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October 11, 2018

Dave Roberts

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Workout Day

Q. Dave, were you surprised that the Brewers did not go with ^ Chacin in the first game, went with two left-handers for the first two games and can we expect to see the type of lineup we saw Game 3 in Atlanta against Newcomb?
DAVE ROBERTS: I know that those guys have a process in place on how they want to approach the series, so we were kind of open to whatever direction they were going to go as far as starting pitching. As far as our lineup, it'll be somewhat similar to the Newcomb. I might tweak a thing or two, just because you also have to combat and prepare against those guys deploying their guys in the pen.

Q. Dave, after Clayton in Game 1, how are you setting up the rest of your rotation?
DAVE ROBERTS: We're going to go with Ryu, Game 2, and then Walker will pitch Game 3, and Rich Hill Game 4.

Q. What's it like for you as a manager when a player has the kind of unexpected year that Max has had?
DAVE ROBERTS: For me it's actually very gratifying to see a player like him -- Chris Taylor last year -- to be that kind of grinder, blue-collar guy that just gets an opportunity and capitalizes and really immerses himself, entrenches himself in our ball club and somebody who we really count on, and a credit to his hard work, perseverance, all those descriptors, but I'm very proud of him, and we wouldn't be here without him.

Q. Piggybacking off of that, Dave, Max has some pretty good numbers against left-handed pitching this year, and I wonder if there's any temptation on your part to give him a start against a Gio Gonzalez or a Wade Miley. I know David has gotten the bulk of starts at first against lefties, but knowing what he can do off the bench, any thoughts to bringing him off the bench knowing what he can do late in the game?
DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, there's definitely thoughts of that. But Max has been pretty good off the bench also, and to have him available when you need him, he's shown that he can handle that role too, when it's presented to him. So tomorrow Dave is going to start at first base.

Q. Dave, when you look at this Brewers bullpen, I mean, what kind of challenges does that present for you, and have you faced anything like that where you got a Corey Knebel coming in in the sixth inning and you've got these guys just lined up to come in out of the bullpen?
DAVE ROBERTS: We haven't seen a pen like this, yeah, obviously since the trade deadline, and some of the guys that they've picked up. It's as deep a bullpen as you're going to see in the Big Leagues. Very good arms, very neutral as far as left hand versus right hand, but the quality isn't compensated at all. So I like our position players, too. So there's going to be some kind of chess played this series, and that's part of the fun.

Q. Dave, having managed Yasiel Puig now for three years, can you speak to maybe the challenges of that balance of letting him play free and kind of being who he is, but then also kind of reining him in so it doesn't hurt you guys as a team at times? And also, do you feel like you've been able to strike the right balance with him?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think you said it, it's a balance, and every player you have to treat differently, and Yasiel is definitely unique in his own right. I can't make him try to be Justin Turner or Chase Utley, but what I can do is make sure he prepares and he's accountable for his actions and his teammates. So we've had some difficult conversations, but I do believe that he trusts that I have his best interest, our team's best interest. But I think whether I've reached that optimum balance, I think that's probably a better question for Yasiel, but there's times that he's definitely not happy with me, but it's for his best interest.

Q. Dave, Craig came to the manager's job out of the front office here for the Brewers, and we've seen that with a couple other guys, guys who move right into the managing job. Do you think that's going to become more of a trend, and what advantage is it to maybe doing it the way you did versus somebody who comes right in from a playing career?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I did a year in the front office, not as extensive as Craig did. And number one, I think Craig just has a very calm demeanor. He has the ability for people to trust him and takes information -- he's very intelligent. Just having somebody put in this chair that understands what the front office is trying to implement and philosophies. And there's a lot of debates and discussions, but for someone to be open to that and to be able to get that to the clubhouse and to kind of land, it's unique. It takes a unique person.

And Craig certainly fits that. So I can see how the trend is going, because there's a lot of good stuff out there, but you still have to put that right person that the players and coaches respond to.

Q. What is your thought process in the rotation?
DAVE ROBERTS: The thought process is Hyun-Jin pitched Game 1 in the DS, and not to give him the two extra days to not pitch Game 2 and then to pitch Game 3, so I think that to keep him as current as possible, to keep him going. He's pitching really well. And then also just to give Walker just a couple extra days on the front end to get him ready.

So we just felt that Clayton starting Game 1, Hyun-Jin going Game 2, and then Walker, gives each of these guys the best chance to perform at their best.

Q. Dave, we've heard so much this year about bull-penning and openers, and the Brewers have been fairly aggressive about using those things. Do you see that as the next evolution in the game or is that a strategy just born out of the moment and circumstances?
DAVE ROBERTS: I think it's -- the Rays did it a little bit obviously. You'll see it a little bit more. I think it's good until it's not. So with these guys, it's worked out. But it's still hard to bet against good quality starting pitching for me, and every staff is kind of composed differently. And lineups you're potentially going to face that are -- some lineups are set. I think you're seeing it more and more that teams are not just setting a certain lineup every single day. So I think that that's kind of evolved. So I think that, yeah, you'll see it a little bit more. But sustainability, not so certain.

Q. Dave, you guys met in the middle of the season, and Yelich was playing well then, but he sort of kicked it into a new gear the last five or six weeks. What did you hear about him? What do your scouts say about him, and what's the challenge of a guy who's playing at that level to get out?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, he's clearly a guy you don't want to let beat you. He's covering a lot of different zones. He hits left-handed pitching, right-handed pitching. He's using the big part of the field. He can shorten up and get a base hit when he needs to. So I think for us the key is obviously you're aware of him, and you have to kind of sequence him the right way, because he's swinging the bat very well, and he's an MVP.

Q. Dave, given the strength of their bullpen, I know this time of year you don't generally see bad bullpens anyway. But the length that they expect to get out of their starters other than maybe Chacin, being shorter length. Do you feel like these games could actually be decided in the early to middle innings as compared to other series you've played at this time of year?
DAVE ROBERTS: That's fair. Obviously, their highest of leverage guys are going to be used or have been used with leads. So it is important that if you can get a lead, it kind of changes their kind of way they deploy guys. And every inning is important, but when you look at their guys in the pen, it's tough to score runs. They do a very good job of preventing runs.

How long each guy goes, that's up to Craig, but I do think that in a seven-game series, to really -- regardless of how good a pen is, the more innings you can have them log, I think that that's in our best interest. So the idea of beating the starter still for me makes sense.

Q. Dave, in terms of communicating to your guys the why of what you're doing, how does that dynamic change in the postseason when things move so quickly and obviously emotions are a little more heightened?
DAVE ROBERTS: Well, the why is explained a lot through the regular season, and in the postseason things do happen more quickly, and it's more of there's gotta be a trust kind of embedded in your culture and your team, where you just have to kind of do what you're asked, because there's a lot of thought and preparation that goes in every decision we make. And fortunately for us we have that.

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