June 24, 2013
The Week in Quotes
BLUE JAYS TURN IT UP TO 11
“I believe in this team, so I knew things had to change, things had to turn around for us. This is what's happening for us, and we're going to enjoy the moment. I'm not surprised by this; I know this team is good and I know we can do it.”
—Blue Jays’ slugger Edwin Encarnacion, on the team’s 11-game hitting streak. Encarnacion and his parrot trotted the bases for the 21st time on Sunday. (Gregor Chisholm, MLB.com)
“I just think it's a testimony to our togetherness, to our belief in each other, having respect for what we do and coming to work with the idea that we were going to right the ship. It remains to be seen what happens from this point on, but certainly it made us a lot more mentally tough.”
—Utilityman Mark DeRosa (Evan Peaslee, MLB.com)
“Basically, early on in the spring, he was looking for his velocity. The big question was, 'Is his fastball back?' He'd go into games and he'd just pump that fastball, [and an] occasional breaking ball. [...] There was one game when he started pitching a little bit. He'd flip the breaking ball over early and then use his fastball. ... What it did was, it brought his fastball back into the strike zone—because early on he was reaching back for maybe a little bit more, leaving it up high to his arm side. But the breaking ball seemed to get him back in [the] zone.”
—Manager John Gibbons, on the emergence of Brett Cecil in the bullpen. Cecil hasn’t allowed a run since May 12. (Gregor Chisholm, MLB.com)
“His sinker, I think, is the biggest difference. Earlier guys could jump on his fastball—he had a straight fastball—and now he's sinking it so you really have to respect that. He can sink a right-hander in and then they have to respect that, and now he's throwing 96-mph fastballs down and away to strike them out.”
—Catcher J.P. Arencibia, on starter Esmil Rogers. The Blue Jays have won in each of his four starts. (Gregor Chisholm, MLB.com)
“I'm hopeful that [my velocity is] going to become more and more consistent. It was good early on [Friday night], hit a little bit of a brick wall in the fifth and sixth innings, but for the most part I was pretty happy with the way the ball was moving. [...] Josh [Thole] was telling me it was familiar to him from last year, so that was a good sign—especially early on. But it's going to take me a little while to unlearn some bad habits, and hopefully it won't take me too long. But [I'll] keep grinding it out, and it'll turn for me as far as the mechanics go.”
—Starter R.A. Dickey, on trying to regain his 2012 Cy Young form. Dickey has been inconsistent throughout the Jays’ run.
“This is what you want, you want competition. Next few years, I don't think the division winner is going to be 98 [wins] anymore. I think it's going to be more 90-94, because of the competitive level each team in this division has and how good each team is.”
—Orioles’ outfielder Adam Jones.
FELIX, MARINERS BLOW 7-0 LEAD TO ANGELS
“That’s a tough game from an emotional standpoint, when you take that big lead and you do a lot of good things and you give it back.”
—Mariners manager Eric Wedge, on Thursday’s 10-9 loss to the Angels. The Mariners led the Angels 7-0 after the top of the third inning. (Geoff Baker, Seattle Times)
“I just blew the lead. It's all my fault. Nobody else's. Just me.”
—Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, who gave up seven runs in five innings. (Greg Johns, MLB.com)
“Sometimes when you have a lead like that, there's kind of a letdown, that finishing blow that just isn't there. But I don't think that was the case. This was more of a game where you just tip your cap. They just kept fighting and fighting. One by one they just kept stringing stuff together no matter what the score was or what it looked like early.”
—Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan, on Thursday’s loss.
“These guys in the dugout, on the field, just kept chipping away against one of the best pitchers in our league and finished it off against a good bullpen. There are a lot of good things that we can talk about in the game, but I think the most important thing is that we kept playing baseball, kept playing hard.”
—Angels manager Mike Scioscia, on his club’s comeback victory.
“We’re not built to put up 15, but we are built to hold on to the tight leads and win games when we’re ahead.”
—Ryan, on the makeup of the Mariners. Thursday’s loss was the first time this season that the Mariners lost when leading by two or more runs.
DAN HAREN HITS ROCK BOTTOM IN D.C.
“After the last several starts, it’s hard to remain confident in between. I’ve never gone through something this tough in my career. It’s definitely a battle to stay confident. There’s self-doubt that creeps in there for everybody whenever they’re not doing well. Obviously, I’ve been struggling for a while now.”
—Nationals pitcher Dan Haren, after a loss against Colorado, his latest poor start of the season. The three-time All-Star posted a 6.15 ERA in 15 starts this year before the team announced he’d head to the disabled list. (Adam Kilgore, Washington Post)
“There’s aches and pains, nothing I haven’t pitched through in the past. Physically, I’m okay. I’ve been better. I’ve been worse. It’s still no excuse for what’s going on.”
