Results tagged ‘ Jon Lester ’

A night to dream about

I couldn’t sleep the night before the series started. You just want the game to be here. Then it’s finally here, and you go out and play, get a big win, and it’s just an incredible feeling.

What you do after a game like this is you go home, dream about it, get up tomorrow, and come back and do it again.

Sure, it’s a big win, and my home run felt great. But it’s just one game, and we know how good these Red Sox are. Nobody has to tell us.

The first thing I want to mention is the crowd. Man, it was loud. I’ve never heard Angel Stadium get that loud. That was exciting.

It was a great duel starting out between two of the best, John Lackey and Jon Lester. Lackey was Lackey. He came through big with his A game when we needed it. And Lester, man, he’s tough — one of the best lefties in the game. He throws hard, and he brings that slider down at your feet.

In my second at-bat, when I walked, he actually hit me on the back foot with a pitch. I looked back at the umpire, Joe West, but he didn’t see it. So I stayed up there. Right now, my big toenail is sore.

When I came up in the fifth, we had runners on first and third. It was a good hitting situation. Erick Aybar doubled, and Chone Figgins bunted him to third. Then Bobby Abreu walked. Four walks in one game – can you believe that? That man is too much.

I took a pitch from Lester and then he threw a two-seam fastball. Bobby was running, and I saw him going. I hit a mistake, I guess. I usually pop it up. Truth is, I didn’t know where the ball was. I closed my eyes and swung.

Running the bases, the crowd going crazy, the adrenaline was pumping so hard, it was unbelievable. I wish everyone could know what that feels like. It’s hard to describe. Just an unbelievable experience. I was running the bases and talking to myself, kind of like when I played football in high school. `Do what you do,’ that kind of thing.

When I got in the dugout, I was so excited I spiked my helmet. It was just one of those moments, a tremendous release.

This is special. I rank it way up there. But it’s just the start.

We played the way I know we can play in this first game. Now we have to keep it going. I try to lead by example. I don’t know if I’m going to hit a home run – you can’t just tell yourself to do it. You just react and play the game, have faith and confidence that you’re going to get it done.

What I like about our team is that the guys brought the dog with them. You can’t be scared, or you’re never going to make it happen.

We have to keep believing in ourselves and keep playing the game with passion and playing smart. If we do that, I like our chances.

 

We’re alive — and dangerous

torripickupgupball550x250.jpg

We’re alive and kicking. That’s all we asked for, one win to keep us going. We’ve got a heartbeat, and like I said all along, as long as this team has life — as long as we’ve got innings, pitches, a pulse — we’re dangerous.

Let’s get the play that cost us three runs out of the way first. It was my fault; put it all on me. I should have gotten there, called off Howie Kendrick and caught that ball. We haven’t had a single ball fall like that, in that spot, all season — and it happens in a game we have to win. But you’ve got to move on, let it go. That’s what I told Howie between innings. It was in a tough spot. I was shading Jacoby Ellsbury toward left-center, and Howie had a long way to go. But it’s my turf out there, and I should have made the play.

It’s kind of strange, really. I didn’t make an error all season, and the other night in Anaheim in Game 2, Mark Kotsay hit a ball to me that was acting like a knuckleball, and it went off my glove. It’s crazy. But you can’t let things like that get you down. Not in this game, when you play every day. You’re tested all the time.

I love how our guys responded in this game, playing big when it counted. Our young guys have come alive. They’ve gotten over their anxieties and trying to do too much, and they’re settling in and just playing now. Erick Aybar got that big hit for the winning run. Howie got a couple of knocks and put down that bunt after Mike Napoli’s single in the 12th inning. Man, Napoli was incredible. That guy is so strong. He was swinging from the heels in the first game, but tonight he was smart, taking good swings. He’s so strong, he can hit it out without a big swing.

toriismiling275x375.jpg

Reporters are asking me why I tried to stretch that single in the ninth inning. I hit it down the line, and from what I saw, it was going to take a great play to throw me out. If Jason Bay doesn’t put it where he did — if it’s a little wide either side of the bag — I’m at second with nobody out, and we’re in business. I was hustling, going for it, and a guy threw me out with a good throw. It happens.

That’s six straight games we’ve won at Fenway Park. One more and we’re going home with a chance to go to the ALCS. Hey, I’m not getting ahead of myself here. We know all about Boston, how dangerous those guys are. But we’re dangerous, too. They know that. You don’t get beat six straight times in your own house and not have some respect for that other team.

We really like playing here. The fans are great, the park is great. It’s intense, and I think we thrive on that.

I’ve got a lot of confidence in big John Lackey going against Jon Lester in Game 4. Lackey comes after you and pounds that strike zone. I love that. He keeps his guys in the game. I think we’ll have a better idea with Lester the second time around, especially the younger guys who were still new to all of this.

You learn a lot about yourself as you go through these postseason games. I love how our guys have responded. Nobody got down after losing the first two. We stayed cool, stayed supportive of each other. That’s how you win in October, by hanging together, playing hard and smart, making good things happen.

We’re alive. We’re kicking. Now we just want to keep it going and bring this series back home to our fans — and our Rally Monkey. No more talks about losing streaks, no more negativity, please. That monkey is off our backs.

toriicaughtstealing550x250.jpg

Were alive — and dangerous

torripickupgupball550x250.jpg

We’re alive and kicking. That’s all we asked for, one win to keep us going. We’ve got a heartbeat, and like I said all along, as long as this team has life — as long as we’ve got innings, pitches, a pulse — we’re dangerous.

