06/25/2007 10:55 PM ET
Estrada: Winning is catching on
"Maybe we can make this season a foundation for a winning tradition for years to come," says Johnny Estrada. (Lenny Ignelzi/AP)
This team is having a lot of fun right now. I like this Brewers club a lot. It was a good fit for me coming over here. We've got a good mix of players and we've all gelled well together to get off to a good start.
It's always tough to come to a new team and get to know everyone from the top of the organization on down. Getting to know the other players in the clubhouse is the a priority. As a catcher, it's especially important for me to get to know the pitchers. You have to be on the same page as the guys on the staff to be successful.
After being traded in the offseason, I did some research on my own and watched video of the pitchers I would be catching. The real adjustments came in Spring Training though. That's where you really get to know the guys and learn their different styles. I tried to catch as many as of the guys as I could back in February and March.
At this point, we're more than two months into the season and I think we've done a good job of meshing together. Hopefully, we can stay consistent and be where we need to be in September.
The guys on this pitching staff are proven big-league starters and they all know how to pitch. They're easy to catch. Our bullpen has been solid, too. Our two closers have been doing what they're supposed to be doing. We feel pretty good about having a lead going into the sixth or seventh inning.
I've been to the playoffs before with Atlanta and I don't see any reason that this team isn't a playoff-caliber club. It's a matter of putting in the work. It's still early and we have a lot of games to play, but if we keep everyone mentally prepared to play every day and ride this thing out, good things will happen.
We can't get to high or low, though, when things turn. We have a lot of guys who have playoff and championship experience here, so hopefully that will rub off on some of the younger guys.
Postseason baseball is the ultimate experience for a player. You simply cannot describe playoff baseball until you've been there yourself. These young guys are excited about the prospects of it, though. A lot of the young guys on the team haven't played a full Major League season yet, and until you endure 162 games, you don't know the feeling of it all.
Maybe we can make this season a foundation for a winning tradition for years to come.
Johnny Estrada, an All-Star with the Braves in 2004, is in his first season with the Brewers following an offseason trade with Arizona. The switch-hitting catcher reached the postseason twice with the Braves.