10/09/11 8:23 PM ET
Postgame interview with Ron Roenicke
By / MLB.com
Q. If you hadn't had that big inning there at the 5th were you thinking about pulling Zack out before the start of the 6th?
RON ROENICKE: Well, I don't know if we would have. We thought Zack was still throwing the ball good. Really, it was really just that the hanging curveball is the pitch he got hurt on. Other than that they really didn't hit the ball that hard off of him. Even the first inning Pujols jam shot over 2nd, ground ball, Holliday jam shot him between first and second to score that run. So I thought he threw the ball well today.
Q. We talked a lot this year about how Braun and Fielder are game changers. Have you ever seen them turn one around any quicker than that?
RON ROENICKE: That was a nice inning there. It was nice Brauny, in the first inning with the two run homer. But to score like we did there, yeah, that's outstanding. Corey starting it off, and Brauny, you know, big double there, drive in two. Followed right behind it with the Prince homer. And then Rickie, we got a little break there with Rickie getting on base. Yuni, outstanding at bat. We got nobody out. He's fouling off pitches. I don't know how many pitches he had in that at bat, but great job, and got a breaking ball up and was able to drive it out of the park. But that was one of the best at bats he's had this year.
Q. Going back to Greinke, they did make him pay for the walks today?
RON ROENICKE: The walks hurt him. First inning walk to Jay hurt him. That's why they scored the one run.The walk to Molina before the homer, that's a bad walk. We've got to be able to get the guys out that not necessarily out, but you don't want to put them on on a free pass. But that ended up hurting him also. And that's unlike Zack. Usually he doesn't walk too many guys. But I still, I like the way he threw the ball. Fastball command was very good. And I thought the breaking balls he kept down in the zone except the one to Freese. That's just a first pitch hanger, and he squared it up and was able to carry out of here.
Q. Your record says that your club just doesn't lose when Zack pitches here, even on the rare occasion his results aren't great. Is that a confidence factor or is it something inexplicable going on?
RON ROENICKE: I can't explain it. I don't know why that happens. Usually it's because he throws a good game and the run totals down so much on their end. Today wasn't that case, and maybe one other game this year, where he gave up some runs and we still scored enough to win the ballgame. But you can't explain why that happens. Maybe there's a confidence factor a little bit to help us. We know when Zack goes out we're going to win here. But I really don't think you can explain it.
Q. Even though the Cardinals got a run on the top of the 5th, how important was Fielder's defensive play?
RON ROENICKE: Yeah, outstanding. When you see Prince laying out for a ball, that was nice to see. And Zack's always going to be over there, really good at getting to first base. So that was a big play.
Q. You mentioned Betancourt earlier. He has a reputation of having a lot of athletic ability, but sometimes makes some hiccups on offense and defense. What's been your take on him this year, and how he's performed over the last two games?
RON ROENICKE: Yuni is a little inconsistent sometimes with his AB's, sometimes you get frustrated with him when the first pitch outs. But he can turn it around. And when he's hot, for two months he swung the bat great for us, two months in a row. And I think that Yuni, when he gets in those little streaks, he's going to give you a nice at bat. And it isn't just the chasing of pitches that kind of gets him out of his zone, but when you start fouling off balls, and I thought they made some good pitches on him in the one at bat. And he's able to hang in there long enough to where he gets a mistake. I wish he could do it all the time. I wish everybody could do it all the time, but that's not baseball.
Q. During your time here, have you found that the ball carries any better, roof open or roof closed?
RON ROENICKE: No, I don't really know. The ball Freese hit, when it was hit, I didn't think it was going to be a home run, but it got up there. He squared it up and it got up there and kept going. But I don't know if there's a difference. It seemed like the ball was carrying pretty good today.
Q. That game had so many turning points, but it seemed like the last big one was when Saito got Pujols, double play to first and third, no outs, I think he was the tying run. I guess you've never been happier to exchange a run for two outs.
RON ROENICKE: Yeah. I think we're three runs up there. You certainly don't want him to drive the ball somewhere. And he hits that ball on the ground. They score another run, but we get the two outs. That was a big play for us. Saito came in and I thought made good quality pitches. He had a tough job in their lineup where he came into, that's always a tough spot to figure out who we bring in to get through those three guys.
Q. Back to that big 5th inning. There wasn't a lot of chance for the fans to breathe between Braun and Fielder's at bat, but it was as loud as I can remember. Where did it ring in the decibel level for you?
