SNAKES ON TOP OF THE WEST
"I was spotty at first. As good as I've felt the last few times, coming out again I just wasn't there, I wasn't sharp, but I had a focus point that I wanted to get back to. About the second inning on, I was able to get back to that and at least repeat my delivery and was able to kind of turn the game over in my favor instead of the first where everything was a little up and a little too hittable."
—Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy, after throwing a complete game shutout at Marlins Park on Saturday. Arizona’s 25-19 record leads the NL West. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
"He's just maturing. He's got great enthusiasm, I shake my head at him sometimes, but he's got great confidence and he understands how to use his tools. It's taken a long time for him to harness them. You don't realize he's a young kid, he's not very old. He has always gone about it the same way, he just wants to play."
—Manager Kirk Gibson, on outfielder Gerardo Parra, whose .320 average ranks in the NL top ten this year. (Tyler Emrick, MLB.com)
“When you’re in the 90-95 mph range from the left side, it’s a very, very small category in the big leagues. If you’ve got an uptick in velocity like that, you can get away with a few more things. The way he’s throwing now, he doesn’t even need to get away with stuff. He’s locating, with plus velocity, with a plus slider, and executing game plans. It’s a pretty unbeatable combination.”
—McCarthy, on fellow starter Patrick Corbin, whose 1.52 ERA sits third in the league. (Nick Piecoro, AZ Central Sports)
"It's just part of the game; if your team has success or you have individual success, you get more attention for whatever reason. It's just part of the game. I mean, if you don't do well, people forget about you pretty quickly, so it's just the nature of the game. Always for me, it's about just understanding there's ups and downs during the year. Remember the successes when you're going through the struggles and try to keep some confidence."
—First baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who hit two home runs on Friday and leads the league in WARP. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
ONE WEEK LATER, BREWERS STILL FLAT
“This game, you play so many games and so many days in a row where you're out there, and when you're scuffling with something, don't be afraid to make a change. I don't get the mentality that, 'I'm going to stick with the same thing, regardless of what happens.’”
—Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, on closer John Axford working through his struggles. (Adam McCalvy, MLB.com)
“I'm not a big fan of meetings, and I'm sure Ron isn't, either. But sometimes you've got to let the players know, 'You're better than what you're doing out there.' And we know we're better than that.”
—Third baseman Aramis Ramirez, on manager Ron Roenicke delivering a rare post-game pep talk to his players following another loss. (Adam McCalvy, MLB.com)
“As a team, we feel like it's embarrassing. The team that we are, we play hard—there's no question—but we don't do what we expect to do. We have a lot of expectations as a team.”
—Outfielder Carlos Gomez. (Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
LESTER K-ONTINUES ASSAULT ON SOX RECORD BOOK
"That's pretty cool. It's not something that you play for. I play to win games and hopefully win World Series. If it just so happens along the way your name moves along those lists, then great. Obviously it's an honor when you guys bring that stuff up. I don't really pay attention to it. It's an honor to be with those names that I'm sure are still ahead of me, and hopefully I can keep pitching, and hopefully we can bring more World Series here."
— Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester, who recorded his 1,110th strikeout in a Boston uniform on Wednesday night, a 9-2 victory over Tampa Bay, moving into fifth place on the Red Sox’ career strikeout list. (Ian Browne, MLB.com)
"I don't know. That's up to the guys in the front office. Talk to them about that. We'll see."
— Lester, on whether he could ever eclipse Roger Clemens’ all-time Red Sox record of 2,590 strikeouts.
THE PRICE IS WRONG
"We are just giving it time to calm down. It is a new territory for me, I've never really had any arm troubles. It's frustrating, even more so when I'm throwing the ball as bad as I am."
—Tampa Bay ace David Price, who was placed on the disabled list this week for the first time in his career to nurse his ailing triceps. (Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times)
"I really do anticipate when he's well, he's going to be well for a long time. We have plans of playing in October, and we're not getting there without him."
—Rays manager Joe Maddon, on Price.
—What else are rain delays for? (Shane Victorino, @ShaneVictorino, Boston Red Sox)
The baristas at Starbucks have spelled my name right 5 days in a row can I be on Best Week Ever on vh1 now? Is that still a show? Am I old?
—Yes. Yes. Depends on who you ask. (Sean Doolittle, @whatwouldDOOdo, Oakland Athletics)
"You want him to pitch to his conviction, but he pitched right into [Gattis'] strength. [Catcher Tim Federowicz] called a slider, he didn't want to throw it. He called for a fastball away, he wanted to come inside. For me, [Federowicz] has to go out and make sure. If he says, 'I can get this guy inside,' that's his conviction. […] But make him beat you in the big part of the park. If you go away, and he goes to center field or right-center, it's easier to take than going to the guy's strength. He gave up a home run and basically gave up the game.”
—Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, on Kenley Jansen’s decision to throw an inside cutter to Braves pinch-hitter Evan Gattis, which resulted in a two-run homer. The Dodgers gave up their 1-0 lead, and lost 3-1. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
“As soon as he took a swing, you knew that ball was going to be out of the ballpark. It was one of the prettiest swings I've seen him put on a baseball.”
—Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, on Justin Upton’s game-changing grand slam from Saturday’s 8-5 win over Los Angeles. (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)
"Are we aware of it? In this locker room? Absolutely, we are. We talked about it this morning before we came in. But it's more about our approach, making sure that we don't do too much, and like I said before, we want to work the count and get him out of there in the fifth inning if we can. We did a great job today."
—Indians outfielder Michael Brantley, on his team’s tremendous success against Cy Young award winners this year. The Tribe have pummeled such decorated pitchers to a tune of a 1-7 record with an 8.21 ERA this year. (Mark Emery, MLB.com)
“This kid is a special player. We knew going in there would be some growing pains with the bat. But at the same time, he's out here working hard, taking extra hitting, and doing everything he can possibly do to make himself a better player. We're seeing the results of it."
—Marlins manager Mike Redmond on shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who currently hits second for Miami despite a .204 batting average and two homers through 110 plate appearances this season. (Joe Frisaro, MLB.com)
“I feel like I'm playing Little League again. It's all about winning now; there's nothing else in the way. It's all about the team and nothing else.”
—Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, on playing with a new contract extension. Chicago signed its young slugger to a seven-year, $41 million contract last weekend. (Carrie Muskat, MLB.com)