Tonight?s game had an 8:20 p.m. start, which is pretty weird. We all had nothing to do all day. I spent my day at the food court eating chicken fingers with my cousin, Corey ?Big Body? Erb. I was getting ready to go.
The team just did a great job of hanging in there tonight. Every time the Red Sox took the lead, we came back. Jhonny?s home run was really big for us. That was a big part of the game. But when Manny and Lowell hit those back-to-back home runs, you definitely had a feeling it could go either way, and it was just a matter of who would get the last big hit.
Trot had the the big hit in the 11th, and it was great to see. He?s been a leader for us and a mentor on this team, and, even though he hasn?t been starting, he?s continued to work hard and prepare himself for that moment. For him to do it in Boston was sweet. Everybody loves Trot, and we were all really happy to see him get that hit.
This is what we?ve been talking about all along. We?re a team, in the truest sense of the word. Throughout this whole year, it?s been about 25 guys. Not just one or two superstars. We have superstars, but they don?t bring attention to themselves and they follow the team concept.
We definitely saw the papers here in Boston. People were calling us a joke and talking about how this series is already over. As a player, you read it, and a lot of times you don?t care. But anything you can use as motivation this time of year is great. When you?re on the road, you always get that taste. Detroit is probably my favorite place for it. They were ripping us up all year in the Detroit papers, talking about how we were going to choke. We got another little taste of it today. It makes it all the more fun to go on the road and win games like this.
C.C. and Fausto definitely learned something from their starts, and they?ll be ready to go the next time they pitch. If you would have said neither one of those guys would get through the fifth inning of their starts, and we?d be 1-1, I would have said, ?You?re kidding.? But our bullpen did a great job tonight. Tom Mastny is the MVP of this one along with Trot. Because to come in and get the middle of their lineup out like that is pretty impressive.
Tonight was a weird night. It didn?t feel like New York and Cleveland. It was a little bit more of a laid-back atmosphere. I don?t know why. Maybe it?s because it?s a longer series, or because they?re used to being in the playoffs here or something. Obviously, they have great fans here, but it was weird, because when they were going through introductions, it was kind of silent. It was strange. Guys on both teams were saying that.
It was great when Haf got us up, but they put up good at-bats against C.C. He was throwing good pitches, but they had good at-bats. I thought he looked good tonight. That first game against New York he was up, up, up. Tonight, he was down in the zone and getting ahead of guys. But they just got some big hits there. I thought Mike Lowell?s double in the third inning was big. He found a hole in right field. It was just a good at-bat. You make a good pitch, and a guy hits a double down the line. What can you do? That?s baseball. For me, as a hitter, watching the Red Sox work counts, not swinging at balls and swinging at strikes — that had more to do with what happened than anything C.C. was doing out there.
Josh Beckett is probably right there with Fausto and Felix Hernandez as the best right-handed pitchers in the league. He did a great job, once he got the lead, of keeping his foot down on us. He was throwing strikes and getting ahead. It?s hard to have a big inning against a guy with that kind of stuff and who?s pitching like that.
This is just one game. We don?t want to go back to Cleveland down 2-0. But even if we do, this is a longer series. We?ve got to be ready to go on Saturday, and hopefully Fausto will pitch well. This is so different than a five-game series, and it?s even different knowing we?re going back home. We?ll be all right.
Being from the West Coast, I don?t get too caught up in East Coast teams, so I don?t know much about the history of Fenway Park or the team or anything like that. I like playing here now, just because the Red Sox have such a great team and great fans. This is a good park to hit in, I guess. You can see the ball good, and that?s all I care about. It?s fun playing against this team, because they have so many great players. You know they’re going to be exciting games.
On the flight home from New York, I think we were all just so tired from those two games at Yankee Stadium. They took so long and took so much out of us. It was time to just take a deep breath. We probably had more fun on the flight going to New York after we won that game here in Cleveland. Because even though we knew we had won the series, we right away started to think about the task ahead of us. We don?t want to just beat the Yankees. We want to win the World Series.
On the off-day Tuesday, I went to the mall out in Beachwood to buy a few shirts. I was in Nordstrom buying a tie, and I could see a few people from the shoe department looking over at me. I started talking with one of the guys about Yankee Stadium and going there and playing. It was fun to see how everybody was so into what the team was doing. They were saying how each night, everybody was crowding around the TV in the men?s shoe department to watch the games. Everyone was just going crazy. It was a lot of fun to see all the enthusiasm surrounding the team. We really didn?t get to see that, clinching in New York. A couple friends of mine said everyone downtown was real excited.
