NED YOST: No. He's just good. I mean, he's just good. But you look at his home and away record, there's quite a big difference in that. But it just -- he just pitches good here. And sometimes there's just no reason for it.
Q. Ventura for Game 4?
NED YOST: Yeah, Ventura for Game 4.
Q. After the game last night, lot of your players were talking about they had complete confidence they were going to come back. How long has that confidence been going on? Did it start in the Postseason last year?
NED YOST: Yeah, from the Postseason, really. It was a dramatic shift in confidence and belief in their ability after the Wild Card game. We were down 4 in the 8th inning against Jon Lester, they came back from that.
And from that point on, the belief has been there, that, hey, we can come back from anything. We can come back being down one game to nothing in a five-game series. We can come back from a 3-0 lead early in the game.
So there's just -- as a manager, that makes the game so much more fun because they know what they're capable of doing. And you just sit back and let them go. They've got the confidence that we can get this thing done.
Q. The Astros have the best home record in the AL, as you know. What do you think makes them so tough here? And back to when you were managing the Brewers, what do you think makes this a particularly tough place to play?
NED YOST: Again, it's the quality of talent that they have on this team. They're a tremendous defensive club. Their outfield is like ours, their talent-wise. They cover a lot of ground. They all throw well. Their defense in the infield is very, very solid. Their starting pitching is very good. And they've got young, athletic hitters that can do things.
They can drive a fastball out of a big ballpark, let alone this ballpark, where if we played in this ballpark, guys like Moustakas and Salvador, they'd have 30, 35 home runs.
But it's two teams that I feel are very evenly matched in terms of talent and athleticism and ability.
Q. Ned, when you took over this job and you're getting to know the team a little bit, did it take you a little bit to sort of let them be them, play with that energy, play with that personality?
NED YOST: Yeah, I think so, a little bit. When I took over this team, I'd spent all Spring Training basically evaluating or watching a Major League team, but I spent more time in the Minor Leagues watching Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, these types of guys, Herrera, who were all in A ball at that time.
And by the time they got to the Big Leagues, I think they still kind of had some old-school ways, because I grew up under Bobby Cox, and Bobby was a guy that really wanted no emotion in the game. He didn't like celebrations. He didn't like music. He wouldn't even let them wear Oakley sunglasses back in those days.
That was what I grew up watching. Somebody told me one time, if you want to be successful, pick the most successful person in your field and do everything exactly the way he does. I thought, that's a good way to start, but I think it finally got to a point in these kids' second year where I realized these guys are different, they're from a different generation than I grew up. It doesn't mean that it's right or it's wrong, but it's who they are.
And I think in order to have success, you have to allow them to be who they are. So all of a sudden we started: Okay, you guys want music in the clubhouse? Control it. You want to celebrate? And, myself, I kind of like the passion and the energy that young players exhibit.
So started kind of laying off the reins a little bit and letting them be themselves. And then you find out, man, these guys are starting to do pretty good when you let them be who they are.
Again, there's certain things. You want to give them some discipline. You want them to be able to have respect for the game, have respect for the opposition, but be who you are.
And our guys have done a great job of doing that. They have total respect for the game, they have respect for the opposition. But they enjoy playing with each other and they enjoy being themselves.
And the freedom to be that I think has been probably one of my -- or allowing them to be that has been one of my biggest adjustments that I've made. I think if you're comfortable being who you are instead of trying to be somebody who wants you to be somebody else, you become more successful at it.
I think the job that A.J.'s done this year over there in Houston, he's done the same thing. And I think we both learned from past managerial experiences that with young players, let them be who they -- that have a real will to win, let them be who they are and let them play, and you'll have more success doing it.
Q. Ned, you talk a lot about Houston's power, but they steal a lot of bases too. Talk about the importance of controlling the running game.
NED YOST: It's very, very important, and the best way to do it is keep the top three off the bases, because those guys, they can run. Gomez can run. Marisnick can run.
But you have to. You have to really stay focused on make sure you maintain your slide step, make sure you vary your times to the plate, and make it as uncomfortable as you can.
Now, last year when we were kind of running wild, then teams took notice. And now all of a sudden this year that's what they've done to us. That's why our stolen base percentage is done now.
