Results tagged ‘ Mark Teixeira ’

Its how you finish that matters

It’s not how you start – it’s how you finish. A slow start by a team can happen for a lot of reasons, but it’s never anything to panic about. That’s especially true when you have a team of veterans, like we do, who know how to play the game. This is a confident team, and with good reason.

You look at the talent we have, up and down the lineup and on our pitching staff, and you know it’s just a matter of time before it comes together. A lot of times early in the season you’re not in your rhythm, you’re not feeling like yourself. You might get some hits, but even then you know you’re not right. Or you might be hitting line drives at guys and getting nothing to show for it. Early-season numbers can be very deceiving.

There are some guys who come out hitting .450 early in April and May, and everyone’s saying it’s their breakout year. And you know eventually they’ll finish about where they normally do. You find at the end of the season he’s hitting .260, or whatever he usually hits. Another guy might be hitting .150 in April, and everyone’s saying he’s done. And you know he’ll end up hitting .315 with 30 homers.

It’s a long season, and the cream rises to the top eventually.

In this game, you are what you are. You see guys like A-Rod or Mark Teixeira, for example, or David Ortiz, and they might not be driving the ball early. But you know they’ll come around. They’re hitters; that’s who they are. They’ll end up with their numbers, unless they get hurt.

Fans sometimes overreact early in the season, because they’re fans. They want to win every game and get upset when their team loses. We don’t ever want to lose as players, but we understand how this works. It’s a long season, with highs and lows, good times and bad times. You work through the rough times and stay confident that the good times are on the way.

The truth is, you don’t want to be peaking too early. I mean, you’ll take it if it’s there, but you want to be strong at the finish, when it really matters. You don’t want to peak in June and July and fall off in August, September. That’s what I mean when I say it’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish. That’s what counts.

Personally, it’s taken me a little longer than usual to get where I need to be physically this season. I had the sports hernia surgery after the season, and I wasn’t able to do my usual offseason workouts. I couldn’t really do anything in January. All I could do was hit.

When we got to Spring Training, I was skeptical about how the groin would react. If I made a really hard turn, was it going to hold up? I never went through anything like this before, and Mike Scioscia was telling me to take it easy. He’s a great manager; he always sees the big picture. He wanted me to slow-roll everything. Once I broke the scar tissue sliding, it was a big relief. It wasn’t until the last two weeks of the spring I really started playing.

I feel good about where I am right now, all things considered. I’m hitting the ball hard, and even though I have only one home run, they come in bunches for me. The big thing is, I’m having no pain with the groin. I’m confident I’ll be where I want to be in the summer, when it heats up.

I really like our team. I liked it last year, and I like it this year. We’re a little different, with some new guys trying to establish themselves, but we’re basically the same team with the same chemistry.

Remember how it was last season? We were a .500 team in June. The Rays killed us in Florida to end a road trip, and we were 29-29. Mike Scioscia had a talk with us after that game, and we came home and went off on a tear. We ended up with 97 wins, which means from June 12 to the finish, we were 68-36.

Hopefully, our fans are patient enough to know where the Angels are going to be in August, September. We’re fine where we are. This team knows how to win. I know the sun’s going to shine sooner or later – on and off the field, in baseball and in life.

It’s how you finish that matters

It’s not how you start – it’s how you finish. A slow start by a team can happen for a lot of reasons, but it’s never anything to panic about. That’s especially true when you have a team of veterans, like we do, who know how to play the game. This is a confident team, and with good reason.

You look at the talent we have, up and down the lineup and on our pitching staff, and you know it’s just a matter of time before it comes together. A lot of times early in the season you’re not in your rhythm, you’re not feeling like yourself. You might get some hits, but even then you know you’re not right. Or you might be hitting line drives at guys and getting nothing to show for it. Early-season numbers can be very deceiving.

There are some guys who come out hitting .450 early in April and May, and everyone’s saying it’s their breakout year. And you know eventually they’ll finish about where they normally do. You find at the end of the season he’s hitting .260, or whatever he usually hits. Another guy might be hitting .150 in April, and everyone’s saying he’s done. And you know he’ll end up hitting .315 with 30 homers.

It’s a long season, and the cream rises to the top eventually.

In this game, you are what you are. You see guys like A-Rod or Mark Teixeira, for example, or David Ortiz, and they might not be driving the ball early. But you know they’ll come around. They’re hitters; that’s who they are. They’ll end up with their numbers, unless they get hurt.

