Rowand: 'We were pumped and ready'
Sox center fielder talks about Game 1, Angels and bunt attempt
CHICAGO -- Aaron Rowand bristled at the idea that a lack of execution cost the White Sox during their 3-2 loss to the Angels on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at U.S. Cellular Field. He pointed more to lack of big hits with runners in scoring position as his team's tragic flaw.
It's also a problem that could quickly work against the Angels in this hotly contested series, featuring two very similar teams. In Rowand's first installment of his ALCS journal, as told exclusively to MLB.com, the center fielder talks about the Angels, the series and a ninth-inning bunt attempt that went astray during the one-run decision.
There was really nothing different about the overall atmosphere between the American League Championship Series and the Division Series. Once you put the jersey on in a playoff atmosphere like this, you tend to forget whether you are tired or you have aches and pains.
The playoffs are the playoffs, whether it's the Division Series, World Series or whatnot. You lay it all on the line and when the ballgame is done, if you win, that's great. If you lose, you better come back tomorrow ready to play again.
Even though we haven't played since Friday, we weren't flat by any means. We were pumped up and ready to go. If anything, the first time through the lineup against Paul Byrd, guys were anxious after not having live at-bats in a few days. After that, it falls right back into it. We've played 100-some games, actually it seems like 200 ballgames this season. A few days off won't make a huge difference.
Byrd threw the ball well tonight. He changed up on his breaking ball, throwing two or three different ones. He had a cutter, a slider, a curve and a sinker. He really kept us off balance. We had opportunities and didn't get the big hit when we needed it. That's what the game came down to tonight -- we didn't get the big hit with runners in scoring position.
In the ninth inning [with pinch-runner Pablo Ozuna on first base and nobody out], I took a look at [Chone] Figgins at third and saw him playing three feet in front of the bag. If I got down a decent bunt, I knew I would move the runner over.
But when the pitcher is in his wind up, I'm not looking down at third to see if he's charging or not. I'm trying to see the ball. I got down a good bunt, but he was charging. There's not much you can do about that. It's a good defensive call on their part. Maybe I'll try to bunt it to first next time.
Their travel and our time off had nothing really to do with how tonight played out. They are a good ballclub. We are a good ballclub. We will have to go out and battle [Wednesday]. It's going to come down to the wire, back and forth. You have two similarly styled ballclubs and it will come down to who gets the big hit at the right time.
We still have a lot of baseball to play and we aren't going to hang our heads over one game. We played pretty well tonight and they played a little bit better. It's a typical game we played against the Angels all season. We will come back [Wednesday] with the same intensity and go at it again.
Whether we win the next four or lose the next three, it's going to be a battle the entire way. I'm sure everyone on that side knows that and we know that on this side. It comes down to doing the best job we can.
Aaron Rowand's postseason diary appears as told to Scott Merkin a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.