When we got off the flight from New York, there were about seven people waiting for us at the airpport. Those were definitely superfans. They came out in the middle of the night. They got their money?s worth, too, because they got on ESPN.
It was fun to be on the Jim Rome show today. I grew up a pretty big fan of the show. I?m still into it. My favorite part was talking with him about callers into the show, like Mike from Wichita or Chad from Portland. It?s kind of come full-circle, because now Ben Francisco and I are rooting for the ?clones,? and not the other way around. We?re trying to pick who will win the ?Smack Off.? It cracks us up. I think Rome does a good job. I like hearing his take on sports.
I checked into my hotel and right away checked out, because we?re heading to Boston tonight. No complaints, but it?s definitely a whirlwind. I think it will be nice to have less days off in this round, because we?re playing well and swinging well.
People talk about us being in this series. But you don?t sneak up on the other team. You just sneak up on the media. Just because all the guys that write for all the New York papers didn?t give us respect doesn?t mean the Yankees didn?t.
Monday?s workout felt more like Spring Training than anything else. It was like one of those first days of the spring, when you get done early. After the workout, I went back to the hotel I?m staying at in the suburbs. It?s a good location. There are a lot of places to eat. Especially when you?re used to living downtown, where there?s nowhere to eat. You have a choice of maybe one or two places downtown. I?m almost in heaven with all these options I have with places to eat.
I spent a lot of time Monday night watching ESPN. And now that the Phillies-Rockies game is on, it?s starting to sink in for all of us how big a moment this is. I think we have a little bit of an advantage having this extra day off. It gives us a chance to sit back and watch these playoff games and not be thrown right into the fire. Especially us younger guys.
I?ve watched a lot of playoff games in my day, but I haven?t really watched one thinking about what it?s going to be like to play in one on the next day. I?ll definitely be watching the games [Wednesday night], after we finish working out.
I took some time Monday to look back and reflect on the good and the bad, personally, for me this season. It was a fun year. I?m proud of the way it went for me. I never pouted or complained about the position I was put in [being the 25th man on the roster on Opening Day]. I just went out and worked hard. [Manager] Eric [Wedge] said if you go out and work hard and do the right things, it?s going to work out. It seems like he was right.
I hope this blog goes on for a long time. It?s been great seeing how much this city is supporting us right now. I think all 25 guys in here are realizing that. We?re doing everything we possibly can to win this thing and be ready.
Driving into the ballpark today, it started to sink inthat it?s about to be here and we?ve got a lot to play for. As soon as that
last game on Sunday finished up, the season was over and everything was in the
books. It was nice having that day off Monday to think about what we
accomplished that we?re proud of and what we want to do better. But the regular
season is over. That door is shut. This is a second season for us now.
During the off-day, I moved out of my
apartment downtown, because our lease ended on the first of the month. So Josh
Barfield and I moved out and I moved into a hotel and took care of all that
stuff. Then I went to ?WWE Raw? with Travis Hafner and his wife and Bill McCracken. Everywhere Travis goes, people know him. They took
him up and interviewed him in the ring during the show. They were talking about
the series and stuff and then they put a camera on us. A lot of people were
coming down and saying hi.
I?ll tell you what ? going to that event was
fun for two reasons, just relating it to baseball. No. 1, a ton of Indians fans
were there. It was cool to go out and just talk to people and realize how this
city is really behind this team and really pulling for us. The other cool part
was just sitting at an event like that and being a fan. When you?re out on the
field, sometimes you lose sight of how fun it is and what it?s like to just be
a fan and enjoy it. I think this is going to be really fun for the City of Cleveland. I was just
sitting there all caught up in Triple H fighting Vince McMahon and stuff. And
that?s just entertainment. This is an actual sport. So it will be fun.
I?m looking forward to getting back on the
field Thursday. Three days off is almost like an All-Star break. We never get
days off like this. I?m just treating it like a game day where I?m not playing.
I just went through my normal routine in the cage with [hitting coach] Derek Shelton. Then we?ll go
out and take batting practice, like we normally do before a game. But instead
of going out and playing afterward, I?ll just go home. Personally, I think
these workout days are pretty important, just to watch a lot of film of the
opposing pitchers and make sure my swing is where I want it to be so I?ll be ready