Fans sometimes overreact early in the season, because they’re fans. They want to win every game and get upset when their team loses. We don’t ever want to lose as players, but we understand how this works. It’s a long season, with highs and lows, good times and bad times. You work through the rough times and stay confident that the good times are on the way.

The truth is, you don’t want to be peaking too early. I mean, you’ll take it if it’s there, but you want to be strong at the finish, when it really matters. You don’t want to peak in June and July and fall off in August, September. That’s what I mean when I say it’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish. That’s what counts.

Personally, it’s taken me a little longer than usual to get where I need to be physically this season. I had the sports hernia surgery after the season, and I wasn’t able to do my usual offseason workouts. I couldn’t really do anything in January. All I could do was hit.

When we got to Spring Training, I was skeptical about how the groin would react. If I made a really hard turn, was it going to hold up? I never went through anything like this before, and Mike Scioscia was telling me to take it easy. He’s a great manager; he always sees the big picture. He wanted me to slow-roll everything. Once I broke the scar tissue sliding, it was a big relief. It wasn’t until the last two weeks of the spring I really started playing.

I feel good about where I am right now, all things considered. I’m hitting the ball hard, and even though I have only one home run, they come in bunches for me. The big thing is, I’m having no pain with the groin. I’m confident I’ll be where I want to be in the summer, when it heats up.

I really like our team. I liked it last year, and I like it this year. We’re a little different, with some new guys trying to establish themselves, but we’re basically the same team with the same chemistry.

Remember how it was last season? We were a .500 team in June. The Rays killed us in Florida to end a road trip, and we were 29-29. Mike Scioscia had a talk with us after that game, and we came home and went off on a tear. We ended up with 97 wins, which means from June 12 to the finish, we were 68-36.

Hopefully, our fans are patient enough to know where the Angels are going to be in August, September. We’re fine where we are. This team knows how to win. I know the sun’s going to shine sooner or later – on and off the field, in baseball and in life.

The real Angels showed up today

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This is what I’ve been preaching to everybody, what you saw today at Angel Stadium. What happened in the regular season doesn’t matter now. It’s guys people don’t focus on who come through and decide playoff games.

That’s what we saw today with Jeff Mathis banging those two doubles, driving in the winning run, and throwing out Brett Gardner stealing second before Jorge Posada’s home run in the eighth inning. That was a huge play that shouldn’t be overlooked — the pitchout and throw to get Gardner.

And what a day it was for my locker mate, Howard Kendrick. He came through like a champion. He had a rough postseason last year, but this year, it’s different. He’s playing with fire, like he’s mad. And I like that.

This was more like it, more like us. We played the game hard, and we played it right. What happened in New York, that’s not our baseball. Today, we still made some mistakes, but it was more like us.

We kept battling and battling, and we came back and won a huge ballgame. Now we’ve got to carry that momentum into Game 4 and try to get CC Sabathia, one of the best.

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This game today had to be a huge lift for a lot of guys. I was so happy for Vlad Guerrero. He said he was going to do something special, and he did it with that two-run homer in the sixth inning. That was Vladdy being Vladdy, crushing a fastball.

He said, “OK, I’ve got something for you.” It’s all about confidence, like with Howie. He’s got it now. In the second half, after he came back from Salt Lake, he was as hot as anybody. The man is a natural hitter. He’s got the ability to do some great things in this game.

I’m not in the Yankees’ clubhouse, so I have no idea what they’re thinking or feeling. We don’t care about what they do. We only care about what we do.

We definitely feel we can ride this wave and take another one tomorrow behind Scott Kazmir. The guy pitched great for us after coming over from the Rays.

Mathis, he has a lot of heart. He’s an old football player — you know, like me. When you’re a Division I recruit by a school like Florida State, you know you’re an athlete — and that’s Mathis. He’s got that bulldog in him, and he wants to win.

The playoffs is a totally different adrenaline and energy. Guys people aren’t expecting to see come through always shine. Guys like Mathis and Kendrick, they’re dangerous — and they showed it. Kendrick’s home run in the fifth inning got us going, changed the mood, like we had a chance. And then Vlad unloaded his shot.

As for my at-bat against Mariano Rivera in the 10th inning after Mathis doubled … not much I can say about that. He got us. He did what he always does, throwing me nothing but cutters. He threw me one that was yanked, and I tried to stay on it and make something happen. I hit it to Mark Teixeira for a force, and he got out of the inning. He’s Mariano Rivera. That’s what he does.

Mariano, that guy’s just too nasty. It’s not fair. What we need to do is get leads and keep them. That way we won’t have to deal with him.