RON ROENICKE: No, you're right, it's still pretty loud in there. I don't even know if I heard the ball come off Prince's bat. I knew it was a good swing and came off nice, but when you can't hear the ball, the sound of it, because of all the people yelling. I wasn't sure what was going to happen there until I saw the ball flight. Again, these people, they love their team. They've been behind us and you can certainly hear that, especially when we have some offense going, and we've got guys running around. They get pretty loud.
Postgame interview with Zack Greinke
Q. I was just asking Ron about what it is when you're out there, including the two postseason starts, the Brewers are 17 0 this year when you're starting. How do you explain it?
ZACK GREINKE: I don't know. We've got a good record. I answer this question after every start (laughter), and before every start. We feel like we're going to win. We've been playing good baseball for about a month now. We had like one week or two week stretch where we were struggling. But since the All Star break we've been playing some great baseball.
Q. Does having a duo like Braun and Fielder behind you kind of give you confidence, even when you're behind?
ZACK GREINKE: Yeah, I guess you can count on a couple of runs every game for the most part, or at least an opportunity to score a couple of runs. It seems like right now every time it comes to the middle of the lineup there's an opportunity. And that's just they're really good. Maybe, probably the best three, four in baseball right now, maybe.
Q. How did you feel today on the extra rest? I know you don't usually like to have it, but this time in the postseason you can't avoid it, I guess.
ZACK GREINKE: Felt pretty good. Every time I threw a curveball it seemed like they hit it really hard. But the fastball location was really good. Slider was good. Change up, I think I only threw one, but it seemed good. Curveball seemed sharp, too. But they took good swings on it, starting with Freese's pitch. I got behind on Molina, that bat before. And Freese seemed to be pretty patient. I didn't want to throw it right down the middle to him, but wanted to be aggressive with the curveball and try to get ahead of the count and he put a good swing on it.
Q. Is this the scenario you kind of envisioned when you decided you wanted to play baseball?
ZACK GREINKE: Yeah, it's been a lot of fun. The game's been good. You just want to pitch on the most important games. And this is it, and see what you could do in those situations. And so far in the first two games I felt like I pitched really good. But the results aren't really quite there. I mean, we won both games, but me, personally, it just felt -- it feels really good out there, just a lot more comfortable than I expected. I thought I'd be a lot more nerve wracking or whatever, but it feels pretty good.
Q. In the big fifth inning with all the hitting going on, you had a chance to get up there and try to get in the activity. Did you have to lobby in there?
ZACK GREINKE: I figured if I got up and there is guys on base he would probably take me out. But I guess we had a three run lead or something, and wanted to get a little deeper in the game. I figure if there's guys on base that he'd probably take me out. I didn't mind him leaving me in. I ended up throwing really good after that, too.
Q. Every time a pitcher makes the last out of an inning and then gives up a hit or even a run, people wonder if running 90 feet took it out of you. Is that a factor in your mind at all?
ZACK GREINKE: No, I think earlier on in the year I focused too much on like hitting. And then I think that messes with you, because you take your concentration away from pitching for just a little while. But now, I mean, I don't really think it makes much of a difference. Furcal, I made a good first pitch. It was like just an inch outside. He took it. And then I made a bad curveball and 2 0. I mean, I tried to make a decent pitch and I made two decent pitches and one ball and he got a double. I don't think it had nothing to do with the inning before.
Q. You could imagine what it might be like to pitch to a team. When you come over here for a year and realize the offense you have behind you, does that make things easier for you, more comfortable?
ZACK GREINKE: I realize it, but it's still just your job to go out and pitch, no matter what kind of team you have behind. And that's what I try to do.
Q. You talk about the bullpen a little bit today, specifically Saito coming in, first and third, nobody out?
ZACK GREINKE: I mean, that's what it's been like since Frankie's [Rodriguez] been here, I can't imagine there being a bullpen that's done as good as ours, especially the four or five guys, Kam, Hawk, Saito, Frankie and Axford. I feel like their ERA is zero since we made that trade. And you kind of just expect it.
Q. Did you have any comments from the Cardinals to you regarding some of the things you said yesterday?
ZACK GREINKE: No. They're yelling from the dugout some, but most teams do that. Everyone always makes fun of me grunting when I throw a fastball. It's kind of funny sometimes, but no big deal.
