Relaxed and Winning

chase_blog.jpg

I think we had the lightest mood in the clubhouse ever before Game 5.

Honestly.

Guys were laughing and joking around. I can’t remember who said it, but somebody said, “You have the feeling we’re going to win today.” Just because everybody came here and we were loose.

It was a great game. Chase has been unbelievable. Cliff pitched good. Raul had a big hit. Shane’s hand is fine. I think I’m going to set a record for warming up, but I don’t care. As long as we keep getting outs, I’ll keep warming up.

We started off good, which was big. We had a hit, hit batter, home run. That’s a pretty good start. A.J. Burnett had one of those days, and I think our approach was a little different last night. He threw so many first-pitch strikes last time. Guys were swinging this time. Now we’ve got Game 6 on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. It should be fun.

Got to Forget This and Move Forward

That was about as tough a loss as I’ve experienced.

The only loss that has been more difficult is Game 6 of the 2002 World Series. We were just a few outs away from winning the World Series and Scott Spiezio had a long at-bat against Felix Rodriguez and hit a three-run home run to get the Angels back in the game. It was an at-bat like the one Brad Lidge had against Johnny Damon in the ninth inning last night in Game 4. It was a tough at-bat. Brad made pitches. He fouled them off. He got a single.

lidge_blog.jpg

It’s especially tough for it to fall on one man’s shoulders. Brad was perfect last year so he’s going to take it harder. But Brad stood in the clubhouse and talked tonight. I’ve played with some guys in my career who wouldn’t stand there and talk. They would tell a PR person to make up something about why they weren’t available. But he stands there like a man. You have to respect that. I know people are upset. I know fans are upset. But he stands there like a man every time. To me that’s very impressive.

We just have to forget about this. There’s no way around it. We have to come to the ballpark later today and say, “We’re going to try to beat A.J. Burnett and the New York Yankees and send this series back to New York.” We can’t let Jimmy’s prediction be a mirror image of what he said.

We have to win three in a row to end the season. We’ve won three in a row before.

We’re Down, But We’re Confident

I know we haven’t trailed in a series since the 2007 NLDS against the Rockies. I wasn’t there for that, but I know this team is going to respond the same way we always do. I think we’ll come out ready with Big Joe vs. Big CC in Game 3.

hamels.jpg

You can’t change anything because you’re down 2-1. We know we’ve got to win three out of four. It’s not like it hasn’t been done before. It’s not like it’s 3-1. It’s 2-1. If we win Game 3, the series is tied and it’s a three-game series, and we like our chances in a three-game series. But no question Sunday is a big day.

Cole said it seems like things suddenly just go south on him while he is cruising. It was the same thing for me when I started. It was one inning. It was three or four runs in one inning. It takes the wind right out of your sails as a pitcher. You could almost narrow it to Nick Swisher’s at-bat in the fifth inning. He was 0-2 and Cole threw him a couple curveballs. He hit one for a double down the left-field line. Then the curveball to Andy Pettitte went to center for a single. Sometimes a big at-bat jump-starts a team. Swisher’s at-bat seemed to do that for them. He’s that type of guy. People love to hate him, you know what I mean? He’s an energetic guy you just don’t want to beat you. You say, “Oh, I hate that rah-rah stuff.” But that’s how he has always been. I remember that when I was with the Giants and he was with Oakland coming up. He’s always been that high-energy guy that seems to spark people.

We got beat tonight. We didn’t make mental errors. They hit the ball. But we’re confident going into Game 3.

Ready to Rock

I found out earlier I’m headed to the Pearl Jam concert tonight at the Spectrum.

mccready_eyre_blog.jpg

I’m a Pearl Jam fan. I’ve actually met them before, because Kerry Wood knows them, and I played with Kerry in Chicago. I’ll watch the concert and go home. In fact, I’ll probably be in bed before I will be in bed after our game tomorrow night. So I get to go see one of the best bands of all time and still be in bed at a normal time. Not bad.

phils_fans_eyreblog.jpg

I’m expecting a loud and raucous crowd tomorrow night for Game 3 (and Games 4 and 5). The crowds were really loud last year, but I think they’ll be even louder this year, because it’s the Yankees. That’s nothing against the Rays, but it’s the Yankees. So I think our fans will be ready.