When we left New York, I said I felt something was about to change. That’s what happened today. The Angels showed up and played the game with passion and purpose. We’ve got a lot of heart on this team, and we showed it today.

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Even wet, just happy to be here

We’re just happy to be here in the Big Apple, rain or shine. It’s been coming down all day, and a little chill in the air. Hopefully, we’ll get enough decent weather to play some baseball and get back home in good shape.

Facing the Yankees, the favorites, is kind of like facing the Red Sox. People said we weren’t supposed to win that series, but we had other ideas.

We were happy to play the Red Sox. We never said one word that we didn’t want to play the Red Sox. That all came from the media. We wanted to play anybody. We’re just happy to still be playing with a shot at the ring.

When I was younger and with the Twins, it was awesome going out and playing center field at Yankee Stadium in the postseason. They beat us in 2003 and 2004, but we were all minimum wage guys.

This team is a little different. We’ve got an owner, Arte Moreno, who wants to win as much as we do. When we went out and got Mark Teixeira last year at the Trade Deadline, I screamed, I was so happy.

Teixeira is the enemy, of course, but he’s a good dude. I really liked him when we were teammates, and I think he helped guys with his approach. Bobby Abreu has been doing that for us this year, helping not just the young guys but everybody. He has great at-bats. You don’t want to go up and swing at the first pitch after he’s had a seven-pitch at-bat. It trickles down, the domino effect.

We have a lot of leaders on this team, veterans who have been around, guys like Chone Figgins, Vladdy “Mula” Guerrero, John Lackey, Brian Fuentes. And Bobby is one of them. He’s a great leader.

People think he’s quiet, but Bobby’s not as mellow as you think. He is funny. He has everybody cracking up in the clubhouse. He’s so much fun off the field, but when he steps between those lines, he’s focused, man.

As for the Yankees, what can you say that hasn’t already been said? They always have one of the best lineups. It’s nothing different than in the past. You look at my old buddy CC Sabathia, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Tex . . . so many great players. Those guys are impressive over there. I like them as a team. They play the game right, the way we do.

As for the Angels beating the Yankees in the playoffs twice before, in 2002 and 2005, I wasn’t here, so I don’t have a lot to offer about that. We played them even this year, five wins apiece. There was a lot of scoring, a lot of yelling, and some quiet times. Yankee Stadium, old or new, it’s always exciting to play here.

As a kid, you grow up watching games at Yankee Stadium, and how here you are, in the postseason. The regular season doesn’t matter now. It’s all about what you do now.

I’m sure I’ll be as excited as ever running out to center field in Game 1, all that adrenaline pumping. It’s a dream come true, playing on this field, in the ALCS, with a chance to beat the Yankees. I think we can do. Let’s hope the weather cooperates and we can go out and see what happens.

Hard to believe its over

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I really hate for it to end like this. I could have sworn we were going to The Show, the Fall Classic. One-hundred percent, I thought we were going to The Show.

This has been such a great season, and this was such a great team, it makes me sick to think that it’s over and we didn’t go all the way. I really thought we had the team to get it done. Walking away is so hard when you’ve gone through so much with a team for eight months.

It’s really hard to swallow. I thought we were taking it back to Anaheim for Game 5. We came back, and when I got that single to drive in the two runs to tie it, the guys were going crazy. I was trying to go the other way like that, hit it hard. He threw me a fastball that I was able to drive, and it was an awesome feeling to see Tex and Vlad score. Tying up the game in that situation, with two outs and two strikes on me, that was a thrill. I felt like we had all the momentum, that we’d be coming home for the decisive game.

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And just like that, we didn’t make the squeeze play work, they got a couple of hits, and our season was over.

The thing now is, you don’t know who’s coming back next season. You can’t say you’re going to be in this position again and have a team like this. This was the chance. This was the team. Unless everybody comes back — and we all have no idea how that’s going to turn out — we won’t get another chance with this team.

In a perfect world, I would love to have Mark Teixeira back, Frankie Rodriguez, Garret Anderson, Darren Oliver, Juan Rivera, Jon Garland — all those guys. But that’s out of our hands. That’s the business side of the game, and you never know what’s going to happen there. We have to trust our management people to make good moves and keep us strong and competitive.

What hurts for all the guys in this room is that we feel we’re a better team than those guys, but they’re moving on. That’s hard to take. It was little things here and there. Maturity. Some guys probably learned a lot this postseason that will help them in the future. You have to be 100 percent mentally committed to getting it done.