Teams are varying their moves. They know that we will run. But we're not going to run unless you give us the opportunity, and we have very few opportunities now because everybody's one-two, one-three to the plate, and you've got to really pick your spots on a breaking ball or a slider or a changeup down in the dirt to help your success.
Q. After Game 1, some of your players I think were a little frustrated, or at least expressed a little frustration, that they had some bad luck with the shift, Game 2 had kind of turned, and a couple hits that they got maybe were because of the shift. Do you feel that took a little weight off their shoulders a little bit?
NED YOST: No. I mean, winning the ball game took a little bit of weight off your shoulders. But that's -- you play the percentages on the shifts, and they do a really, really good job at it.
After Game 1, guys were a little frustrated that every ball they hit hard was right at somebody, and it played to our advantage yesterday.
So you can't go out and say, okay, look at the shift, I'm going to try to beat the shift. But you can when you're not trying to do too much. Stay focused on driving the ball the other way. If you get a good pitch to pull, go ahead and pull it, and just go back to your normal game plan.
Q. Ned, some thoughts about Colby Rasmus and general thoughts about what you do when you run into a hitter as hot as he is right now.
NED YOST: He's hot. He's swinging the bat extremely well. He's not missing pitches. And when guys are swinging the bat really well, that's why. Because they're seeing the ball well. They're being able to distinguish between offspeed stuff, they're picking up spin on sliders, they're recognizing changeups early and they're recognizing fastballs early, and when they're getting pitches in their spot and in the zone, they're not missing them.
With a guy like that, you've got to really execute your pitches or you're going to get burned.
Q. To the emotion thing and celebrations, players being themselves. If an opponent does it, whether it's a bat flip or someone stealing second and really getting into it, as long as they're not disrespecting, is that the fine line you see?
NED YOST: Yeah. Again, I want them to enjoy, but I don't want them to disrespect the opposing team and I don't want them to disrespect the game. And our guys, again, have done a really good job with that. Houston's guys, from what I've seen, have done a really, really good job with that.
It just brings an element -- I think the country fell in love with our team last year because of the passion and the energy and the fun that they were having playing with each other. So I think it's fun. It brings an element of kind of joy and fun into the game, seeing two teams that are equally alike on the field but still have that same passion level on both sides too.
I watched highlights last night when we got to the hotel, and to see the celebration in Houston's dugout when they went up 3-0 and then to turn around and see it in ours in the sixth and the seventh inning, I thought it was very interesting.
Q. You mentioned just kind of the weight off the players' shoulders. How big a difference is it coming here 1-1 versus potentially 0-2, knowing you would have to face Keuchel tomorrow?
NED YOST: Oh, no different. None.
Q. You said you were going to be honest.
NED YOST: I mean, that's huge. I mean, that's a huge difference. Again, it goes back to our confidence as a team. And I don't think our team ever feels like they're out of anything.
So if we didn't win yesterday, I still feel that our club would have felt like, hey, it's a five-game series, whoever wins three wins and we still have three games left.
But there's a big difference. I got a chance to know Dallas Keuchel at the All-Star Game, and he's a wonderful young man. Got a really cool beard. But he's a fantastic pitcher. I picked him to start the All-Star Game, in a big game, a game we really wanted to win. I now how tough a competitor he is. I know how well he can execute pitches. And I would much rather go into this game against him tomorrow tied 1-1 than to be down 0-2.
Q. Ned, on the two replay challenges yesterday, both times I guess Eskie and Hos both looked in the dugout right away. How much do you take your cues from when you see a player that emphatic? Is that you're definitely going to go after it?
NED YOST: With Hos, Hos's play, it was more, because I couldn't tell on that play. On Eskie's play, I could see it with my bare eye.
And you know what's funny, before instant replay, I couldn't tell. I couldn't tell if guys were safe or out at second, couldn't tell if they were safe or out at first.
But since replay has come along, and I don't know why it is, but I can see much clearer now. I guess because I know that I've got that backup behind me. I can generally, 85 percent of the time, tell if we're going to challenge that play or not.
But that just goes to our video replay coordinator, Billy Duplissea, Mark Topping, they do a great job of teaming up in that video room and getting those calls right. And both of those calls were big calls for us. It's good to have those guys, man. They're top notch.