November 2009

Relaxed and Winning

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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.

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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.

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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.