I’ll probably be able to think back to the thrill of pitching in a World Series game. I mean, let’s go win this thing and it won’t matter. But my moment was during the national anthem and the flyover, and then it was business.
When you’re pitching on long rest, some guys might be rusty, some guys not. For me tonight, I wasn’t rusty. I felt fine. I did what I could. We’re playing National League baseball right now, and our manager’s going to manage in National League style. I understand completely why I came out of the ballgame.
Good pitching beats good hitting. I know that. When I’m out there and I’ve got all my pitches working, I’m going to give my team a pretty good chance to win. I had three pitches I was throwing for a strike tonight. I lost a few because of grip reasons. Chris Carpenter made pitches. He had four pitches for a strike, and the way he was throwing tonight, it was going to be tough to score on him.
The inning they scored the two runs, the first-pitch single then Albert Pujols, that was a slider that slipped out of my hands. It wasn’t even a strike. It was off the plate. It slipped out of my hand and spun around out there. He slapped it down the first-base line. I would’ve rather walked him than give up the double. The walk with Scott Rolen, then I get a ground ball from Ronnie Belliard, then I get a ground ball from Jim Edmonds. I really felt like I had a pretty good chance of getting out of that inning.
I made the pitch I wanted to throw to Edmonds. I was watching what he was doing throughout the at-bat, watching his swing. Threw a fastball, ran it up and in on him, and I got the ground ball. When I saw it off his bat, I couldn’t tell whether it was going to stay fair or not. If it did stay fair, I didn’t know if we were positioned close to the line or not. We weren’t, and the ball got down the first-base line. If it goes right to Sean Casey there, I’d be out of the inning.
When you talk about playoff teams, there’s a reason why they’re in the postseason. Certainly there’s a reason why the Cardinals are in the postseason. They’re playing good baseball right now. They really are. Even in their loss two days ago, they played a good game. But we’ve got Jeremy Bonderman on the hill Wednesday, and this team bounces back good. If we win tomorrow, we’ll be in a good position. I think there’s just as much of a challenge clinching a series as there is turning the momentum. It’s a big game regardless, and he’ll be up for the challenge.