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.

11 Comments

Huston, you are such an inspirational person. I am a fastpitch softball pitcher and I read an article the other day where you mentioned that the only thing that you could control was home-runs, walks and the pitches you make and after that it was out of your control, reading this gave me a lot of inspiration and helped me with my thought process on the mound that day and i truly believe helped me do as well as i did. Thank you so much for your inspirational comments they have really taught me a lot about pitching.

Huston, you are beautiful, wonderful, fantastic, etc. I never worry when we get to the 9th inning, because I know you can do it! Sorry I sound like such a creep…I swear I am not…

Huston, I have two kids that are starting to compete in sports. As a Christian parent it is great to be able to point to a guy that performs at the level you do, on the stage that you are on and say, “That guys looks to God for his strength.” Thank you for having the humility to write that. And thanks for being one of those guys. It’s great having you here in Colorado. Good luck in the rest of the post season!

-Bill

w2g im happy for u!! even tho im a giants fan ;p

Thanks for the blog, Houston. You were great today, just as you have been all year. I appreciate you giving some insight into how you keep your mental frame of mind straight during such intense moments. I could barely handle the 9th today as a fan, and I can’t imagine how high-level athletes can keep their focus at the end of a game like that.

I’ll be bundled up and cheering for you Saturday at Coors. Maybe we’ll get a day where we have a big enough lead that you don’t need to come in, but in case you do, I have all the confidence that you can pull it out.

Thank you Houston. Thank you for that save yesterday. Thank you for all you have done for the Rockies this season. I’ve seen you before during batting practice tossing out water bottles to the fellas. I always wondered why you did that. Very cool, good luck to you and to the Rockies in this post-season and in the future…D
http://baseballsnatcher.mlblogs.com/

Once again you come through in the 9th for us! I hope the weather predictions are wrong and Saturday’s game is a go! It’s always fun to watch you and the other pitchers warm-up before the game starts.
Thanks for locking down the 9th inning for us.

You are such a stand up guy. It’s guys like you who make me proud to be a Rockies fan. No matter how you play, you always have class.

I’ll pray that prayer for you, too.

Huston,
Thank you for starting this blog. It helps to see what you go through during the game. Watching you at Coors (and being lucky enough to talk with you) this year, we have seen that you were not only a great player, but a great, humble man as well. Good luck throughout the rest of the playoffs and thank you for being the role model that you are.
Chris

It’s definately tough to be a closer, good or bad days, at home or on the road, the good days in October must feel great…I’d like to say keep up the good work, but I find I have to say I hope the Rockies are behind in the 9th the weekend and don’t need you…:-)
~peter
Outside the Phillies Looking In
http://devilabrit.mlblogs.com

Huston, a phenomenal closer and inspirational writer. Is there anything you can’t do? It’s been an honor to have you play for our team this season; you’re a huge role model and I’ve heard nothing but good things from people who have met you. Keep up the good work and the water, you’re supported by Rockies fans everywhere.
Emily
http://deconstructingthoughts.mlblogs.com/

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