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October 6, 2018

Ryan Braun

Mike Moustakas

Denver, Colorado - Workout Day

Q. How do you feel about where you stand in the series after getting some really good pitching to get a 2-0 lead?
RYAN BRAUN: We feel really good about where we're at. Obviously winning both games at home was an ideal scenario for us. You certainly don't want to lose both games. You don't want to split either. We've kind of done it the way we've gone it all year strength as a team all year, which is pitching. Our bullpen obviously has been probably our biggest strength as a team all year. That's continued to show so far here in the postseason through the first two games. We feel really good about where we're at. It's nice to have the off-day today and know all those guys are fresh and rested going into tomorrow.

MIKE MOUSTAKAS: Yeah, absolutely. Especially winning at home is very important in the postseason. And coming here, coming to a hostile environment obviously on the road, being up two, looking just to win one, it's definitely a better scenario than any other ones, obviously.

But again, our pitching staff has been phenomenal. They've done a great job, like Ryan said, our bullpen has been our backbone all year. And when you can lean on those guys when you get a lead going into the later innings, you feel really confident.

Q. Ryan, what do you remember from those two games in Arizona back in 2011 when you guys were in the exact same position as you are right now?
RYAN BRAUN: I remember them completely flipping the script on us. We took care of business at home. We won pretty easily, pretty handily at home. We went into Arizona feeling really good about ourselves, and they kicked our butt two times.

Certainly I've experienced what that's like. Home field really does seem to make a big difference in the postseason. And I think a lot of times teams feed off their home crowd. They are obviously more comfortable with their routines and everything that they do when they're at home, so we know we have our hands full. This is one of the most difficult places to play on the road. These guys are such a great team at home. Certainly by no means do we expect it to be easy. And as I experienced in 2011, winning the first two games doesn't mean that much as you enter Game 3.

Q. We talk to you all the time about how everybody has bullpen guys that come in. Everybody is throwing 95 to 100. You guys do that to everybody every night with your bullpen. What is it like? You're out there in the field, and you're watching it, and Corey comes in and dominates. Josh comes in and dominates. What is it like to watch that, and do you empathize at all with the hitters that are trying to get good swings against those guys?
RYAN BRAUN: No, not at all. Zero. We experience the same thing on the other end, right. There's so many good arms across our game now. Velocity is obviously at its peak. Guys have never thrown harder or thrown harder more consistently. The way that our guys do it is unique, and there are so many of them.

Josh I think and J.J. have both had phenomenal years and been recognized as All-Stars, but there's five or six other guys out there that have had incredible years, as well. For us, I think it's as much as anything about the depth.

There are seven or eight guys out there that we bring in, and they all throw really hard. And I think that's something really advantageous, especially when you come to a ballpark like this. The thing they do is they strike guys out.

In a ballpark like this, you don't want balls to be put in play. Obviously balls that are hit well oftentimes end up over the fence, and every ball that's put in play here has a higher likelihood of being a hit than it does anywhere else. The fact that we bring in seven or eight guys from our bullpen that all strike guys out consistently is something that obviously played out really well for us all season, and in my opinion, becomes a huge factor as we come here to a challenging place to pitch.

Q. Ryan, kind of going on that, the sustained success of the bullpen and just so many arms, is that kind of reflective of where baseball is in today's day and age and here in 2018, just the variety?
RYAN BRAUN: Yeah. It feels like it, I think. We play in a copycat league. And I think these guys in 2015 were one of the first teams that had a lot of success doing that, building a dominant bullpen. And then I think we've seen teams over the years try to do that and try to emulate the success that they had by putting together three, four, five guys that have dominant stuff coming out of the bullpen, where essentially you have a closer coming in every inning from the sixth inning on. We see it all the time.

I would be surprised if it went back in the other direction because teams see that it works, and also I think one of the real reasons teams do it is because it is easier to pay relievers less than pay starters more money. So I think it's an easy way for them to try to keep salaries down a little bit, but more than anything, it's something that works.

Q. I know you guys are in the moment. You don't look back, but is it as a player nice to step back and appreciate what Erik Kratz and being a 38-year-old starter and what he did yesterday, can you appreciate that a little bit?
MIKE MOUSTAKAS: Yeah, absolutely. We were talking about that earlier. We were saying he doesn't look or act like he's 38. He still acts like he's younger, looks like he's younger, keeps himself in great shape, and he's always ready to play.

For a guy who's been around baseball as long as he has and his path has been a lot different from mine and Ryan's. And to stick around and continue to battle, continue to fight the way he has throughout his entire career, and for his first postseason game to happen yesterday and the way it happened, catching a shutout, huge knocks for us throughout the game, it's a great story. He's a guy you cheer for. He's a guy you always root for because you see how hard he works. You see how much of a leader he is in the clubhouse. And he's just a lot of fun to be around. He's an easy guy to cheer for.

