I hit it to the wrong part of the field
Cardinals rookie shares thoughts on Game 4 loss
Rookie outfielder John Rodriguez wasn't even in the Cardinals organization until midseason, and even after a trade to St. Louis he wasn't on the 40-man roster. Yet an amazing month at Triple-A Memphis, combined with injuries on St. Louis' big league squad, led to an opportunity for Rodriguez to play in the Majors for the first time. Rodriguez is checking in with MLB.com throughout the playoffs to share his experiences with readers in his first taste of the Major League playoffs.
Rodriguez had one of the most dramatic and best at-bats of Sunday's Game 4 NLCS loss. He came in when Jim Edmonds was ejected, and hit a ball all the way to the hill in center field before Willy Taveras tracked it down.
I was going to get up (for Jason Marquis) if Mark Grudzielanek didn't get that single in the eighth inning. But he ended up hitting a single, and we put Marquis up there to bunt. So I just thought maybe in the ninth or somewhere around there I might get a chance to come up in a situation.
Pressure situations, you can't think about it. You just have to go up there and get it done. No ifs, ands or buts about it. You've got to get it done. I tried my best. I hit it to the wrong part of the field. It just happened to be out that way. It's all right.
It was just like yesterday, really. I knew I had to get on one way or the other. The difference this time was that I only had one pitch to work with because it was a full count. Pressure situations are what pinch-hitters are for. The majority of the time, it's going to be that way.
I had a 3-2 count, and I knew he didn't want to walk me because he had Albert Pujols behind me. It was either going to be: miss a pitch, walk me and face Pujols or have Brad Lidge face Pujols, or pitch to me -- a rookie.
So that's what I put in my head. I knew they didn't want to walk me. I was just looking for a strike, something to drive. The first pitch I fouled off was a good pitch, a fastball down. I fouled it back. The next pitch was a slider down the middle, and I fouled that one back.
I just tried to not think so much. Just go out there and try to put the bat on the ball the best I could. I just hit it to the wrong part of the park. Not too many fields, probably only this one, is it 436 feet. So I can't be too mad about my swing.
Plus, they had a defensive replacement out there, who is their regular center fielder. It was just bad luck all around.
So now we need to go out there tomorrow and play like it's Game 7, because it is. Everything from here on out is Game 7 for us.
One last thing -- I want to tell my mom that I love her very much and I'm thinking about her, and stop worrying. I'm all right.
John Rodriguez's diary appears as told to MLB.com reporter Matthew Leach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.