Postgame interview with Ryan Braun
Q. You and Prince can be game changers quite a lot, but is that as quick as you guys could do it, one pitch each and the whole game changes?
RYAN BRAUN: Yeah, I think so. We have an offense that's not necessarily dependent on the home run, but at times in the year we've relied on it, and I think whenever offensively you have multiple guys that can hit home runs it can happen quickly. Garcia was throwing the ball great. Corey had a great at bat. Hairston had a great at bat. And so it definitely happened quickly.
Q. You said yesterday not to overanalyze the home field advantage. Is it the same comment that Greinke winning every game he pitches at home?
RYAN BRAUN: I think that's overstated with him. I think the second half of the season he pitched great on the road. I think early on he probably wasn't back to a hundred percent and seemed like he was making probably three or four of his first 5 or 6 starts, came on the road before he was back to being a hundred percent healthy. Obviously we're aware of how well he's pitched at home. But I think the second half he really threw well at home, as well.
Q. The flip side of that is even when he doesn't pitch well at home, you guys seem to win games. What's happening there that you guys can overcome his poor starts?
RYAN BRAUN: I don't know. That's one of the things you don't question, you just accept and hope it continues. We're obviously confident whenever he's on the hill. We're confident whenever Yo is on the hill or any other starters, we feel like we're going to find a way to win. And again, that's one of the things you hope continues.
Q. How fast did Prince's get out? You thought you hit yours hard, what did you think of his?
RYAN BRAUN: That was one of the hardest hit balls I've ever seen. I'm always worried when I'm on first base and Prince is up that he's going to top spin one at me. I had a good view of it. It got out in a hurry.
Q. As quickly as they got Dotel up on the bullpen, did you think they might change?
RYAN BRAUN: I was asked that question earlier, I don't really have time to figure out their strategy. I thought Garcia was really cruising and throwing the ball well. I think the first inning he obviously didn't have great command. After that I thought he was really throwing well. We had a couple of great at bats by Corey and Jerry, and Prince and I each swung at the first pitch. I don't think he had an opportunity to really come in the game.
Q. You played in front of big crowds here all year. How would you describe the atmosphere so far in the playoffs?
RYAN BRAUN: It's been incredible. It's really been electric. The atmosphere here is something that we really feed off of. I think it's one of the big reasons we've been so successful here at home. Obviously the fans are very passionate. And they're excited. I think they're enjoying it as much as we are, playing meaningful baseball games on October 10th. And they're embracing the opportunity, just like we are, and trying to make the most of it.
Q. Did it seem like the ball was carrying any better today? Have you noticed differences in general, roof open versus roof closed in how the ball carries here?
RYAN BRAUN: Not really. I think whenit's warm, I think the ball carries similar whether the roof's open or closed. I think when it's cold, it definitely carries better when the roof is closed. I thought the ball was carrying well today, even on Freese's home run, I didn't know if it was going to get out or not. But the ball was carrying good.
Q. You and Prince have been doing this boxing celebration. Do you know after a big home run, get down quick, he almost took your head off?
RYAN BRAUN: Yeah, the second time this postseason, I'm fortunate I'm paying attention and ready to duck quickly. He's been pretty fired up and pretty emotional. He's had two huge home runs for us.
Q. Were the shadows less of a factor today than anticipated?
RYAN BRAUN: I don't think so. I think both teams put together some good at bats. But it is certainly still challenging. I think it's not really as much of a factor obviously because both teams deal with it. We've played them enough times that they anticipated it. We anticipate it. Nothing prepares you for it. It's going to be a challenge, so you just get used to it.
Q. I thought the ground shook when Prince made that play at first. What did you think about that?
RYAN BRAUN: Yeah, it was a great play, a big time of the game for us. I think sometimes people underestimate his athleticism and his defense. He's made a lot of good plays for us this year. That's a big play in that situation, especially when you're headed for Pujols, Berkman and Holliday, the least amount of guys on base possible for them, certainly advantageous for us. It was a great play by him.
Q. What does it mean to you to put up the personal numbers that you have so far?
RYAN BRAUN: The goal is obviously always to contribute. I try not to get overly excited. It's only been six games to that point. I feel I've had pretty good at bats, consistent at bats, I'm able to contribute and we're winning. It's nice to be playing well and helping the team win.
