I wouldn’t want it any other way

The bad comes with the good.

 

My regular season was a good regular season. My postseason was not. The thing to remember is that if you put your heart into it, if you care, if it means something to you, it’s going to hurt. I don’t think I would want it any other way. If I was sitting here and didn’t feel anything right now, then I need to do something else. That’s a waste of my life of putting it all on the line. That’s kind of what the role is all about. It’s feast or famine.

 

It’s also important for other people to understand that if you go out there and get a loss, blow a save, it’s not so much that you hurt for yourself. Feeling sorry for yourself, I’ve always said is a waste of energy. You can’t do anything to change it. But the energy and the time and the love that you put in for your teammates, that’s what makes it hurt. That makes worth it, too.

On the flip side, the other team, whoever that is, unless you win your last game, the other team is celebrating. That’s why we play. We show up at the beginning of the season to win the World Series.

 

At first you feel numb to it, because it’s a shock. That’s what me sitting on the bench was at first. But after I came out of the game, we still had three outs to play. So you’re still trying to figure out a way to help your team win. I was on the top step, cheering our guys on. It’s not over until it’s over, obviously. You’ve seen that a lot in this postseason. Weakness is quitting at that point. Weakness is feeling sorry for yourself.

 

Weakness is expecting people to pat you on the back. You appreciated it. Does it help? Not really? Does it hurt? No. Then do you appreciate it? Absolutely.

 

When it’s over, some people sit in the dugout, dwell on it. To me, I don’t sit out there for too long. It’s over. My team is in the clubhouse, so that’s where I go.

 

Those next five minutes are probably the worst, worse even than Ryan Howard’s game-tying double or Werth’s ball falling in for the go-ahead run. Those are the worst moments, just because there is nothing left that you can do.

 

But you go into the offseason, you learn from it. For me, I realize how special a year it was for this group of people.

 

And 2010, that’s all that’s left to put your energy toward.

 

Any energy spent feeling sorry for yourself is wasted energy

The single by Chase Utley in the ninth inning should have been a foul ball. He hit it, and the ball definitely hit his leg. The umpires didn’t see it. I also thought he was out at first base, but they said my throw pulled Todd Helton off the bag. They ended up getting a sacrifice fly from Ryan Howard for the go-ahead run. Now we have to win to stay alive.

This was disappointing. But that’s the thing. You can’t get it back. So to spend more energy … We can argue all night long whether the ball hit him. We can argue all night long whether he was safe at first base. Actually, there’s not much of an argument. It’s right there on video. But we can’t change it. That’s the truth of the situation. That’s the fact, the reality that you have to move forward with. From there, it’s pretty simple. What are we going to do tomorrow to force a Game 5?

That’s the bottom line. We lost today. That’s part of the game, figuring out a way. How many times have we lost, then won two in a row? That’s all that’s left in front of us, to win two games in a row. You do it one game at a time, one pitch at a time, one out, one moment. As long as you don’t spend too much time and energy dwelling on everything that you want to scream about … You’ve got to move past it. You have to be stronger than the situation. Just show up tomorrow ready to work.

Both of my parents never let me make excuses. They never let you pout. They never let me throw my helmet after an at-bat or come in after a school test and explain why. There was never any talking about things by saying, “That’s unfair.” You can either spend time thinking about what’s unfair, or you can spend time thinking about changing your situation. So any energy spent on feeling sorry for yourself is wasted energy.

Cool with the cold

Not playing yesterday was not a disruption to our routine. The game got postponed before most of us woke up. It would be one thing if you got to the field, you got all ready to go. That would have provided a little bit of a disruption. But that’s part of the playoffs and part of weather. I think it served both the teams pretty well. It gave everybody a day off. We had a workout, and now we’re ready to go.

I’ve pitched in colder weather than tonight. I pitched in ’06 in Detroit, and it snowed the day before. But I guess it’s all relative. You’ve got heaters in the bullpen, so they’ll keep you plenty warm. There are a couple of tanks of gas and a portable heater that pours out hot air down in the cage at the bottom of the scoreboard in right field. No one is going to pretend it’s not cold and sit outside. It’s about being ready to pitch when they call you. Now, if this were April or something, guys would joke around, sit out side and say they aren’t cold. Now, though, everybody’s going to make sure they’re doing whatever to keep warm.

I’m sure the guys in the bullpen will go down there in waves. They’ll go down when their inning comes up. If you’re in middle relief, you’ll go down at that time. You want to stay in the clubhouse and stay warm as long as you can. Guys should do that. They will.

