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October 8, 2010

8:15 p.m.

            You might imagine that our flight home from Florida last night was pretty nice. Everyone was so happy after winning the first two games on the road. Tampa Bay is a good team. We did not take them lightly, and we still don’t. But our guys responded to the postseason pressure as if they’ve been doing this their whole lives.

            I’ve been to the postseason a few times in my career, so I was ready to step in and give some advice if I saw guys getting nervous, but everyone was completely cool. Before Wednesday’s Game 1, Ron Washington and a few of the coaches talked in the clubhouse to the team. They said we had nothing to worry about because we were well prepared and had worked hard to get here and to just play the game.

            And that’s what we did. Or at least pretty much. I was surprised to find myself feeling a little anxious right before going out on the field but once Cliff Lee’s pitches started popping into my glove, I was locked in. The butterflies went away and it was “Here we go.”

            First games in a series are always kind of like a study – you’re studying the other team and they’re studying you. You want to see how they’re going to pitch you, how they’re going to set the fielders. You want to see what their pitcher has working for him.

            In my first at-bat, I got a fastball straightaway and was able to line it over first base for an RBI. The next time I came up, he threw me a fastball and I fouled it off. I had a feeling he was going to throw another fastball inside. That’s what I got. I hit it over the left-field wall.

            It felt great to round the bases right then. You never know how you’re going to perform when the chips are down, so I was very happy to be able to come through and help the team and give my pitcher a cushion. You can just see how pitchers relax once they have a few runs on the scoreboard. You can see it in their eyes. You see the confidence go up. Cliff Lee had it all going for him Wednesday after a giving up a couple hits in the first inning. He was amazing.

            In the clubhouse afterward, you could sense that everyone was just feeling, “OK, we can do this.”

            I went to dinner that night with my wife and her parents to a seafood restaurant on the water in Clearwater.

            Then C.J. Wilson comes out Thursday and throws another great game, mixing up his pitches and doing his thing.  We flew home needing to win just one game to clinch. Pretty good feeling.

            Today we had batting practice and infield practice. Jamie took her parents to see Dealey Plaza while I was at the park. I’m watching the Phillies-Reds game now and will try to see the Giants-Braves. It was fun to catch the last four innings of Tim Lincecum’s great pitching performance last night. I’m so happy for him.

            I’ll be back behind the plate tomorrow for Game 3. We never, never count any team out. We’re taking nothing for granted. We are not letting our guard down. But I have to say, it will be great to play at home in front of our great fans.

            See you out there!

4 Comments

Even though I’ve only been a Rangers fan for the past 4 months or so, I’ve enjoyed your play, your playoff contributions, and seeing you hit for the cycle! Thanks for all you’ve done this year!

Congrats on making it to the ALCS, Bengie! No disrespect or lack of love for Buster Posey, but I still miss you out in SF. And it’s still a little odd to see you catching in red and blue instead of orange and black.

Hope to see you in the World Series…against the Giants, of course! But no more of that base stealing, O.K.? : )

Have a great ride!

Benji,
Congrats to you and your teammates.
It was a heck of a ride and glad to see you had a great part in it all. Who knows, maybe you might even get a chance to play your old G-men team in the World Series.
Again, your Rangers teammates and yourself played a great game last night, and I personally was surprised that identical 5-1 scores would bookend the ALDS.
Onward and upwards my friend…..Time to defeat the Evil Empire!

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

My name is Angel and I’ve been a Giant fan since I was 4. I’ve seen alot of ups and downs in those years. Not a world series championship yet, but I got a good feeling about this years team. The lineup doesn’t seem to have the power it had in 03, but with a pitching staff and a pitching coach that excels in confidence on and off the field, theres really no need to panic as a fan. I think this trend in pitching will carry on for a good 3 or 4 years if we can resign the top 3 pitchers in the rotation and the top 4 relief pitchers . I live in Mammoth, Arizona and would love to hear some feedback on what else anyone would suggest the Giants could do to maybe improve our chances, for instance maybe steal more bases or bunt more often. It’s just a suggestion. to say the least, I LIVE AND BREATH SAN FRANSICO GIANTS. Peace Out.

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