RYAN BRAUN: Yeah, I would agree. The story itself is about resilience and perseverance. And I think what he's brought to our team is sometimes underrated. I think there's an edge. There's a level of toughness. And just the way that he competes is unique. He's really brought so much to our team, but obviously if you look at his story, you look at how much time he spent in Triple-A, how he bounced around from team to team and organization to organization, to see him get an opportunity and come up big for us obviously offensively and on top of that catch shutout, and only the second shutout in Brewers' postseason history, and obviously pitchers deserve a ton of credit for that, but the catchers, as well. He's been so great for us. He's really made an impact both on the field and off. And it couldn't happen to a better guy. So it was cool to see him have that game yesterday.

Q. Moose, I don't know how much you faced Miley in the American League. I know in different divisions, sometimes you don't cross paths as much. Ryan, I know you saw him early in Arizona. He's really transformed the way he pitches now. He goes cutter, cutter, cutter, and he's pitching more than firing fastballs like he used to. What has it been like to watch that and how big was him finally getting healthy and pitching for this team this season?
MIKE MOUSTAKAS: Yeah, I faced him a couple times I believe when he was with Boston, but yeah, he's transformed the way he pitches now. Every time he gets in trouble, he gets into a tough spot, he goes to that cutter. I think he just realized how to throw it a couple years ago is what he said, and he's got a lot more confidence in it, and it's a great pitch. He knows where he's throwing. He knows how to locate it. And most of all, he's pitching. He's getting into counts where he's comfortable and mixing his spin and changeups and all that.

But that cutter is huge for us. And I see that third base all the time because I'm getting most of those ground balls that he's getting. There's not too much firm contact, a lot of soft contact over the top and all that stuff, but he's been huge for us since I've been here. Ryan has been here, obviously, all year, and he can tell you what he means to the staff more than I can.

RYAN BRAUN: Yeah, I faced Wade early in his career in Arizona, and then he actually pitched against us last year when he was with Baltimore and Milwaukee, as well. He is a completely different pitcher now than he was than just last year. I always have so much respect and appreciation for pitchers that are able to reinvent themselves. It is not an easy thing to do.

A lot of guys come in the league, and they have obviously the velocity when they are younger, but to be able to make the adjustment when you start to lose some velocity and have the success he's having. And you see it around the league at times, but it's just a really difficult thing to do.

I think number one, it's not easy to admit to yourself you need to change. And then number two, it's not easy to be able to implement the changes you're trying to make. But he's been instrumental in our success all year. Obviously he had some injuries, some different things he's dealt with physically, but he's been phenomenal for us, and a lot of it's soft contact. It's contact early in counts. He misses barrels consistently. He's not giving up a lot of fly balls; therefore, he's not giving up a lot of home runs. And he has zero fear. Of anybody on our staff, this guy has zero fear. He's always excited about the opportunity to go out there and compete, and he's just a tremendous competitor.

Q. Moose, could you follow up on what Ryan was saying about that 14-15 Royals team and the great 7, 8, 9 you guys had, did that feel novel at the time? Did it feel different than other teams? What does that do for an offense when you know that you've got that at the back end?
MIKE MOUSTAKAS: Yeah, it definitely felt different. You didn't see too many teams with what we had in 14 and 15. You see the 7, 8, 9 guys, obviously Herrera and Davis and Holland in '14. And then in '15, Holly got hurt and kind of pushed everybody back a little bit.

But it's those other guys that contributed like Ryan said. It's those guys that you don't see too much. It's the fifth inning guy, the sixth inning guy that come in. And our guys Hochevar, Madson. We had Franklin Morales. All these guys were closers on other teams, but they ended up pitching the fifth, sixth and seventh inning for us and then turned it over to those other guys.

What it does for an offense is it takes all the pressure off of you. You go out there. You fight for one run. You fight for two runs. If they tie the game, you go out there, and you do whatever you can to get that one run going into the sixth inning. You don't have to play for big innings. You don't have to try to scrap three, four, five runs on the board because you know those guys at the end of that bullpen are -- they're not going to give up too many runs. And if they do, just go back, get another one, and then the next guy is going to come in and do the same thing. It's a very similar feel to what we have here right now. You get a lead late in the game. You turn it over to those guys. Good luck. It's tough.

It's the same with what they've got over there, too, with Wade and Ottavino and Oberg. They're all throwing the ball great. Like Ryan said earlier, the game is changing into that direction, and bullpen guys are becoming a huge part of the postseason and success in the postseason.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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