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLDS. (Bill Brink, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

TIGERS MiSS NO-HITTER BUT GET KEY ALCS WIN

“Especially in this series, it's not about throwing a no-hitter. As you get some zeros inning by inning, and you face hitter by hitter, and get them out, it's more important. It's more important than the no-hitter at this point."
—Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez on his performance in the team’s 1-0 win over Boston in Game 1 of the ALCS. Detroit lost a combined no-hitter in the ninth inning, but hung on for the victory.

“At times, (Sanchez) probably has some of the nastiest stuff on the team, and this was definitely one of those nights. His ball had so much action on it, I don’t even think he knew where it was going sometimes. And sometimes, I didn’t. That’s what makes him so good — he’s very unpredictable; he throws stuff in counts a hitter wouldn’t normally see, just to keep them off balance.”
—Tigers catcher Alex Avila, on pitcher Anibal Sanchez’s in-game strategy. (Bob Wojnowski, The Detroit News)

“The thing we found out – and we’ve had to do it a couple of times and it kind of backfired – is that Alburquerque, when he comes out for one inning and gives you that good one inning, if you try to send him back out, things don’t normally turn out as good… He was absolutely lights-out.”
—Manager Jim Leyland, explaining his management of the bullpen. (Lynn Henning, The Detroit News)

“You almost feel like you're behind in a place like this, feel like you're behind when you have just one run… With the Monster, although the ball wasn't really carrying tonight, you never feel comfortable. It would have been nice, but there would have been several guys involved no matter what.”
—Leyland, on the pressures of playing on the road at Fenway Park. (Chad Finn, Boston.com)

“Obviously, you can't say this in the heat of the game because you would be mentioning the no-hitter in a way, but I was thinking, ‘If we do no-hit these guys, do we even go out on the field to celebrate?’ I don't think that's right. I think we win the baseball game, we go out there and slap hands and come back in. That sounds crazy. Yeah, no-hitters are great in the regular season and they're exciting for you and us as well, but there are much bigger things going on here.''
—Tigers ace Justin Verlander. (Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com)

“I think I was made to be an everyday player. Sitting and watching, I’m just a ball of nerves.”
—Verlander, on his reaction to the Tigers’ near-combined no-hitter in Game 1 of the ALCS. (Tom Gage, The Detroit News)

“Characteristic of this team all year is to build a pitch count. I thought we were doing that against Sanchez. But the idea is to get to the bullpen, and as we went through that, anytime we had a man on base, he would get a strikeout when needed. But I wouldn't say patience working deep counts was the reason why we didn't get a hit until the ninth."
—Red Sox manager John Farrell.

“I was just trying to get three outs. If it happens, it happens. But I was not worried about the no-hitter. I was just worried about preserving the win."
—Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit, who gave up the single to Daniel Nava that snapped that no-hit bid.

“I wasn't thinking anything about the no-hitter at that point. It was still a 1-0 game. We had been battling all night and we hadn't gotten anything to fall. Fortunately, I got that one to fall."
—Nava. (Ian Browne, MLB.com)

TWITTER

—“Who’s Fabio?”

—Brett Anderson got a solid workout in thanks to Victor Martinez and Grant Balfour.

THE REST

“It's a good feeling you end up winning because you don’t have to answer all those questions. You try to put guys in the right position and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t ... sometimes it doesn't and then it still works ... that’s what happened tonight.”
—Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on the decision to pitch Clayton Kershaw on three days rest in Game Four of the NLDS. (Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times)

“We've all seen Balfour when he pitches. He's yelling at baseballs, blades of grass, the mound, who knows. I think it was the heat of the moment, and Victor took it the wrong way. Balfour doesn't like to get stared down and he pretty much wins the staring contest 100 percent of the time, and he didn't appreciate it.”
—Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick, on the confrontation between Grant Balfour and Victor Martinez in Game Three of the ALDS. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)

“I told the guys here the champagne better get nicer and better as we keep doing this.”
—Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, after winning Game 4 against the Braves and advancing to the NLCS. (Austin Laymance, MLB.com)

“There's no one particular delivery that is superior to another, but there are movements that we're trying to identify and still looking at that will possibly enable a guy to be more consistent with his command and his control and perhaps prevent arm injuries and things like that. That's what we're trying to do. We were doing that down in St. Louis and hopefully we can do that down here in Houston.”
—Astros pitching coach Brent Strom, who worked as the minor league pitching instructor for the Cardinals from 2007 to 2013, overlapping with the time Jeff Luhnow spent as a part of St. Louis’ front office. (Brian McTaggart, MLB.com)

“I still love to play, that's no secret. I still work out like I'm going to be out there every day. I hope to get a chance to get a job for next year. If not, and this is the last hurrah, I can't complain one bit. I can honestly say I never thought I'd play over 13 years in the big leagues. I'm grateful for every opportunity. Physically and mentally, I still feel like I can play at this level."
—Longtime outfielder Juan Pierre. (Joe Frisaro, MLB.com)

“If you go with what's been done in the past, I guess you're going to have to think you're going to get traded. That's kind of the way it's happened with this organization when pitchers kind of get to this period in their career. We've seen it happen a couple of times already. I don't know what's going to happen, but I know what's happened in the past.”
—Rays pitcher David Price, on his offseason expectations. (Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times)

“It would have been unbelievably embarrassing to lose 3 straight to these guys—especially these guys.”
—Rays principal Stuart Sternberg, after his team’s loss to the Red Sox in the ALDS. (Mark Topkin, Tampa Bay Times)

“With almost $100 million coming off their books, they feel they can fill most of their needs and still be under the $189 million. They’re also looking at the rest of the division—and how they were able to hang in with all of them except the Red Sox, with the myriad of injuries and all the transition this year—and they’re confident they can better improve themselves than the others because of their ability to still greatly out-spend them.”
—Unidentified person with knowledge of the Yankees front office, on the team’s plans for the offseason. (Bill Madden, New York Daily News)

“It sounds like he wants to go out and test the market, and talk to whoever he needs or wants to talk to. And that’s not unusual, of course. We want him back. He knows that. Within reason, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that happens. But time will tell.”
—Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner, on the team’s expectations to resign star second baseman Robinson Cano. (Andy Martino, New York Daily News)

“I sent my MRI results to a couple of doctors and knee specialists and we decided that in the long run and for my future as a baseball player, this surgery would be the best plan. I will immediately begin the rehabilitation process in hopes of being ready for the start of spring training.”
—Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, on his intent to have surgery on his injured left knee this offseason. (Eduardo A. Encina, Baltimore Sun)

“First of all, a lot of miscommunication and a few things that happened before. That’s why we haven’t got a great relationship with the organization. But I’m looking forward to one day, you work in Wrigley Field and see my statue, see my flag.”
—Former Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa, indicating his desire to revive his relationship with his former team. Sosa and the Cubs parted ways under unfriendly circumstances in 2005. (Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune)

“I tell them little things. So much stuff is new for them. They're grown men, so you don't want to be pushy. It's better if they come to you and ask -- and most of the time, that's what happens. We just try to help, reassure them some ways.”
—Pirates bullpen catcher Heberto Andrade, on the instructive roles he and bullpen coach Euclides Rojas occupy with regard to the team’s young Hispanic players. (Tom Singer, MLB.com)

“Breslow uses words in a normal conversation that I'm not used to. When he starts to speak, some guys might not be thinking along with him."
—Red Sox manager John Farrell on relief pitcher Craig Breslow, a Yale graduate. (Lindsay Berra, MLB.com)

Nick Bacarella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here
Chris Mosch is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Chris's other articles. You can contact Chris by clicking here

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