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AL DIVISION SERIES: ASTROS VS WHITE SOX


October 7, 2021


Michael Brantley

Yordan Alvarez


Houston, Texas, USA

Minute Maid Park

Houston Astros

Postgame 1 Press Conference


Astros - 6, White Sox - 1

Q. What made you want to bunt there, and are you surprised teams shift you?

MICHAEL BRANTLEY: I just thought it was a good play at that time. Get somebody in scoring position, keep the pressure on Lance Lynn. Teams can do whatever they want. They can shift. It really doesn't matter to me. I just need to stay within myself and do whatever I can for the team.

Q. Meyers really hadn't hit righties all that well this season. For him to come out tonight in his first postseason game and drive in a run and get another single, what have you seen from him as far as his mindset to stay ready and deliver in big moments?

MICHAEL BRANTLEY: He has a great work ethic. You guys don't get to see it, but behind closed doors, he's always working hard. He's a great kid that asks a lot of great questions. He is always willing to learn. I'm really excited for him. It was some big swings for us today, obviously for us to get the first run on the board as well.

Q. Just the significance of winning Game 1 in a short series.

MICHAEL BRANTLEY: You want to win every game obviously, but to come out and get a victory in Game 1 is important, of course, and obviously to protect home field is also important. So we did a good job of just working together as a team tonight, and we look forward to doing it again tomorrow.

Q. Last year you won the AL west. Graveman said that you pulled some of the guys who had never been to the playoffs to the side and talked to them and celebrated with them. What did you tell them before this game tonight?

MICHAEL BRANTLEY: I just told them to enjoy it when we clinch. That's what it's all about, guys that are there for the first time that have been in the Big Leagues for a while or a young rookie that just came up, to get a chance to celebrate and enjoy the champagne and enjoy the celebration of how hard we worked from Spring Training all year long to get to that moment.

Q. Lynn's a guy that throws a lot of fastballs and different kinds of fastballs. With you guys being such a good fastball hitting team, do you think you're a good matchup? Why do you think you had so much success against him?

MICHAEL BRANTLEY: I am not quite sure. I think we trust each other in that lineup and in that locker room. I think we do a great job of preparing as well, and we come out there and lean on one another, and we do a great job of communicating throughout the game to put up good approaches and good at-bats consistently.

Q. Considering what you went through at the end of the season with the injury, how did you feel just being back in the lineup tonight, running the bases, obviously with the sacrifice bunt as well, hustling down to first base, just in terms of your health and being as comfortable as possible out there?

MICHAEL BRANTLEY: I'm doing great. I said this before earlier. I think the training staff and the great group of doctors they have in here to get me back to this moment. I miss being out there with the guys, and I'm just glad to be out there Game 1 contributing, and just being with these guys every single day. It means a lot.

Q. Having Yordan here all season is great for your offense. You lost Springer, but you still led the majors in runs. Did you anticipate having Yordan for a full season and Tucker could pick up for where Springer came off?

MICHAEL BRANTLEY: I don't know if we can ever replace George Springer. He was a phenomenal player here for a long time. We also had a lot of guys to step in. You knew the value of Alvarez coming up and Tuck what he can do as well. Those guys have been doing a great job for us all year long. We appreciate it. I'm glad they're on our team for sure.

They're some of the best hitters in the game. I'm fortunate enough to watch them every single day.

Q. What did you think about Lance? Obviously, he had a big day today. What did you think of watching him? Lance McCullers, I should say.

MICHAEL BRANTLEY: Phenomenal pitcher. He did a great job of attacking the zone and getting us off defense and back on the offense. When you're scoring runs, it's nice to get off the field quickly. He did a great job tonight of just getting us back in the dugout and allow the offense to go back to work.

Q. Yordan, what did it mean to you to come in here and have such a big game after having to sit out all season and just watch the Astros as they were in the playoffs last year?

YORDAN ÁLVAREZ: It meant a lot to me. I felt bad being away from the team all of last year. I tried to do my best to be as into it as possible, watching from TV and supportive from a distance. To be able to be back with the team and be able to help it out is really special.

Q. Michael, Lance told us he was waiting for the opportunity to be that frontline horse and kind of sat behind guys. Dusty said his command was awesome today. What did you see from his mentality wise and looking like a bonafide ace out there?

MICHAEL BRANTLEY: He's been throwing like an ace for a while now. He is going out there and attacking and competing. When he's in the zone especially with the sinker, in the lefties, back dooring the righties, and we know about the slider and we all know about his good breaking ball. He was pounding the zone all night. I believe he didn't have a walk tonight; is that correct? No walks. He's pounding the zone and getting outs early. That's really important.

Q. How difficult was last year not being able to play in the postseason, and how did you communicate with your teammates during that time?

YORDAN ALVAREZ: Yeah, like I said, I felt bad just not being able to be with the team and not be around. I was in communication the whole time with the guys, and we were still talking, joking around. We knew the possibility this year for me to be back on the team. That's what the possibility is, and I'm excited for me to be here to help out in the playoffs this year.

Q. (In Spanish)

YORDAN ALVAREZ: That's what we fought for to get the home field advantage and be able to play the first game here was big to us. Once we had that secured, our goal was just to win these first two games and then go look for one on the road.

Q. (In Spanish)

YORDAN ALVAREZ: I think today everything went well. Lance was spectacular, and the offense was able to respond to that and give the run support needed for us to win tonight.

Q. Yordan, what's been the key to your progression on defense this year? Is there anything specific that you picked up from Mike or any of your teammates or coaches that's really helped you?

YORDAN ALVAREZ: I think the main key for me has just been my health. Having pain in my knees and being able to move around out there is the biggest thing for me. As far as talking to the guys, yeah, I definitely do. I talk to the guys, especially Mike who's helped me a lot and has cleared up any doubts I have about anything. If I ever have a question, he's there. I talk to him and the coaches, but I definitely talk to Mike about a lot of things in the outfield.

Q. For both of you, Michael and Yordan, what did it mean to both of you to have a big game with so much on the line?

MICHAEL BRANTLEY: I think we did a great job as a team overall. Not in the postseason, it's not about one guy for the most part. It's a team effort mostly. When we have a lineup like we do and Lance threw the ball and the bullpen threw well today. I think that's the important key to keep it simple and trust one another.

YORDAN ALVAREZ: I think everybody knows what we came -- what purpose we came with today, and that's to win the game. I think that's we did. We were able to accomplish it, and tomorrow we're going to come out with the same attitude.

Q. Question for both of you. Tomorrow you're facing Lucas Giolito, who had great success against you in July, went the distance, won 10-1. What are your impressions of him?

MICHAEL BRANTLEY: First off, their pitching staff as a whole, we have a lot of respect for in that locker room, but at the same time, we're going to come out tomorrow with the same aggression we did today. We're going to come out with a team approach, learn from the last couple times we faced him and come out with a team approach and try to keep it simple and do what we did today. Just keep pressure on the defense. Keep pressure on hopefully Lucas and see how it works out.

YORDAN ALVAREZ: We all know that he's a great pitcher, but we have a really good offense as well. We're going to go out and just try to do our best to get him off the mound as quickly as we can tomorrow.

Q. (In Spanish)

YORDAN ALVAREZ: Yeah, everybody that's around me here has really helped me out as far as pitch selection and being better at being able to control the zone. Everybody has good information to give me, and I know how to utilize that information when we give it to me.

Q. (In Spanish)

YORDAN ALVAREZ: The thought we have is just to win tomorrow. I think that's the only thought on anyone's mind is just about winning.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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