I actually agreed with Jimmy Rollins when he said the crowds weren’t that loud at Yankee Stadium. Of course, we’re enclosed in the bullpen, so you can’t hear as much. But the only times they really got loud were after home runs. They didn’t get loud for base hits or anything. If we get a base hit tomorrow, I think this place is going to erupt after every hit. I’m expecting that.

Leaving New York Tied, Feeling Good

ibanez.jpg

We feel good about where we are right now.

The Yankees’ big question mark tonight was which A.J. Burnett was going to show up and pitch? The guy that struggles throwing strikes or the guy that can dominate anybody? We saw which one showed up. A guy with a purpose. He was good. He went out and did exactly what he was supposed to do. He threw first-pitch strikes after first-pitch strikes. He got his breaking ball over the plate. That was huge. When you’re throwing 95 mph and you have one of the best breaking balls in the game? It’s tough to beat somebody like that.

But like I said, we feel good about where we are.

I said the same thing in LA. You want to leave with a split to take away home-field advantage. That’s what we did. We took home-field advantage away. We won the first game, and they came back to play a great baseball game. Of course, we would have loved to have won tonight, but we didn’t. But we know we’re coming back to Philly for the next three games with a crowd that is going to be LOUD.

Cliff and Chase Are Great

Ryan Madson and I typically lace up our shoes in the sixth inning of every game.

I looked at my feet in the seventh and my cleats were still untied.

clifflee.jpg

I guess I knew I wouldn’t be needed last night in Game 1. Cliff Lee was awesome, and I’m not even talking about his defense. The guy throws a complete game against the Yankees, who hit a ton of home runs at Yankee Stadium. He walks nobody. He strikes out 10. He throws a complete game. Incredible. Things were going so well for him that I told Jimmy Rollins earlier that if we didn’t have a DH he probably would have gone deep, too. It was that kind of night for him.

I remember texting Kerry Wood the day we traded for Cliff.

“What is Cliff like?” I wrote.

“Just wait,” he texted back.

After Cliff’s first game in San Francisco, where he threw a complete game, I went back into the clubhouse and checked my phone.

“Told you,” Kerry wrote.

And I heard earlier that Chase Utley is the first left-handed hitter to hit two homers off a left-handed pitcher in a World Series game since Babe Ruth. That’s ridiculous. You know the best part? Chase couldn’t care less. Honestly. Chase has been the leading vote getter for the All-Star team and you’d never know it. He’s the first guy at the field every single day. Literally. But we have a bunch of guys like that in this clubhouse. That’s why I like playing here so much.

Welcome to New York

There’s no doubt we’re in New York.

We took the train from Philadelphia to New York yesterday and there were people just waiting to boo us at Penn Station. That was funny. They love their Yankees. It’s definitely different than last year. If you win the World Series against the Yankees, that’s ideal. Don’t get me wrong, last year was unbelievable. But it would be great to tell your grandkids when you’re 60 that, yeah, I played in a World Series against the Yankees and we beat them. That would be great.

shaneandthemedia.jpg

I saw the picture of Shane in the New York Post today. It’s funny, but it’s not really funny. They’re poking fun of the guy, and what did he do? Geez. Everybody seems to pick on Shane, and for no reason. The guy just plays hard every day. I know there’s this Philadelphia vs. New York thing going on, but it’s hard to think of this as Philadelphia vs. New York. We think of this as Phillies vs. Yankees. And tomorrow it’s Cliff Lee and our lineup vs. CC Sabathia and their lineup.

But I’m ready to get this going. I spent last Thursday night in the hospital with the flu. Don’t worry, it’s not swine flu. Now I just have a head cold and a cough, but I’ll be ready. I think we’re all ready.

We’re Back!

EYREEEEEBLOG.jpg

I had my fast shoes on last night.

I said earlier that one bad thing about being in the bullpen when your team clinches a division or a series is that because you have such a long run from the bullpen you miss the big pile up. So when Ronnie Belliard hit that fly ball to Shane Victorino for the third out in the ninth inning I took off my warmup jacket. Now, you’re not supposed to do that until the final out is made, but I knew he was going to catch it so I was ready to hurdle the fence and run onto the field.

Of course … no pile! I think I’ll have to hope we have one next time.

