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October 7, 2021

Corbin Burnes

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

American Family Field

Milwaukee Brewers

Workout Day Press Conference

Q. How much more does it mean to you this year, after not getting a chance to pitch in the series last year, you got hurt in that last -- it was so unfair. How much more does this make it more special for you?

CORBIN BURNES: I don't think it makes it anymore special. For us to reach the postseason four years in a row is, I think, the more special part.

These guys have worked their butts off and have earned the right to be here and play in this game. So I'm excited to be able to take the ball on Game 1 and go out there and see what I can do to help us get in the win column in Game 1.

We're at the point now where four years in a row, we're getting used to this. It's something we expect to do, go make a deep run.

Q. What has Chris Hook meant to you personally and to the staff and the improvements you guys have shown, especially this year?

CORBIN BURNES: Hooky, I've been around Hooky since 2017. I've gotten a good foundation of work with him dating back to Biloxi in 2017, as well as some other guys that have come up in the system with him as well. Freddy was part of that. Obviously Woody came through there.

So a lot of guys have worked with him for multiple years now. I think that's just kind of the foundation of where it all started. He learned each of us as a person, each of us mechanically. He's allowed us to continue to build off what we started in our minor league careers.

He knows what it takes to, hey, if we're off a little bit, he knows a few keywords or a few key mechanical things getting us back on track. Just having the relationship with him over the last five years I think is probably the biggest thing that we can all draw from.

Q. You mentioned the system. With you, with Woody, with Freddy, you've all pitched all, in Freddy's case, most of your pro career in this system. And Houser, a lot of his development happened in this system. What are the Brewers doing right that other clubs, you know, are probably now trying to emulate?

CORBIN BURNES: Obviously I can't speak for other clubs, because I was always with the Brewers. But they've got a great player-development crew and staff. I think it's kind of been evolving over the last couple of years as well to bring in more people for the analytics side of it. Just continue to try to work on the numbers and really maximize anything we can as a player.

I think really starting from even A ball, A ball into the big leagues, everyone is on the same page. Obviously everyone's goal is to get guys to the big leagues, have success at the big leagues and get to this point where we're playing in the postseason year after year.

So I want to applaud those guys for the work they put in behind the scenes, because no one knows what they're doing for the 140 games of the minor league. All you see is the 162 in the big leagues. We had a lot of them come through in September, a lot of coordinators and coaches, just to be around the team and give us a chance to thank them for getting guys here.

Obviously we had a bunch of guys come up this year and have a bunch of success. We can't forget these guys when we're having success in the big leagues level, and four years in a row they need some of that acknowledgment as well.

Q. I know you're familiar with this Braves team, look a lot different since the trade deadline. What are some of the challenges they present to you?

CORBIN BURNES: I mean, they're a good-swing lineup. Obviously they're big on the home run ball. I have faced these guys, I believe it was the day of or the day after the trade deadline. So I faced the lineup with Duvall in there. Rosario was hurt. Soler wasn't there yet. So it's a very similar lineup to what I faced with a couple of bats here or there.

Yeah, they're a good lineup. They showed in the second half that they can compete with anyone in the National League and fought their way to the NL East title. They're going to be a good team. It's going to be a good series.

Q. Do you ever allow yourself to be reflective on how you broke into the league pitching in 2018 in the postseason out of the bullpen, the challenges you faced and being named the Game 1 starter for the NLDS?

CORBIN BURNES: I try not to reflect too much while we're in season. Obviously it's been quite the ride since 2018 for myself and a lot of guys that have come up.

2018, the first year up, first year in the postseason was special. You kind of ride on that adrenaline high, and you don't really realize what's going on around you until it's over.

2019, I'm sure a lot of you know, a lot of you have reminded me how bad that was. And it's one of those years you want to forget and move on.

Last year, being a short season for what it was, it was a special year. And this year I think it's different than any other year, even though it's the fourth year in a row we're in postseason. It's a different group of guys. A few guys that are around from the 2018 team. But it's a different group. It's a different energy.

I think it's a different style of baseball than what we played in '18 and '19. But we're just excited to get out there and get playing. These last three or four days have felt really long. So we're definitely excited to strap it on and get going.

Q. When people often talk about the intensity of postseason baseball -- and we saw last night with the Dodgers and Cardinals game, every single pitch was so intense -- is there anything that you do differently at all for a postseason game as opposed to a regular season game? Do you just try to treat it as much as you can like game 102 or something?

CORBIN BURNES: Yeah, personally, it's another game. I try to treat every start as if it's the first start of the year. If you try to put more emphasis on certain games, you start trying to do too much. You start overthinking it.