Let’s get the play that cost us three runs out of the way first. It was my fault; put it all on me. I should have gotten there, called off Howie Kendrick and caught that ball. We haven’t had a single ball fall like that, in that spot, all season — and it happens in a game we have to win. But you’ve got to move on, let it go. That’s what I told Howie between innings. It was in a tough spot. I was shading Jacoby Ellsbury toward left-center, and Howie had a long way to go. But it’s my turf out there, and I should have made the play.

It’s kind of strange, really. I didn’t make an error all season, and the other night in Anaheim in Game 2, Mark Kotsay hit a ball to me that was acting like a knuckleball, and it went off my glove. It’s crazy. But you can’t let things like that get you down. Not in this game, when you play every day. You’re tested all the time.

I love how our guys responded in this game, playing big when it counted. Our young guys have come alive. They’ve gotten over their anxieties and trying to do too much, and they’re settling in and just playing now. Erick Aybar got that big hit for the winning run. Howie got a couple of knocks and put down that bunt after Mike Napoli’s single in the 12th inning. Man, Napoli was incredible. That guy is so strong. He was swinging from the heels in the first game, but tonight he was smart, taking good swings. He’s so strong, he can hit it out without a big swing.

toriismiling275x375.jpg

Reporters are asking me why I tried to stretch that single in the ninth inning. I hit it down the line, and from what I saw, it was going to take a great play to throw me out. If Jason Bay doesn’t put it where he did — if it’s a little wide either side of the bag — I’m at second with nobody out, and we’re in business. I was hustling, going for it, and a guy threw me out with a good throw. It happens.

That’s six straight games we’ve won at Fenway Park. One more and we’re going home with a chance to go to the ALCS. Hey, I’m not getting ahead of myself here. We know all about Boston, how dangerous those guys are. But we’re dangerous, too. They know that. You don’t get beat six straight times in your own house and not have some respect for that other team.

We really like playing here. The fans are great, the park is great. It’s intense, and I think we thrive on that.

I’ve got a lot of confidence in big John Lackey going against Jon Lester in Game 4. Lackey comes after you and pounds that strike zone. I love that. He keeps his guys in the game. I think we’ll have a better idea with Lester the second time around, especially the younger guys who were still new to all of this.

You learn a lot about yourself as you go through these postseason games. I love how our guys have responded. Nobody got down after losing the first two. We stayed cool, stayed supportive of each other. That’s how you win in October, by hanging together, playing hard and smart, making good things happen.

We’re alive. We’re kicking. Now we just want to keep it going and bring this series back home to our fans — and our Rally Monkey. No more talks about losing streaks, no more negativity, please. That monkey is off our backs.

toriicaughtstealing550x250.jpg

Time to get busy, not down

hunterreverseswinging550x25.jpgThis one was hard to take. I felt like we were ready to take it to the Red Sox, to play our game, and we didn’t get it done. Jon Lester was tough, man. Sometimes you have to give a guy credit. He was dealing some nasty stuff, and we couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it.

Big John Lackey was on his game, too. John deserved better. We should have scored more runs for him early when we had chances. It’s frustrating for everybody, but we have to get it out of our system and come out with the right attitude for Game 2 on Friday. You’ve got to have amnesia in this game. Hopefully, some of the younger guys can let this one go. This is still new to some of the guys, and they have to come out and play with the same fire and energy and confidence they had all season.

Maybe it helps, having the day off between games. Maybe we can use it to get rid of this game. We have to do that. We have too many good athletes in this room to get down on ourselves. We played great baseball all season, and there’s no reason why we can’t pick it up against Daisuke Matsuzaka and get back in this series.

I feel good having Ervin Santana out there for us. He’s been lights out all year. This kid has great stuff, some of the best stuff in the game. We all have confidence in him, and we’re going to get busy and get him some run support.

In the playoffs, one thing you can’t do is let something take the edge away from you. That might have happened when Vladimir Guerrero got thrown out trying to go to third when I hit that blooper over first base. He didn’t know it was going to fall in, so he hesitated for a second. I was surprised he kept going, but he was trying to be aggressive, make something happen.

hunterfollowthrough275x375.jpgVladdy is a great player, an all-time great player. He’ll bounce back. You don’t do what he’s done over his career without having the ability to shake something like this off. He was swinging the bat good, hitting some shots, so that’s a good sign. We have to focus on the positives now, not get caught up in the negatives. That can take you down if you’re not careful.

I was saying before the game that this reminds me of high school football, Friday night lights. I had all that adrenaline going for this game — I didn’t need any coffee, I can tell you that. My eyes were huge tonight. The key in big games like this is to use all that energy to your advantage, to take it to the other team. You’ve got to play the game with all your heart and soul, and you can’t be second-guessing yourself about things. Go with your instincts, let it flow.

We know who we’re facing here. These guys, the Red Sox, are the champions. You can’t just play them. You’ve got to beat those guys, take it to them. They’re not going to let you have it.

I think this was a good experience for the young guys, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Mike Napoli. We’ve got veterans, but we’ve also got these young guys, and they’re learning about themselves. They got the first game in, and now they can go out and play. These guys have a ton of talent. We saw that all season. They’ve just got to trust their instincts and let all that talent flow.

We’re coming to play in Game 2. Friday night lights. We’ve got to go after it with everything we’ve got. We’ve got to take it to those guys.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.