10/14/07 5:11 PM ET
Garko workout day interview
First baseman says team is savoring win, happy to return home
By / MLB.com
RYAN GARKO: I expect it to be pretty fired up. It was exciting here in the first round when we played New York. But it's nice to come home with a split and know that we're going to be here for three games in front of our fans.
It was loud here in the first round, and I hope we can just recreate that atmosphere and make it even better.
How encouraging is it to get a split when your two best pitchers clearly were not at their best, and you still came out of a very tough environment with a split?
RYAN GARKO: Yeah, it's outstanding. I think a lot of the credit goes to the Red Sox hitters doing a great job of working counts and seeing a lot of pitches and getting our guys out of there early.
But I think if you would have told us that neither C.C. or Fausto would have made it to the fifth inning and we would have split, we all would have taken it. So it's pretty nice team effort.
A lot of people in Cleveland see Trot Nixon as a guy that runs around and hits people in the face with a pie. But he obviously still has some talent. What does he do for you talent wise as a player? What does he mean to this club talent wise as a player? And how big was that hit last night?
RYAN GARKO: It was huge. We needed someone to step up and get a hit with a guy on base. But, you know, behind the scenes here these last few months, Trot has been working just as hard as anybody, waiting for an opportunity just like that. When you talk about being a left handed bat off the bench, it needs to be a veteran guy who's been around the league and who's seen pitchers, which Trot definitely has done, and we know that when he's called upon to hit, whether it's a closer or a lefty or whoever, that Trot is going to give you a quality at bat from the left side of the plate. You know, we saw it against Clemens in the first round and then again last night.
He's a great leader and he's been a mentor to a lot of the young guys, like myself. But you're right, there's still some hits left in that bat, and we're going to continue to need him to do that.
What does a win like that last night, the way it came to an end on the road and that crowd, that atmosphere, what does that do to your team coming home now?
RYAN GARKO: It's nice with an off day to be able to come back and savor the win with an off day. It would have been a tough flight home. It was such a long game, it was draining emotionally and physically. To be sitting here today on an off day down 2-0 would have been tough. Our bullpen did a great job of keeping us in it, and it definitely was a nice flight home, and today is going to be nice, just knowing that we won a game against a tough pitcher and in a tough environment, in a tough place to play.
Only three teams since 1985 have come back from 0-2. Talk about the importance of getting that win with the next three games being at home.
RYAN GARKO: Well, I think the biggest part isn't about getting to come home and play three games here and not being down 0-2. If we take care of business at home, we're going to be in a really good spot. You know that it's not the end of the world if you go down 0-2, you just say, hey, we just need to come home and take care of business at home, but you also know you have to be pretty much perfect when you're down 0-2. I think we're all kind of able to exhale, take a deep breath and get ready for these games and just go about our normal work, rather than every pitch being a do or die spot, we're just going to go out and do our thing like we've been doing.
Could you feel that rally coming on, or what was the key to that inning do you think, the 11th inning?
RYAN GARKO: Well, I think it was just continuing to have quality at bats. Out of nine guys, Haf hit the ball hard in the eighth, the second baseman, we had our chance off Papelbon. I thought I hit okay and Mike Lowell made a good play. We felt like we were just knocking on the door, and who was going to step up and get that hit with a guy on second base. I think it's just a product of us all just trying to have good at bats, not giving away at bats, trying to stick our nose in there and grind it out, like Eric has been talking to us about doing all year long.
That's exactly what Trot did. He just stuck his nose in there off a tough lefty and got a base hit. You know, I think you keep getting guys on base, you give yourself an opportunity to win a game, and when it starts looking like one run, it might be the difference.
Could you talk about facing Matsuzaka and what he brings.
RYAN GARKO: Yeah, I've faced him twice. He's a very good right handed pitcher. For me the thing he does is he mixes all of his pitches for strikes at any count. He's got a lot of confidence in throwing two or three or four different pitches during an at bat at any point, and he works at both sides of the plate. It's definitely going to be a challenge. You know, we just need to continue to make sure that we get good pitches to hit and make him work for his outs.
Eric has talked about bringing in a guy like Trot to give you guys a little toughness, a little experience. For the home team do you think winning a game like that, they rarely lose, they seem to win these postseason games at home, is there a carryover effect? Are you guys a little more confident today, tomorrow, from here on out?
RYAN GARKO: I think we're all kind of learning and growing as these playoffs go on. The young guys that have never been in it before, I think it all kind of started here against New York, that extra inning game we had, the night that Andy Pettitte started and Carmona had the win. I think that's when we started learning how to win some of these games.
It's totally different in the postseason, so different than the regular season is what we're all kind of learning. I mean, every pitch and every at bat is so magnified that as soon as something happens good or bad, you've got to put it behind you and get ready for the next pitch. That game was great last night, but it's over. We need to get ready to go tomorrow.
To go back to what you said, you guys beat into your head, it's 162 games, it's a whole marathon, everything like that, but it is different in the postseason, as you said. How do you not let that overwhelm you, too? RYAN GARKO: Well, you've just got to make sure that you take care of the process. I don't think Eric Wedge gets enough credit. He hammers that into us. He's not going to let us get out ahead of ourselves. The only meeting we had for the postseason he said, hey, guys, just be yourselves and keep doing what you've been doing all season long when you're between those white lines. That's all he's said to us and that's all he's going to keep saying to us. That's all he can do because as soon as you start worrying about things that are out of your control and the things going on around you, that's when things fall apart.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.