So for me, when I prepare for every start, it's the same five or six days leading up to it. I do the same thing, same routine. I'm very routine oriented. My days become very boring, weeks become very boring. But that's how I'm able to stay focused, stay locked in. Just try to treat every start as the same. Obviously it's the postseason versus Opening Day, versus game 102, like you said.

But, for me, I treat it as if it's another start. It's the 29th start of the season now. So, for me, it's just go out and make another start and do what I can to help the team win.

Q. You had talked in spring training 2020 about your change, your approach to changing. Kind of alluding to it now, can you describe what that was and how you've maintained that over the last two seasons to get to where you are now?

CORBIN BURNES: Yes, so the big change from 2019 to 2020 was just try not to make the game bigger than it was. I got so caught up in what was going on around me, things I couldn't control. So at the end of 2019, going into 2020, it was, let's create a routine to where we can try to control as much as we can.

But you still have to realize that baseball, results, everything that goes on around you is still out of your control. The things I can control were the effort I put in that day, the energy I put in, the tangibles leading up to the work, the scouting reports, the work outs to make my body feel good -- those are the things I can control.

That was the main switch for me from 2019 to 2020 and even this year was, hey, create this routine of things that you can control so when you go out on your start day, you go out and execute as many pitches as possible.

If that gives the team a chance to win that day, great. If not, then we have some stuff we've got to work on leading up to next week, the next start.

Q. A function of being good every year is that as the years go by, people begin to say, okay, so when are they going to finally fill in the blank. Are there conversations internally in the clubhouse with the guys, like, hey, we've got to do this this year? Is that spoken?

CORBIN BURNES: I don't think "we've got to do this" is the language that we're using. When you start to put that added pressure on is when you start trying to do too much. You start getting away from what we do best as a team.

What we do best as a team is we play loose, we have fun, we have a lot of energy. Those guys in the dugout are always picking each other up. We're having fun. There's no pressure when we play.

If we start having the language of, "hey, we've got to win; this is the year we have to do it," you put this added pressure on. Guys start pressing. Guys start trying to do too much. It usually leads to bad results.

So for us in the clubhouse, we keep it light. It's a game. We're out here playing a game for a living. We're fortunate enough to do that.

So for us, let's go out there. Play the game. Do what we do best. Go out and have fun, be with your brothers out there. If we win, we win; if we lose it, we lose, whatever it is, we can't control the results. We feel we have a better chance if we're playing loose and having fun.

Q. Another development question, you core guys have not always been minor league teammates coming up, but to what extent if any did Woody, Freddy Peralta, Houser, did you all push each other as you developed up to the Major Leagues?

CORBIN BURNES: The one guy that I came up with since A ball was Freddy. Me and Freddy were at every step along the way. We always threw back-to-back in rotation.

Me and Freddy obviously have a really good relationship playing with one another, pushing one another. It wasn't until we got to Triple-A big leagues when we were with Woody the most. So we've had this three-way competition, I think for probably the last three years, wanting to push each other, wanting to get each other better.

It became more relevant this year in spring training when we realized it's going to be us three at the top, let's bring in Houser and other young guys with us try to push each other.

We talk about it all the time, it's a friendly competition. If I can go out, have a good start, Woody the next day follows up and has a good start. Freddy tries to one up him. If you are constantly pushing each other, constantly trying to make each other better, it's only going to create good results for the team.

Q. This year so much attention on spin rates and substances and everything else, the umpire checks. I'm curious for you, personally, to have the kind of year you did, with that much attention being focused on all of that stuff, does that make you feel even better that people were probably going to look at some of the best pitching years, like last year, and wonder was he doing something? This year, that was all taken care of, and you put those numbers up. Is there anything personal, kind of like showing people that, yeah, that's me; it's not something else?

CORBIN BURNES: For me, that just goes back to the controllables. You can't really control what other people think. You can't control what other people do. The league put a policy in place. We all have to follow it. If not, you're going to be gone for ten days.

So for me it was going out and my routine didn't change. Nothing changed. For me it's control what I can control. And for me that was the five days leading up to my start. Go out, try to execute as many pitches as possible. Whatever happens, happens. I'm not going out there trying to pitch to results or pitch to records, pitch to historic seasons.

I'm just trying to go out do my job every five or six days and execute pitches. And if that puts us in the win column that day, great. If not, then we've got things to work on.

All the outside noise and the outside commentary and, whatever may be, that's something that we can't control and it's something we can't get caught up on.

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