© 2005 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
Sometimes you just have to give the other side some credit. Mark Mulder did an outstanding job in holding us down, especially after he got hit on the pitching arm on that shot by Joe Randa in the second inning.
We thought we had him on the ropes -- bases loaded, one out -- but he showed how tough he is there. He battled and made good pitches and got the job done. We got our share of hits, but we just didn't get them when we needed them.
That team is good. You don't win 100 games without being sound, fundamentally. They can play small ball, big ball, any kind of ball it takes. Their MVP, Albert Pujols, is contributing, but he isn't killing us with long balls. We've kept him in the park, but they're getting clutch hits and manufacturing runs with their aggression, like on that squeeze bunt by David Eckstein in the fourth inning. That's good baseball, excellent execution.
I was really looking forward to making some things happen for us leading off, and I'm disappointed I went 0-for-3. Mulder does a good job of keeping the ball down, making good pitches when he needs them.
In the third, I thought I could get a bunt down for a hit to get us started. But he threw me a curveball, and I wasn't able to put it down the line where I wanted. He was able to get to the ball and throw me out. My next at-bat, I hit it pretty hard to shortstop, and they turned a double play on me.
That's just a very fundamentally sound team. Each one of those guys knows the game so well in terms of positioning, being in the right place at the right time. As an opponent, you can get very frustrated against them. They get a break, like the ball that came up on Khalil Greene in the third inning [off the bat of Yadier Molina], and they jump on it. A good team does that.
Whatever we've got in the tank, it's got to come out now. If we've got a reserve tank, it's got to come out now. There's no holding back. We've got to come out with an aggressive mind-set and go after it on Saturday.
We know what we have to do. We've got to put the pressure on and keep it on. We need to get a game, and then take it from there. The train hasn't stopped yet. We've got to get those wheels in motion and do some serious churning now.