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September 30, 2008

Ryan Braun

Yovani Gallardo


THE MODERATOR: We have Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo here. Questions.

Q. Ryan, how much did the rib cage injury affect you in the last month of the season?
RYAN BRAUN: You know, it's frustrating whenever you have an injury that you're dealing with because physically I wasn't able to do what I was accustomed to doing. I think from a pain perspective it wasn't necessarily that painful. But it affected I guess my back path. I felt like I wasn't able to stay on the ball, stay through the ball. My follow through was drastically different.
It wasn't necessarily painful, but it was obviously very frustrating.

Q. Ryan, the last time you were here it was such a turning-point moment for both clubs, what did this team learn about itself when it sort of bottomed out after that four-game sweep? And, Yovani, for you afterwards, you haven't faced these guys. To what extent do you think your ability to give a fresh look maybe leads to a different result?
RYAN BRAUN: You know, I think for us as a team we learned yet again we were able to deal with adversity. This year has been kind of an emotional roller coaster for us the end of the series was about as low as we got as a team.
But, again, we responded well to adversity. I think we played much better down the stretch. I think the last week for us was basically a playoff atmosphere. I think we learned how to deal with that and ultimately had a win in those circumstances.
YOVANI GALLARDO: You know, as for me, the last time we were here I was unfortunately I was hurt so I faced them last year. So I'm sure they know what pitches I throw and things like that. But still, I mean, the only thing I'm going to go out there and do is give my team the opportunity to win.

Q. Now that you're here and now that you're in the post-season, is it any different? Are the butterflies already gone, do you try to get rid of distractions and the ticket requests and all this stuff?
RYAN BRAUN: For me it's no different. It's just another game. There's more emphasis, there's more focus and there's more scrutiny that goes on, but ultimately it's the same game but obviously just bigger circumstances, bigger situation.
But I think we're all looking forward to it. I think we're certainly prepared for this. I think playing meaningful, competitive games down the stretch, basically the last week for us was a must-win game every day. And playing under those circumstances and just basically feeling the energy of the crowd. Feeling the excitement in the crowd, dealing with the media every day, dealing with everything we had to deal with as a team I think really helped prepare us for the post-season.
YOVANI GALLARDO: You know, I think just like Ryan said, I mean of course there's going to be a lot more excitement going on. Everybody's going to pretty much going to be watching the playoffs.
But the main thing you've got the look at is just go out there, do the same thing you've been doing for 162 games. It's no different.

Q. Yovani, you probably have the fewest games and innings pitched of any pitcher ever to start Game 1 of any playoff series. Can you talk about that weird journey of not pitching most of the year and now being in this spotlight? And also Dale said he thinks you can go nine innings. What's your expectations?
YOVANI GALLARDO: I hope I can go nine. That's what I'm going to try for. It's been tough for me. Showing up at spring training, having my left knee surgery and missing the first couple weeks of the season having three starts and getting reinjured on my right knee.
But like I said, these guys they're behind me the whole way. I had an opportunity to do rehab back at the stadium and things like that. They were there. They were pushing me every day just to rehab hard and give me an opportunity to come back. And I'm just very excited. It's one of those things, to have the opportunity to go out there start Game 1. It's an honor.

Q. Did you think along the way, hey, if I get well, I could be pitching in the playoffs?
YOVANI GALLARDO: Of course. Like I said, the whole year this team had a goal, and that was to make the playoffs this year. And, like I said, they were there pushing me, and that was one of the goals I had in my mind, too.

Q. When did you first really get wind or have an idea you were going to be starting Game 1?
YOVANI GALLARDO: You know, I think yesterday. It's one of those things you really don't know how the whole -- you've got the set up your rotation and things like that. Like I said, I'm just excited to be part of the team and have an opportunity to go out and pitch.

Q. Last time you threw about 70 pitches in four innings. Do you feel like you can go like mid-July in a normal year throw 110, or are you going to be on a restricted count?
YOVANI GALLARDO: You know what, I really don't know. I guess it depends on how the game goes and things like that. Hopefully, I mean, they'll allow me give the opportunity to go a little bit more pitches than I did last time. But just one of those things we're going to have to wait around and see.

Q. How much in your opinion, if at all, did the managerial change matter, and do you think you guys would have been sitting here no matter what happened?
RYAN BRAUN: I don't think if it -- I don't know whether it directly had an effect on our success or our turnaround or not. I think it made us understand obviously the urgency of the situation and just the fact that upper management and that ownership believed that we could still turn this thing around and find a way to win. And obviously it's worked out for us.
It was a pretty easy transition because we were already -- we knew Dale. We were comfortable with Dale. He knows our abilities. He knows our personalities. And he also understands how difficult this game is. So it was a pretty easy transition. He certainly deserves a lot of the credit. But I don't think Ned deserved half of the fault that he was given at the same time either.

Q. Yovani, how much do you feed off when you see what C.C. does and what some of the other starters have done, feed off it for your purposes?
YOVANI GALLARDO: You know, for me, just having the opportunity to go out there and watch C.C. pitch every day, every start he's had. He's one of the most competitive guys that I've seen, I'll tell you that.
And just for every start, I think feel being a young guy, you can learn something from everybody, just having the opportunity to go out there. And he's a great guy. He just helps you out in whatever situations you might need.

Q. Ryan, in your mind what does it mean being a clutch hitter?
RYAN BRAUN: To stay comfortable, be able to stay within yourself. When the situation gets bigger late in the game or close game or runners on base, just be able to stay within yourself, not doing too much, staying relaxed and just looking to get a good pitch to hit and hitting it hard. When you try to do too much or overanalyze the situation, I think that's when you get yourself in trouble.

Q. Last time in here you were swept. Do you use that as motivation at all?
RYAN BRAUN: It's the post-season. We don't need any extra motivation. We obviously understand the situation we're in and we're excited to get out here and compete.

Q. Yovani, one thing that people always say about you how uncommonly poised and calm you are for such a young guy. How much is that going to be tested tomorrow?
YOVANI GALLARDO: It's going to be very tough, I'll tell you that. But, I mean, just like I said, you just gotta go out there and take it like a normal game and things like that. Everybody knows that I really don't -- I try not to show too much emotion out on the mound whether it be good or bad. It's the post-season, I'm sure there's going to be something there tomorrow. We'll see how it plays out.

Q. The guy we didn't mention related to the sweep of a few weeks ago was C.C. Of course, he didn't face the Phillies either. So to what extent, Ryan and Yovani, does the fact that you're able to give them two starters who they haven't seen this year give you some encouragement that you can come in here and actually get a split or maybe take both?
RYAN BRAUN: Yeah, it's exciting for us to have an opportunity to throw Yovani and C.C. at them Games 1 and 2 when they didn't have an opportunity to see them, and in my opinion those are two the best pitchers. And specially C.C., being that Ryan Howard has been the hottest hitter, he's left-handed, and Chase Utley, one of their best hitters and one of the best hitters in the league. He's left-handed.
Something for us to look forward to, but I'm sure they'll be prepared for the challenge and it will be fun to see what happens.

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