For me there are two seasons — the regular season and the postseason. I’m happy about what we did in the regular season. We made it to 100 wins, the first team to do that for this franchise, and that’s something we should all feel good about. We hung together and made a lot of great things happen. The fans were great, and I think we gave them a good show.

But the postseason, that’s a big disappointment. I’m just really upset about October. Maybe in time we’ll all be able to understand what happened, why we didn’t get it done, but right now, it just doesn’t make sense. We had so much talent on this team, so much camaraderie. I’m so proud of these guys, what they accomplished.

I think we all just need a little time to get over it. Before long, we’ll be back at it with Mike Scioscia and the staff, bringing big hopes and expectations to 2009. But right now, it’s a little too painful to put into words.

Hard to believe it’s over

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I really hate for it to end like this. I could have sworn we were going to The Show, the Fall Classic. One-hundred percent, I thought we were going to The Show.

This has been such a great season, and this was such a great team, it makes me sick to think that it’s over and we didn’t go all the way. I really thought we had the team to get it done. Walking away is so hard when you’ve gone through so much with a team for eight months.

It’s really hard to swallow. I thought we were taking it back to Anaheim for Game 5. We came back, and when I got that single to drive in the two runs to tie it, the guys were going crazy. I was trying to go the other way like that, hit it hard. He threw me a fastball that I was able to drive, and it was an awesome feeling to see Tex and Vlad score. Tying up the game in that situation, with two outs and two strikes on me, that was a thrill. I felt like we had all the momentum, that we’d be coming home for the decisive game.

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And just like that, we didn’t make the squeeze play work, they got a couple of hits, and our season was over.

The thing now is, you don’t know who’s coming back next season. You can’t say you’re going to be in this position again and have a team like this. This was the chance. This was the team. Unless everybody comes back — and we all have no idea how that’s going to turn out — we won’t get another chance with this team.

In a perfect world, I would love to have Mark Teixeira back, Frankie Rodriguez, Garret Anderson, Darren Oliver, Juan Rivera, Jon Garland — all those guys. But that’s out of our hands. That’s the business side of the game, and you never know what’s going to happen there. We have to trust our management people to make good moves and keep us strong and competitive.

What hurts for all the guys in this room is that we feel we’re a better team than those guys, but they’re moving on. That’s hard to take. It was little things here and there. Maturity. Some guys probably learned a lot this postseason that will help them in the future. You have to be 100 percent mentally committed to getting it done.

For me there are two seasons — the regular season and the postseason. I’m happy about what we did in the regular season. We made it to 100 wins, the first team to do that for this franchise, and that’s something we should all feel good about. We hung together and made a lot of great things happen. The fans were great, and I think we gave them a good show.

But the postseason, that’s a big disappointment. I’m just really upset about October. Maybe in time we’ll all be able to understand what happened, why we didn’t get it done, but right now, it just doesn’t make sense. We had so much talent on this team, so much camaraderie. I’m so proud of these guys, what they accomplished.

I think we all just need a little time to get over it. Before long, we’ll be back at it with Mike Scioscia and the staff, bringing big hopes and expectations to 2009. But right now, it’s a little too painful to put into words.

On to Boston — and stayin alive

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What can you say after a game like that? It was intense, start to finish. We went at it toe to toe with the Red Sox and came back strong after they dropped the hammer on us early with that Jason Bay three-run bomb in the first. I think our guys showed a lot of heart, and we’re going to need everything we’ve got in Boston to get back in this series.

So much happened in this second game, I don’t even know where to start. Bottom line, the big bombs killed us — Bay first, and then J.D. Drew. Bay, I guess he’s the new Manny. He’s swinging the bat like Manny Ramirez in this series. Frankie Rodriguez had 62 saves for us this year, and I’ll take my chances with him out there any time. But Drew hits a two-run bomb off K-Rod, and what can you do? Baseball’s a crazy game.

Hey, as long as we have a breath, we’ve got a shot. They haven’t won anything yet. It takes three games to win this thing, and they’re going to have to earn it. I think we showed tonight the kind of character we have. We’re going to keep fighting, I can tell you that much.

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You probably want to know about my knee, the left one. We’ll be treating it, and even though it’s sore now, I’ll be out there. I’m old school. This is October, and this is what you live for as a baseball player.

It was all adrenaline when I reacted the way I did on that call at first base in the third inning. We were making a comeback, we had two guys on, and I thought I beat the throw from the shortstop, Alex Cora. The call went against me, and I got excited and jumped up and came down on the knee wrong. I was being intense, going all out — and in the heat of the moment, sometimes you get upset like that. I’m not going to apologize or call it a stupid thing to do. Man, when you’re out there competing, you’re throwing everything you’ve got into it. That’s all I was doing.

