Wow, to have it end like it did, that’s not the best feeling. You’re mentally prepared to keep on playing, but things like this happen. It kind of shocks you for a minute.
We tried, man. The Angels are a great team. Those guys are playing really good. You have to give them credit.
To be one strike away in the ninth and not finish it, what can you say? That tells you how crazy this game is. You’ve got one of your best pitchers on the mound. You’ve got one strike to have another game. I don’t remember anything like that happening to Pap before. This game is something where you just never know. Anything can happen any time and it was his day today.
Pap is our man. He made good pitches. Like I say, those guys had been playing great, coming through and that’s the game.
Getting swept, that’s another thing you don’t think will happen, but that’s how the game goes. We’ve finished people off in three games before, too. That tells you as quick as you can beat someone, the same thing can happen to you.
We were ready for another game. We almost got one. But things didn’t happen and you saw the result.
How did it happen? We faced good pitching. Those guys pitched really good. They held us down. I told you, you’ve got to come with a mindset of playing good baseball and trying to win, and we did. We played a good game, but they bounced back. It never seemed like the end of the day would be like this.
This year is in the past. Next year is a new year and I’ll be ready to play. This year is behind me, believe me. I don’t deal with negative stuff too much. I’ve always been like that. Even after my first two months, I put it in the past. I’ll forget about that and keep on going to the next season. It was a year where I learned a lot of things and I can put them in play the following year.
One more thing. Thanks to the fans for supporting the team and I all season.
We’ve been here before, backs against the wall, no margin for error, and come back on teams. There’s no choice now but to do it again. We’ve got to play to win and continue the season.
Our offense got shut down these first two games, but they’ve been pitching well. Good pitching can stop good offense. That’s what they’ve been doing to hold us down.
We’ve been playing better at home all year long. Hopefully going back home will give us a better chance, and we’ll try to come back here for a Game 5.
We hit better at home, everyone knows that. So hopefully that will be the case when we get back there on Sunday. Time to go back to the house and get it done.
I remember in ’03 we were faced with this situation after losing the first two in Oakland and we won that series. And everyone remembers ’04 and ’07 and the comebacks we made in the ALCS. Can that help us now?
We’ll see. We never change our mentality. We always try to keep on winning games and we’ll try to bounce back. We’re the specialists in that one.
This is what the situation is now and there’s nothing we can do about it. You have to play against whoever and beat whoever, and Sunday, all we’ll think about is playing well in that game. The last two guys, John Lackey and Jered Weaver, they’ve done a good job. We’ll try to see some pitches to hit and drive them.
The home crowd always pumps us up. So the fans just need to support us like always and I’m sure they will. Hopefully Fenway is as loud as it was for us as it was for the Angels in Anaheim. That would really help.
We came out here in the past and were able to take Game 1 from these guys, but that’s not how it’s going to be this time. They had a great pitching performance this time. John Lackey was on. He made good pitches. What can you do?
You play to win, especially in a short series, so we’re not going to change our mindset just because of one loss. Just because you lose a game, you can’t change anything. You want to come the next day with the same mentality, ready to go, and let it happen.
When you have pitching like Jon Lester and Lackey going against each other, you know that it’s usually just going to be one mistake that’s going to be the difference and change the whole game. Too bad that the mistake from Lester was against one of their best hitters. I know Torii Hunter, I know him well. We’re close friends, and we played together in Minnesota and I know how he is. He was fired up and when he’s fired up, look out.
We had a little bit of a layoff coming into Game 1. There were no games in three days. I’m not going to make excuses, but I hate layoffs. That’s how it goes sometimes this time of year. You’ve got to get used to it.
I didn’t have a good night at the plate, but Lackey was making nasty pitches. They don’t want to make a mistake to me, you know that. They pitched me real carefully. That’s how it is. When good pitchers pitch in that kind of game, they want to make sure they stay on top of their game.
We’re excited to get out there again for Game 2. We have Josh Beckett. You can’t ask for much more than that. Everyone knows what he’s done in October. He’s been pitching great and we need a quality start out there.