 

In the ninth, I pray for strength and courage

We won today, 5-4. And now the Phillies are coming to our place with the series tied. The goal is to win every game, but after we lost the first one we forgot about that and thought about the best-case scenario. I ended up getting the save today. It was a tight game.

 

Once Jayson Werth hit the home run in the eighth inning, I knew I was going to be in the game. I knew Franklin Morales was going into the game, so I had some time. I prepared myself a little bit slower.

 

When I was running in from the bullpen, I had a right-hander up first, Ben Francisco. He’s a first-pitch swinger, but I don’t care who you are, if you’re coming off the bench in this kind of a game, I’m going to challenge you. I’m going to be 0-1. They know I’ve got my slider and they pay more attention to it. It gives you more room for error with the fastball.

 

But right before I step on the mound, I step back and say a little prayer. My prayer is for strength and courage. It’s not to win, not for success. Just give me the strength and courage to do my job to the best of my ability. I’ve always felt that if you stick to that code, the results will take care of themselves. If you get beat, at least you’re competing with that frame of mine.

 

With one out, they sent up Matt Stairs. I knew they’d send him up. He’s had a lot of success — 4-for-8, two home runs. I know that every time he’s gotten a hit off me, it’s cost me a win, cost me a blown save … either way it prolonged the game longer than it should’ve been.  And you respect that about him. There will be those guys around the league that see you and hit you well. My one advantage, I did put this in my mind, he’s never seen me from the right side of the pitching rubber. I moved there from the left side earlier this year. Even then, I got ahead 1-2 and he laid off some good pitches. He takes tough at-bats. That’s why he was in there. He did what his team needed to do, draw a walk.

 

Jimmy Rollins got a solid hit with two out. As soon as you give up a hit in that situation, you have to forget it.

 

Then Shane Victorino comes up. I had two strikes. All I was thinking was just one good pitch. You’re one good pitch away from the game being over.

 

I slowed it down. I slowed the game down a whole lot. He’s gong to be on my pace. I’m going to be sure of the pitch I’m going to throw, and I’m going to be sure of exactly how I’m going to throw it before I step on the mound. When you see me pause, when you see me rub that ball up, I’m focusing on making one good pitch. With Rollins, I didn’t make my pitch. The pitch to Victorino, I felt, was a good pitch. He did a good job just to hit it. We had him played right.

 

That was another one of those moments when it took awhile to get to Clint Barmes’ glove. But from the mound, I can see in ‘Barmie’s’ eyes when he relaxes, when he knows he’s going to get there.

 

I don’t know what I did, but when I turned around I was close to my catcher, Yorvit Torrealba. I must have shuffled halfway to home plate.

It’s playoff time … so stay hydrated

You wake up today excited, like you do most days. These just mean a little bit more. There are natural emotions that go with it. If you don’t experience that, you’re not a human being. That being said, you just go about your business, same as you’ve always done and enjoy the fact that we’re in the playoffs. We’re doing something that’s extremely special. We were a team at the beginning of June we were a team that was a dead issue. We’ve still got a chance to win a World Championship. That’s the coolest part about today. It’s just the first step. Hopefully, we’re on an 11-win journey to winning a World Series ring.

 

So you stick with your routine. For me, it’s getting a big bag full of little bottles of water and taking them to guys during batting practice. In most visiting parks, they think I’m the water boy. That’s fine with me.

 

I started doing it my rookie season with the A’s, with Octavio Dotel and Ricardo Rincon. They wanted water during BP. I was a rookie. They were veterans. I obliged. I had a good year, was the American League Rookie of the Year. I did it the next year and we went to the ALCS. By that point it had become habit, so I’ve carried it here.

 

Everybody likes it. You stand out there during BP and you don’t get anything to drink, unless you run all the way in to the dugout and run all the way back out. Everybody seems to take a pretty good liking to it. I keep my boys hydrated. You’re not going to see anybody cramping up out there, that’s for sure.

 

I’m a veteran now. But that’s part of being on a team. You take care of each other. Guys pick each other up in all kinds of different ways. It’s another something to focus on, part of a routine that helps you stay calm and pass the time.

 

I did it the whole time when I was injured, out with a biceps tendon strain. You’ve got to keep it going, especially when the team get on a roll.

 

I don’t do it during Spring Training because there are 62 guys. Sixty-two bottles of water is something like 70 pounds. September is always a little tough because you’ve got 40 guys out there. But not that it’s the playoffs, it’s easier.

 

It’s all water, except Jason Marquis likes a red sports drink and Garrett Atkins likes blue or green. I take special requests whenever I can.

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