I took my time getting out of here last night. I stayed and just enjoyed the fact that we had won Game 1. Once I got home, I was done. I tried to do a little packing for the road trip, but my eyes were burning and I finally had to tell my wife that I had to go to sleep. All my energy was spent and I knew I needed rest before I came back out there and doing this again today.
All of my kids are off from school today, tomorrow and Monday, so I got a chance to spend some time with them and got a bite to eat together this morning. I got up a little earlier today, but otherwise stayed with my routine.
It was nice to get the win in Game 1, but your focus in Game 2 has to be the same. In the playoffs, it’s all about who can focus the most and take the extracurricular activities and push them aside. At this point in time in the year, whoever focuses the best is the one that’s going to put themselves in position to win.
I think the guys came out today ready to play. We continue to remain focused for 27 outs. Not two innings, not four innings, so we knew when they got out to a 2-0 lead, there was still a lot of baseball left to be played, and in the dugout we talked about just focusing on putting together solid at-bats and take it from there.
And that’s what we did. We settled in and got a big two-out knock by Chris Young and then another two knocks by Stephen Drew and Eric Byrnes, so the guys did an outstanding job tonight.
We’ve had our success this year with pitching, defense and timely hitting. These first two games we’ve done exactly that. Tonight we knew we were going to have our hands full with Ted Lilly, so we didn’t try to do too much. We just tried to keep the pressure on him and put together solid at-bats.
I know that we’re up 2-0, but there’s still a lot of work to do. We start back up on Saturday and we need to try to come out that day and try to win a ballgame regardless of whether we’re up 2-0 or not.
What impresses me is their ability day in and day out to grind for 27 outs. It’s fun to watch. It’s exciting because their professionalism has been rewarded thus far.
We’re going to be up all night tonight flying, so tomorrow will be a rest day, and we’ll try to make the two-hour adjustment as quickly as possible. It’s best to get out tonight and get there as quickly as you can and go from there.
Talk to you from Chicago on Saturday.
Tonight was a big night for us. You do all that you can to keep the game in perspective. But you know that being at home, you want to get off on the right foot, and you know they’ve got their best guy going and we’ve got our best, so you know runs are going to be at a minimum. Therefore, it’s hard to keep everything relaxed when your insides want to jump out of you and you’re so excited about the opportunity that you have.
I did the best I could to keep it in perspective, and the night was a lot of fun. I was glad we came out and did what we always do — and that’s get key hits from different guys at key times. Webby threw the ball well tonight obviously and that was big for him to step up like that for us.
He went out there in Colorado last week and threw a game that we needed to win, and he came out tonight and threw a game that we needed to win. That’s what a No. 1 does, and that’s what we’ve come to expect from him. That’s why he’s got a Cy Young sitting on his mantle at home.
You can’t forget the guys that drove in the runs, played good defense and the guys that followed him to the mound that finished it up.
I also want to say something about our crowd. It was amazing tonight. It was outstanding to look out and see a sea of red and get the support that we did here tonight. It’s a whole lot of fun to see everybody rally around this team. It means a lot to us.
As soon as I take a shower here, I’ll start thinking about tomorrow.
Today is a big day, no question about it, but I tried to stick to my normal schedule as much as possible.
So I did what I usually do before a home night game. I got up, got my son ready to go to school and then grabbed a bite to eat before dropping him off.
I got here very early today and went through video again on the Cubs and got in a workout and some early hitting in the cage. I still prepared like it was a 6:40 p.m. game instead of 7:05 so I had a little extra time in there, but you want to keep everything as normal as possible and as regimented as you do during the regular season. Because while this is a big game and we’re only one of eight teams playing and the circumstances are a little different, it’s your routine that keeps you comfortable. Your routine is what makes you feel like you are as prepared as possible to play.
I think our young players are ready to go. I haven’t noticed anything different from them. The guys are still bouncing around and running around as a young group of guys usually does. I know they are looking forward to getting out on the field and finally playing.
Monday turned out even better than I thought. I had an opportunity to go to my son’s soccer practice for the first time. That was unbelievable, because it’s his first time playing soccer, so to be able to watch him run around with his Afro afire, it was an absolute pleasure.
Then I got the chance to go to my daughter’s practice. I thought it was going to be a game, but it ended up being practice at 6:30 p.m., and then my oldest daughter had soccer practice right after school, which I didn’t even know about. So I ended up going 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., which was absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.
When I get done with our workout here today, I’ll be headed to another soccer game at 3:30 p.m. and then my son’s practice at 6 p.m., and then we’ll grab dinner together. It’s been a lot of fun being Dad and to know that we’re still working, and that we are one of only eight teams that are playing. That’s pretty special.
Now it’s time to lock in on the Cubs. I started doing that this morning, just reviewing in my mind my at-bats against them and what they tried to do against me. Then I took care of some things around the house and came here early and looked at some video of my at-bats against them. I was able to get a workout in and some extra swings in the batting cage before going out to take regular BP. Slowly but surely, we’re getting dialed in.
You have to hope, after you do all that, that everything comes together tomorrow night at 7:05.
I know there’s been a lot of talk about the Cubs heading into this series and that’s OK. We were rarely discussed all season long and that doesn’t bother us. This group in here knows that we have the support of our fans and the commitment of everyone in the clubhouse, and as long as we’re committed to each other, we’ll go out there and lay it on the line and see what happens.
We’re indifferent to who is getting the headlines or who is being talked about. We understand that once you get between the lines, the ball can bounce in a lot of different directions. A little luck doesn’t hurt, either. But like I’ve been telling people, luck is the result of when preparation meets opportunity. So we’ll continue to work, continue to stay focused on the things that got us to this point, and be hopeful that all the hard work we put in over the course of 162 games and the preparation we’ve done prior to this series is going to give us the opportunity to be successful.
It should be fun tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to seeing a packed house here. Hope to see you out here.