I’ve always said that it’s not how you start a season, but how you finish it, and here we are in the playoffs again. It feels good, man. The playoffs to me are something where I try not to put too much pressure on myself. I just try to play the game.
Everyone is back at zero now. Every player and team that is in the playoffs, they start at zero again. I don’t know if every player thinks of it that way, and that’s why they might have a hard time in the playoffs. If you had a great regular season and if you carry that to the playoffs and think everything is going to be the same, sometimes it doesn’t work. It’s different in the playoffs. Everybody is different, and you just have to be prepared for that.
I can’t wait to get out there for Game 1 here at Anaheim on Thursday night. You know how I am, I like to get things over with. The playoffs, it’s something where not too many people are out there playing. There’s only eight teams here. You get here, you know you’re only a couple of steps away from the World Series. I know how sweet it is to be in the World Series. Not just being in it, but winning it all. It’s a great thing. That’s my goal.
The last couple of days, we’ve had our workouts here on the field, and you can’t help but watch the games being televised on the scoreboard. That Tigers-Twins one-game playoff yesterday was amazing. Today, we were watching the Yankees and Minnesota. Of course that gets you more excited to get out there. It gets your mindset there to where you want to get out there and start competing.
This started out as a tough season for me, but I finished strong. Everything that happened in the past, that’s already taken care of. A guy like me, when I struggle, it’s harder than for another guy because I have too many people that care about me and expect me to do well. They care about me, but they started driving me crazy. One day, I just said, forget about it. I turned off my phone and was just going to go and play the game like you did in Little League and not worry about stuff. Just go out there and hack.
None of it matters now. I had a good last four months of the season and here we are, playing the Angels again. It seems like we play them every year. We’ve beaten them three times in the playoffs before, but this is a whole different team than what we’ve faced in the past. They’ve got power, speed, good pitching. Great defense. They do everything. We’ve got to play well to beat them.
You get out there in the playoffs and the one thing that’s different from what we’re used to all year is that there’s no tomorrow. Like I always say, it’s ride or die time. You’ve got to go and play your best because if they catch you sleeping, you know where you’re going to be — you’re going to be watching at home. We don’t want to be there, trust me.
We throw Jon Lester for Game 1 and we feel great about that. He got it done for us all year long. He’s one of our aces. It’s time to get this going and see how we do. We feel good as a team and we’re ready to get October started again.
We got our chance to celebrate a good season as a team a few days ago. It was great. We played a good game here, almost had a great comeback and lost, but then had to wait and see what Texas did out in Anaheim. Once they lost, the party was on.
Even though we lost that night, what matters is that we played well through the year, so that’s why we were celebrating. It’s
not all about one game. It’s about all the 162 games that you play to be the one of the teams celebrating going to the playoffs.
Of course, you’d rather win and clinch it yourself, but when it happens, you have to take it, no matter what. Everybody on the team, pretty much, was there. It was great.
Now, it’s almost time for the playoffs. The whole world is watching you. When you have everyone watching you, there’s a lot of excitement, a lot of adrenaline going on. You want to get the best out of it.
You talk about the pressure of the playoffs and all that, but I don’t really think about it, because that’s when you start getting nervous and putting pressure on yourself.
We’re playing the Angels. Man, it seems like we play them every year, but whatever it takes. That’s how it is. They played the best in their division, and we had a tough fight for ours, but we’ll go in as the Wild Card. We won the World Series before as the Wild Card, so the key is just getting there.
It’s funny that we keep playing the Angels because Vladimir Guerrero is one of my best friends. I’d love to see him move on in the playoffs and play in the next round, but I can’t feel that way when he’s playing against us. You’re trying to win as many games as you can, as fast as you can, and I feel bad for him because he’s my friend, and we beat him the last couple of years, but that’s how it goes. I’ve got not just him, but Torii Hunter is another great friend. That’s my boy right there. We go way back to when we were in Minnesota together. It’s crazy.
Our team — we’re faced with a really good situation. We had some rough series with the Yankees and the Blue Jays lately, but things happen, and guys know how to figure things out. Now, we’re coming up to the biggest time of year.