Q. How big was the answer after the 5 2 lead for the Cardinals with Corey and Jerry getting on base before you?
RYAN BRAUN: It was huge. They battled back. They got ahead. They had all the momentum. And then for us to respond well to that, I think, is a great sign of our resiliency, of our character as a team. You need a lot of guys to contribute to win games like this. Corey got on base. Jerry got on base. I thought Yuni had an incredible pitch off of Dotel, and ended up hitting a home run. Finding different ways to win, and having guys to contribute, has been a key to us to sustain a rally like that.
Q. Do you have a sense that this is in fact even more intense than the final weeks of the regular season?
RYAN BRAUN: Yeah, of course. There's obviously much more at stake. We understand the significance of the games we're playing. We recognize that we're now three wins away from the World Series. And there's no doubt that it's intense. But it's fun. I think we're all really enjoying it. We're truly embracing the opportunity and recognizing how fortunate we are to be where we're at.
Q. Is there a tangible way you can measure that?
RYAN BRAUN: I don't think so. You can feel it, you know, I think in the crowd. And I think in the energy the crowd brings every day. In the emotion, I think, that we're all showing, the passion that we're playing the game with. It feels like everything is magnified. It feels like every big defensive play, big pitch, big hit is more meaningful than it was during the regular season.
Q. When you and Prince are doing your thing, do you think there's any kind of intimidation factor, that says man, these guys are tough to beat when those guys are going good?
RYAN BRAUN: No, I don't think it's necessarily intimidating. Obviously when both of us are going good it becomes far more difficult to pitch to us, but I don't think it's intimidating. These guys over here are not going to be intimidated by anything. We've played them often enough toknow that they're a great team, they know it's going to be a good challenge. But aside from that, I don't think there's any intimidation factor.
Q. What did you think of the warning in the way you guys were pitched to, did that help you in the long run?
RYAN BRAUN: First of all, I don't think he hit Prince on purpose at all. He walked a couple of guys in the first inning, I think everybody is anticipating more drama than there will probably be. But I don't think it really affected the way anybody was pitched to. You're still allowed to pitch inside, as long as there's not the intent to hit somebody. I don't think it's really an advantage for either team. But, again, I honestly don't think that he threw at Prince in that situation.
Q. Talk about the fact that you took their best shot, and you guys were able to come back from that and you held serve at home to take a 1 0 lead in the series?
RYAN BRAUN: It's still the first game. You try not to get overly excited. Saw that in the first round. We won the first two games, feeling great about ourselves and almost ended up losing the series. We came out and played a good baseball game today. We responded well to a couple of momentum shifts. But aside from that, just get prepared, have another big game tomorrow, and get ready for tomorrow's game.
Q. You've heard MVP chants throughout the season. Were those the loudest today?
RYAN BRAUN: I think the fans are obviously fired up about this series. The rivalry between us and them and the opportunity to get to the World Series. I think there's more energy in the crowd right now than there's been all year. And all year they've come out and really created an amazing environment for us here at home. So it's been fun.
Postgame interview with Prince Fielder
Q. I'm guessing you didn't think Garcia hit you on purpose?
PRINCE FIELDER: No, not at all.
Q. So were you surprised that there was warnings?
PRINCE FIELDER: I don't know. I mean, that's not my -- that's an umpire's call, so I just leave that to them.
Q. According to people smarter than me, the home run you hit in the fifth inning went 119.2 miles per hour, which is the fastest home run hit in 2011. Did it feel any different to you off the bat?
PRINCE FIELDER: If felt good (laughter). I thought it might be off the wall or double the gap, and it kind of kept going, so that was good.
Q. Was that the biggest home run you've ever hit?
PRINCE FIELDER: Yeah, so far, yeah.
Q. You come up with that -- in that kind of an atmosphere, Braun just hit a double, you're looking for a lead, does your focus focus in, is that something that you're suddenly now even more on point than normal?
PRINCE FIELDER: I guess. Sometimes. When it works out it seems like that. And when it doesn't, it might seem like the other way. In that situation, nobody out with Rickie up next, I was really trying to obviously I was trying to drive the ball. But I want to try to get Braun over, at least. So it worked out.
Q. Part of the home field mystique is you guys never lose when Greinke pitches. Is it talent, is it a belief in the situation, what's going on?
PRINCE FIELDER: We'll go with talent, I guess (laughter).