This was a pretty surreal moment last year, but I know what we’re doing now. It’s a different feeling for me because last year I got traded here in August. I was a bit player. This year I’ve been here all year, and I feel like I’ve done a good job because Charlie has put me in good position to succeed.

No National League team has played in back-to-back World Series since the Braves in 1995-96. I know they won one and lost one. We’d like to change that. We’d like to do what the Big Red Machine did in the ’70s.

But that’s looking ahead. We’re going to enjoy our next couple days off, or however many Charlie gives us.

Keeping Loose for Game 5

We had a voluntary workout today at the ballpark, so I showed up to throw.

If I was 25 and not 37, my arm would feel fine tomorrow if I didn’t do anything today and just laid around. Even though I threw last night in Game 4, I still came out to get the blood moving. I rode the bike for 30 minutes. I did my shoulder exercises to keep everything strong. I made about 25 to 30 throws from about 100 feet. I got fully loose. I could have walked on the mound and started throwing and be loose for the game in eight to 10 throws. That’s the luxury of being a reliever — you get loose real fast. Or at least you learn to get loose real fast.

But I know you’re still thinking about the ninth inning last night. Matt Stairs’ at-bat was huge. Jonathan Broxton is peppering 98, 98 mph fastballs up there. I didn’t know his ball moved that much, but it does. His ball moves and tails, and I’m not sure he wanted it to. The first ball was in and the next three were all away. I guess they weren’t going to let Stairs beat them again. But then the ball to Carlos Ruiz, I didn’t know Russell Martin had set up away and Broxton threw the ball in. His command was off, and all of a sudden Jimmy Rollins got a hold of one to win it.

Somebody in the clubhouse described our celebration as 25 Little Leaguers running onto the field. Nobody runs to home plate except in a walk-off. I think that made it even more special last night. It was the kid in everyone coming out. It was total, utter excitement and joy coming out of 30-year-old men. You don’t see that too much. It’s cool. Honestly, at that point you’d like to take a step back and watch it. Chad Durbin was in the bullpen and he said he just watched us jump over the railing and run onto the field. He said to watch that unfold was really cool.

In the bullpen we always high-five each other after a win. You don’t just sprint in. It’s actually kind of a bummer when you’re in the bullpen when you win that way. In Game 5 of the World Series, everybody was hoping they could pitch, just so they could be in the dugout for the final out. Because when you’re out in the bullpen and everybody is celebrating, you’re trying to get there as fast as possible. Hey, I’m not fast. I can’t run. The pile had started to break up once I got there. So if I get a chance to celebrate again, I’m going to run faster. I’m going to put on my fast shoes.

A Great Win, A Great Moment for Jimmy

phillies 1019.jpgWow.

So where was I when Jimmy Rollins rocked the house last night? I was sitting on the bench. In fact, I was the only one sitting down in the dugout.

After I pitch I always sit. I take a seat on the bench and I drink some water. I usually go into the clubhouse when we’re at home and we hit in the bottom of the inning so I can ice my shoulder and elbow and everything. But it’s the ninth inning and it’s the playoffs, so you’ve got to stay out there. When Matt Stairs walked and came out so Eric Bruntlett could pinch-run for him, I got up and walked down to high-five him. Then I went back to my seat. Carlos Ruiz got hit by the pitch and then when Greg Dobbs lined out, I looked around and I was like, “Wow, I’m the only guy sitting down right now.” But I couldn’t move. I had to stay in my same seat. Everybody yells, “Same seat! Same seat!”  You’ll see guys remember how they were leaning against the railing in the previous at-bat and say, “Oh, yeah, I was doing this,” and get in that position. It’s so funny. Most of us do that. Pitchers, especially.

When Jimmy got the hit I jumped out of my seat and almost jumped over the railing before Chooch even hit third base. You start to see everybody else filing out and you’re like, “Can we go out yet? Can we go out yet?” Then you just go out. We were out there before Chooch scored because we knew he wasn’t going to be thrown out. Chooch didn’t even have to slide, but he said he slid just to get dirty.

I don’t think it could have been a better guy to get that hit. Jimmy has been here the longest. He’s been through his ups and downs, but he stays even keel all the time. He doesn’t get too excited. He doesn’t get too down. He’s fun to have around.

The ending to that game was crazy.

We know we haven’t won the series, but we’d like to do it at home. But this was fun. This is such a fun team to play for, and this was a big reason why.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.