We were taking care of business, being patient with Daisuke Matsuzaka, getting guys on base, stirring things up. I got an RBI single in the first inning after Mark Teixeira and Vladimir Guerrero singled, and I was trying to do that again in the third when I got thrown out on that call. In the fifth inning, I hit a bullet to left field for another RBI after Tex and Vladdy walked.

Those two guys were great tonight, getting on base all night long, trying to get us started. It’s a pleasure to play with guys like that who really know how to play the game right. This team is loaded with talent, and it’d be a crying shame for it to end too soon.

In my last at-bat in the ninth against Papelbon, I was trying to get on base to get it started. That’s why I dropped the bunt. It didn’t work out, but in that situation, down two runs, we needed a baserunner. Papelbon’s good. You’ve got to give credit where it’s due.

Some of our guys are trying a little too hard, trying to do too much. They need to relax when we get to Boston. I’ll have a talk with Howie Kendrick, like always. He’s a great kid, with a tremendous future in this game. He had a rough night, but he’ll bounce back. He’s strong. I know how that is — when you’re young, you want it so bad, controlling all that adrenaline isn’t easy.

Right now, I’m exhausted. This was intense baseball, all night long. But we’ll be ready to roll on Sunday night. We’ve played some great baseball in Fenway Park this year, and I don’t see why we can’t do it again. We’ve still got a heartbeat. We’re still a dangerous team.

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On to Boston — and stayin’ alive

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What can you say after a game like that? It was intense, start to finish. We went at it toe to toe with the Red Sox and came back strong after they dropped the hammer on us early with that Jason Bay three-run bomb in the first. I think our guys showed a lot of heart, and we’re going to need everything we’ve got in Boston to get back in this series.

So much happened in this second game, I don’t even know where to start. Bottom line, the big bombs killed us — Bay first, and then J.D. Drew. Bay, I guess he’s the new Manny. He’s swinging the bat like Manny Ramirez in this series. Frankie Rodriguez had 62 saves for us this year, and I’ll take my chances with him out there any time. But Drew hits a two-run bomb off K-Rod, and what can you do? Baseball’s a crazy game.

Hey, as long as we have a breath, we’ve got a shot. They haven’t won anything yet. It takes three games to win this thing, and they’re going to have to earn it. I think we showed tonight the kind of character we have. We’re going to keep fighting, I can tell you that much.

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You probably want to know about my knee, the left one. We’ll be treating it, and even though it’s sore now, I’ll be out there. I’m old school. This is October, and this is what you live for as a baseball player.

It was all adrenaline when I reacted the way I did on that call at first base in the third inning. We were making a comeback, we had two guys on, and I thought I beat the throw from the shortstop, Alex Cora. The call went against me, and I got excited and jumped up and came down on the knee wrong. I was being intense, going all out — and in the heat of the moment, sometimes you get upset like that. I’m not going to apologize or call it a stupid thing to do. Man, when you’re out there competing, you’re throwing everything you’ve got into it. That’s all I was doing.

We were taking care of business, being patient with Daisuke Matsuzaka, getting guys on base, stirring things up. I got an RBI single in the first inning after Mark Teixeira and Vladimir Guerrero singled, and I was trying to do that again in the third when I got thrown out on that call. In the fifth inning, I hit a bullet to left field for another RBI after Tex and Vladdy walked.

Those two guys were great tonight, getting on base all night long, trying to get us started. It’s a pleasure to play with guys like that who really know how to play the game right. This team is loaded with talent, and it’d be a crying shame for it to end too soon.

In my last at-bat in the ninth against Papelbon, I was trying to get on base to get it started. That’s why I dropped the bunt. It didn’t work out, but in that situation, down two runs, we needed a baserunner. Papelbon’s good. You’ve got to give credit where it’s due.

Some of our guys are trying a little too hard, trying to do too much. They need to relax when we get to Boston. I’ll have a talk with Howie Kendrick, like always. He’s a great kid, with a tremendous future in this game. He had a rough night, but he’ll bounce back. He’s strong. I know how that is — when you’re young, you want it so bad, controlling all that adrenaline isn’t easy.

Right now, I’m exhausted. This was intense baseball, all night long. But we’ll be ready to roll on Sunday night. We’ve played some great baseball in Fenway Park this year, and I don’t see why we can’t do it again. We’ve still got a heartbeat. We’re still a dangerous team.

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