—Haren, not long before his DL assignment.
“I'm a little concerned about him. I'm going to have a talk with him next time he throws and see if we can't do something to make things better for him. I don't want to speculate on what I'm thinking about right here, but we have some concerns.”
—Nationals manager Davey Johnson, on Haren. (Tom Schad, MLB.com)
“We’re all looking, seeing if we can see anything. Is he tipping a pitch or falling into patterns? I don’t see any of that. Right now, I think it’s just bad luck. He cannot miss up in the zone, or it’s getting smoked.”
—Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche.
“No one wants to be booed. I’d probably boo myself, too.”
“I'm not going to break my bat or do stuff like that on the field because you have kids watching. If they don't think I care, then they're mistaken, because it hurts me more than it hurts anybody not to be performing. I've done it for years against the Angels, and now I'm a part of the Angels and I want to do it for the Angels. I'm just going to keep doing the best I can.”
—Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, on fans who don’t think he’s been putting forth his full effort this season. (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com)
“He continues to have command issues. That's the only issue. It's not a stuff issue or anything else. It's a command issue for him. But today none of the repertoire was really getting where he wanted it to go.”
—Tigers manager Jim Leyland, on the recent un-ace-like performance of Justin Verlander. (Bobby Nightengale, MLB.com)
“Obviously I'm starting to feel better at the plate, and I really have to take advantage of that. I never want a day off, period, but now I'm really asking him not to give me one, because I feel better at the plate and I just want to continue that. If I get a day off, I might go backward a little bit.”
—Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero, on starting to heat up at the plate. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
“What he has right now is probably more chronic than anything. So it’s not like he’s going to wake up tomorrow and feel great. He’s finding a way to work with it.”
—Angels manager Mike Scioscia, on first baseman Albert Pujols’ ability to deal with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The injury has bothered Pujols for the majority of the season. (Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times)
—What a bird.
—Presenting Vin Scully.
—What a bird.
—Presenting Vin Scully.
“I’d let some opportunities pass earlier in the game where I had a chance to help us get some runs and I didn’t get the job done. So I’m telling myself, whatever happens, I’m catching that. Whatever it takes, I’m getting that ball.”
—Padres outfielder Will Venable, whose catch in the 12th inning of last Monday’s game against the Giants is an early play-of-the-year candidate. (Chris Jenkins, U-T San Diego)
“Think back when you went to school. The first day of school was all fun and everything, then you'd look and say, ‘I've still got eight months left of school,' rather than just worrying about each and every day.”
—Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer, on taking the season day by day. (Thomas Harding, MLB.com)
“I knew I put a good swing on it. I knew it was deep. But I didn't know if it was going out. Luckily, it flew out.”
—Rays outfielder Wil Myers, on his first career big-league home run, a grand slam. (Bill Chastain, MLB.com)
“Not if you're saying you have the home-field advantage [of the World Series to the winner]. Then you should earn it. I want to support my player. If he plays well enough, he should make it. I want Hanley [Ramirez] and Adrian [Gonzalez], but I want the guys who deserve it to make it. I'm not saying they're not All-Star caliber, but they still have to earn the All-Star.”
—Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, on whether he thinks rookie Yasiel Puig deserves to make the National League All-Star team. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
“It's amazing man ... the team that won the World Series in 2011. I just thought I had to work good and do the same thing I did in Triple-A. ... I can't put more pressure on myself. I have the ball, they have the bat and if I throw the ball where I want to, they don't have much of a chance.”
—Rangers starting pitcher Martin Perez, on pitching against the Cardinals on Saturday. Perez scattered five hits and gave up just two earned runs across seven innings en route to his first win of the season. (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
“When I'm in the outfield ... my body's on fire. The difference is, when I'm a DH, I sit down in the dugout and I'm doing nothing and I feel like I'm going down a little bit emotionally.”
—Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who has been forced to spend time at DH during the past week due to a sore hamstring. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)
“How far was that thing? With all the smart people in the world, they should be able to figure out how far it would land. It shouldn't be that difficult. I'm so used to hearing flawed numbers, it would be nice to hear what it really is. Guys were crushing balls in batting practice yesterday and that was better than any of those. And it was two strikes. Pretty good.”
—Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke, on teammate Hanley Ramirez’s line-drive home run during Saturday’s game that was estimated at 413 feet. Ramirez’s blast landed on the fourth-story balcony of the building in left field. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
“Just three. My teammates say five. Today I eat three. Tomorrow I eat four, and the next day five, and (then) we leave for Miami.”
—Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, on the number of In-and-Out cheeseburgers he plans to eat during the team’s three-day stay in Los Angeles. (Clark Spencer, Miami Herald)
Andrew Koo is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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Chris Mosch is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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