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.