Catching up with Carlos

Carlos Villanueva was all but ignored following last night’s ninth inning collapse because — let’s face it — he wasn’t the story of the game. Everybody’s game recaps had to focus on another blown save by the bullpen and Corey Patterson’s adventure in right field which resulted in the winning run.

Villanueva allowed three runs on 10 hitss in 5 2/3 innings.  He came within one out of recording his sixth quality start in his past seven outings and is now 2-2 with a 3.74 ERA during those seven games. I talked with him after the game but didn’t have room to use any quotes from our interview. So, instead of letting it go completely to waste here’s what Villanueva had to say about his recent outing:

On coming out of the game with two outs in the sixth and a man on first…

“For selfish reasons I’d never want to come out of a game. But it’s a matchup thing and (Octavio) Dotel did a great job, he proved why (John Farrell) brought him in. I battled out there tonight, gave up a lot of hits, upset that I got two outs, every run I gave up was with two outs. I worked hard for the second out but then I just couldn’t…

“But still, overall, with the type of weather,  and not being used to pitching in this type of weather, at least I kept the team in the game. That’s all I can do and hope to do, it happens sometimes.”

On how much of a factor the heat was during the game…

“If you’re thinking about the heat at that point in the game then you’re thinking about the wrong thing. I don’t think any of our guys are thinking about it, I don’t think any of them are going to give the excuse of the heat. It just happens. It’s tough, it’s a tough loss for us today, we battled, we had that good sixth inning. One-run games definitely sting a little more but there’s nothing else we can do right now.

On the nice defense behind him… diving play by Encarnacion… Lind with nice picks at first, etc…

“Guys have been playing great defense behind me all year. It happens. I gave up a couple of bloops and then the hard hit balls get caught sometimes. It’s just the way it is. The guys here take great pride on working on their defense every day and it’s definitely not surprising, I’m surprised if they don’t make a play.”

On being able to avoid giving up a big inning…

“Especially after that last game in New York. I had that fourth inning where  I just couldn’t stop the damage. Especially after I got two outs, I gave up the two-run double. Today, at least after I gave up the hit I was able to shut it down there. It doesn’t give them a lot of momentum and it keeps us closer to attack like we did when we came back.

If I gave up, two, three runs in those innings then the three-run attack we put on the sixth doesn’t really matter. It’s definitely disappointing that I gave up the runs but when it’s all said and done and I look back and said those were big outs after the runs scored just to stop it right there.”

On throwing 100-plus pitches in another start…

“I felt good, the heat wasn’t something that bothered me at all. I felt good out there, I felt comfortable. Every time I go over 100 pitches I feel fine. I think the only game I’ve felt tired was the game I started in Baltimore. After that, I’ve been able to get into at least the sixth inning and going over 100 pitches. I’ve felt strong, I’ve been finishing strong later in the game, which is important to me. It’s a battle, we’re coming into August right now,  it’s the dog days of summer, especially playing with the heat.”

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