Q. Roenicke said that when the ball came off the bat he couldn't even hear it it was so loud.
PRINCE FIELDER: Yeah, it was exciting. Yeah, it was really exciting. Kind of I heard the crowd, but it was like a blur, you know. I was really trying to see my two boys, to make sure they saw me. So I was just pumped up.
Q. Do you enjoy making a good defensive play near as much as hitting a home run?
PRINCE FIELDER: Yes. Yeah, I mean, anytime I can help on defense, it is good. I'm not the greatest defender, by any means, but anytime I can help on both sides of the ball, it's good. Because sometimes you're not going to hit. So you've got to pick it up on defense.
Q. Is there a growing confidence when Rickie pitches here?
PRINCE FIELDER: Yeah. I think when anyone pitches here I think we feel good at home. I think it's just the home field advantage that we feel good about. It doesn't matter who's pitching for us, I think at home we just have a lot of confidence.
Q. Garcia has been tough on the Brewers at times. What were you looking for at the time of the at bat when you hit the home run?
PRINCE FIELDER: I don't know. I just try to see the ball and hit it. I was just trying to see a ball to hit, really. I wasn't looking for anything.
Q. You and Ryan have been so good together. Do you make each other better in any way?
PRINCE FIELDER: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Definitely.Whenever he's hitting, and hitting the ball all over the place, I think he wears the pitcher down. So the pitcher is a little worn down and hopefully he'll make a mistake to me, too.
Q. You were very animated to someone in the stands after the home run, was that your two boys?
PRINCE FIELDER: My two boys and my wife.
Q. I think you were even more excited today than after the Game 1 home run?
PRINCE FIELDER: Yeah. This is the playoff. You've got to let it all out.
Q. The strategy for so many teams is to not let you and Braun beat them. Do you get a little giddy when you see a pitcher is going to let you hit?
PRINCE FIELDER: I guess. I mean I don't know. Obviously I think even when they're trying to pitch me, they're not trying to throw it down the middle, they're trying to get me out. It's fine. I don't really pay attention to it too much, I just try to get a good pitch.
Q. As Braun came to bat and then you, did you feel they were going to change pitchers at any point?
PRINCE FIELDER: When Braun came up?
PRINCE FIELDER: I don't really think that far ahead. I was just trying to watch him do his magic.
Q. You have Jackson tomorrow, you hit him up for ten runs the first time. Any insight into facing him tomorrow as far as approach and try to get after him the way you did the first time?
PRINCE FIELDER: We've got to be ready for his mistakes, I think. That's my game plan. Make sure I get a good look at it and hit it hard. I don't really get too serious about it, because then I get confused. My thing is just to see it and hit it.
Q. You're in the middle of it, so maybe it's harder to see. Are you ever in awe at how quickly you can change a game offensively?
PRINCE FIELDER: Yeah, I think that's why we get so excited. Whenever we do do that, it's just awesome, because like you said, it's just real quick. It's a good feeling, because we're down there for a while, and obviously that doesn't feel good. Whenever we come back real quick, it's a little extra boost.
Postgame interview with Yuniesky Betancourt
Q. Have you ever seen a game's momentum turnaround that quickly?
YUNIESKY BETANCOURT: I don't know if I've ever seen that before, but the kind of team that we have, when we get it started, we can keep it rolling pretty quickly and continue it.
Q. Considering how many pitches you fouled off before hitting the home run, was that your best at bat of the season?
YUNIESKY BETANCOURT: I think it was pretty good. I think I fouled off four balls. And after the result I would say it was the best at bat of the season, but I was just trying to do my job, trying to move the runner over. And the pitcher hung it a little bit and I did my job.
Q. Did you feel relaxed?
YUNIESKY BETANCOURT: Yeah, I was just trying to do my job.
Q. Do you feel that Roenicke is getting frustrated with you for swinging at the first pitch, and do they ever say much to you about it?
YUNIESKY BETANCOURT: It frustrates me sometimes. And I certainly realize that it can be frustrating for them. But that's the style of player I am. I'm a very aggressive hitter and I just try to do my best that way.
Q. How do you feel about all the criticism you have dealt with over the years and is today sort of a redemption?
YUNIESKY BETANCOURT: I don't really understand English very well, so that being said, I don't really pay attention to what the critics say (laughter). Since I don't understand, I don't get mad, I just try and do my job.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.