Interview with Ensberg

Interview with Ensberg

After winning the series and beating the Braves last year, do you automatically come in here now with more of a comfort zone for the place and just more at ease than you were last year coming into this series?

MORGAN ENSBERG: Yeah, I think, obviously, experience is something that's very important when you're talking about playoffs and you're talking about postseason. We are in familiar areas, in very familiar territory. We did this last year.

So, yeah, I mean, whereas last year we came in, or at least I came in very much unknown, this year you come in with a better understanding of how things work. I would say the confidence might be just a tad bit higher, or at least the familiarity.

Is coming off a final day victory an advantage or do you think it's better having a little more rest?

ENSBERG: Well, I don't know if rest would have really helped us too much. We have the two days off anyway. I think coming off victories are really important. I hadn't done a lot of thinking, actually, about it. The Cubs battled us really tough. They certainly did not lay down whatsoever. I think that really kept us sharp and focused.

But I like the way we're coming in here after beating a very, very strong Cubs team.

Andy Pettitte missed last season. What do you think his emotions were coming into the playoffs this year and can you talk about having him here now?

ENSBERG: I'm unable to comment on his emotions, you know, I'm not him. But as far as having Andy Pettitte here this time around, I mean, it's awesome. Seeing what this guy did the past two and a half months has been incredible. The guy has been really spotting his pitches, he's been difficult to hit. Guys get on base, in scoring position, he seems to take it to another level, which is what we're also familiar with with Rocket.

So, I mean, I think Andy has a large is a large reason why we got to the postseason, especially in the second half. He certainly was the second half MVP.

Did you see a change in Andy this year? Last year there was so much transition for him coming from New York and having to go through the new things. Did he seem more at ease?

ENSBERG: You know what's interesting, I saw a much happier Andy Pettitte and that's largely because he was healthy. Last year he was riddled with injury. We didn't see him too much. We saw glimpses of him. But this year he's been healthy and he's really been able to kind of keep his routines. Like I said, watching him pitch is really incredible.

When the Braves were putting together this run of 14 consecutive division titles, in the early years they did a lot with big pitching. Everybody said the Braves pitching, the big three Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz. Now it's reversed in a lot of respects. Do you feel that way?

ENSBERG: I really believe that we have the best pitching in the Big Leagues. I think that our starting pitchers are incredible. We have the bullpen that kind of compliments that. As you start getting towards the seventh inning with the lead, we'll start with Chad Qualls and Dan Wheeler, it makes things really difficult to score. Obviously you bring in Brad Lidge, who I think is the best closer in the league, that makes things difficult.

But I think that would be a safe assumption, we're coming in here with a tremendous pitching staff. Which hopefully, if we use the rules of baseball that have applied for 100 years, pitching and defense wins games, so I'm hoping that carries over here.

How are the playoffs different?

ENSBERG: Well, the playoffs are different because I think just the importance, you have less games, the intensity of what's going on, and just all of the hype involved and so forth. It's just a different environment.

But this is kind of the time maybe I'd equate it to All Stars when you were younger there's just such an excitement about it. And, you know, in our situation, after starting off 15 30, we've had a really nice run, you know, since then.

So I think this is really the payoff and this is the time when you really do have fun and just lay it out there because any team's got a shot.

Do you feel any different?

ENSBERG: I don't. I mean, you know, you've seen me all year. I feel like it's the same. Luckily, we play a game that does have 162 games, you don't hear that too often, but you do become so used to playing in the game. When I'm out there, it feels exactly the same versus meaning in the situations. Let's say you got bases loaded, nobody out, it feels the same to me in that situation versus some game in the middle of July.

Are you coming in more worried this year than last about the Braves? Are they a better team this year?

ENSBERG: To be completely honest with you, I don't really read or watch TV and stuff like that. So when I go out there, I'm just kind of playing the game. I have no idea what they've been doing. You know, there are questions about their pitching staff and who you're going to face and so forth, I keep things extremely simple. If the plate is there and the guy's got to throw the ball over the plate, I'm going to try to hit it. So I just don't really keep track of what they're doing.

You say you don't read or watch or anything like that, but when you played the Braves back in May, this is a team going in a different direction. What's the biggest difference now between this team back in May when you faced the Braves as opposed to now?

ENSBERG: Well, I mean, without this is going to be somewhat uneducated, but it seems there's been a large turnover in players, although I probably couldn't even tell you who's playing. I just know that there was a lot of young guys that came up that I've heard about and that's about it. So I really don't know.

Between now and May, regarding Houston?

ENSBERG: Well, I mean, in May is when our team obviously was trying to get out of such a bad beginning. I think we were 1 20 or something like that on the road. You saw a lot of guys who were very young and very green not having much experience. I think guys were slowly calming down and getting used to playing in the Big Leagues and seeing that they can do positive things in the Big Leagues and that even these top pitchers do miss or these great hitters do miss balls, also.

I think as our guys became more used to our roles, you know, there was just an adjustment.

How good was Hudson when you saw him earlier this year?

ENSBERG: I mean, I remember facing Hudson in like one at bat, and I know that's kind of ridiculous. But I just remember striking out on a two seam fastball that I thought was way off the plate.

I remember the guy competes. I know that he's a tremendous athlete. I know that his fastball moves. He's good with his off speed in the zone.

But to be really honest with you, I mean, I just remember that particular pitch.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.