It was nice to hear on Wednesday that I got the American League’s Player of the Month Award for May. That’s good stuff, real good stuff. I’m just going to continue doing that and try to get a few more.
What’s really nice is that both the Player and Pitcher of the Month came from our team. Jon Lester did a great job, too. He was awesome. He’s been pitching his butt off. Like I said, we’re going to try to continue it, because it makes a huge difference, him pitching like that and me hitting the way I was. Of course, with the support of all our teammates and fans, it makes it even better.
The team and I were kind of in the same situation in April, both struggling. So this kind of tells me that when I get it going, good things happen.
The stats say that this past month I had the best combination of average and power I’ve had in a long time. The average thing isn’t a huge deal to me. Of course, everyone wants to hit for average, but in my case, it’s a little bit of craziness, because what I fight for my average is hitting the ball down in the hole like any left-handed power hitter. They have that shift on, and if you take the 10, 15 balls in the hole away from me, there’s not going to be average showing up.
I worry about my average, but I don’t really worry about it. I should be hitting .300 now, but it ain’t like that. I’m producing, getting some RBIs, hitting some homers, that’s part of my game, too, and that’s one thing I try to increase.
The month of May started well right away for me. I had two homers on May 1 in Baltimore. Like I always say, hits bring confidence. It doesn’t matter how hard you work or how great you feel. If you don’t get hits, you feel like you didn’t get it done. One good night gives you a chance to have another good night. Or maybe one good night gives you a chance to battle a bad night and come back with another good night, and that’s how it goes.
Last week was about a lot more than baseball for me. I had my Eat n’ Greet at Big Papi’s Grille on May 27, raising money for my foundation, which helps kids in need of critical care. As I’ve talked about a lot before in this space and other places, that cause means so much to me.
Then, the next day, it was something different altogether. I flew to New York to pay respects to my good friend Jose Lima, who died recently. Man, he was 37 years old. That really hit me hard.
He was a happy person. He brought a lot of happiness away from others when he died. When I saw him in that casket, I was like, ‘We ain’t nothing.’ That’s a man full of life and happiness and the next thing you know, 37-year-old, massive heart attack. That hit home.
I’m a huge believer in what God has for us. You have to live by that rule. If you try and change it, it’s not going to work. When I got back from that, it just made me think, “I’ve got to love life.” I see people complaining about stupid things. That’s why I try not to change my personality.
The day he died, it really hit me. We were in Philly that day. Ask the guys. I was destroyed that day. I couldn’t believe this. That’s my boy, man. That’s my dude. That’s my dog right there. When I found about that, you start thinking about all the things we did together, all the good times. I don’t remember being around him one day where he didn’t make me laugh. Not one day. That’s why I’m telling you when I saw him, I had a 20-minute highlight in my head. I saw his kids, his wife, his family, everything.
I knew him for more than 14 years. We played on the same winter ball team. RIP to my good friend Jose.
Just to let you know, I’ll be part of another event on June 12. I partnered with my good friends at the Four Seasons over on Boylston for the Run of Hope. They always support my efforts, so I had the David Ortiz Children’s Fund partner together with them on this fundraiser to help support a good cause. I will kick off the children’s 50-yard “Fun Run” at 10 a.m. There will be a 5K run at 10:30 and the 2K walk at 10:35. Everyone should try to get involved. It’s a great cause.
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.