10/05/09 12:00 AM ET
Pressure? Street doesn't believe it exists
Rockies' closer feels if he does his best, results will come
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
But as for the pressure that's often used to describe the job, Rockies closer Huston Street doesn't even think it exists.
"I don't really believe in pressure," Street said. "It's kind of word people have created to give reason for failure, or build up people when they come through, like clutch. I think people who are clutch are people who have always done it in any situation.
"All pressure really is the emotions you put on yourself, so while some people feel anxious, others get an adrenaline rush. Our bodies are wired differently. So it's fight or flight in those situations. So if you go out there and execute, the results take care of themselves and there's no such thing as pressure."
So while Street might not feel any pressure, he'll be stepping into a huge role for the Rockies in the postseason as the team's closer.
It'll be the second time that Street has entered the postseason as a closer, as he also was Oakland's closer when the A's advanced to the American League Championship Series in 2006.
Street saved two games in the ALDS, but he also gave up a series-winning, three-run walk-off home run to Magglio Ordonez in Game 4 of the ALCS that sent the Tigers to the World Series.
Street, though, said he learned from his experience and will know what to expect when the Rockies play the Phillies in the first round of the NLDS this year.
"I think the experience gives you confidence and the blueprint for what works and what doesn't work," Street said. "You have to draw from that experience, but at the same time, experience gives you a sense of what works when you focus a certain way."
Street's sense of focus has seemingly worked all season in his job as the Rockies' closer, as he finished the regular season with 35 saves in 37 chances and a 3.06 ERA in 64 appearances.
And that focus won't waver no matter what the circumstances bring in this year's postseason.
"I'm going to do what I've been doing all year long with the same routine, with the same mental preparations I start when I go over the hitters in the seventh inning," Street said. "It should all work out about the same."
Street's main focus will be on executing his pitches because he knows that's all he can control. For example, sometimes a great pitch can result in a bloop single and a bad pitch can end up as a hard-hit out.
It all boils down to the fact that pitchers have total control of just three outcomes without the help of their fielders -- strikeouts, walks and home runs allowed. And so far this season, Street has excelled with 70 strikeouts, 13 walks, and seven home runs allowed despite pitching at home run-friendly Coors Field.
"All I can control is from the moment I have the ball in my hand to the moment I release the baseball," Street said. "After that, I could get 55 ground balls in a row if my fielders don't field them. So it's a team sport, and you have to trust your teammates behind you and stay aggressive."
Street will have to be aggressive against the Phillies' lineup, which led the NL in runs scored and has powerful left-handed bats such as Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez.
Street learned that the hard way early this season, when he allowed three runs in 1 2/3 innings over two games against the Phillies, including a game-winning two-run home run by Matt Stairs in the ninth inning on April 12.
But as Street noted, those games came a long time ago, and he's ready for his second chance against the Phillies when it really counts starting Wednesday at 12:37 p.m. MT on TBS.
"You have to respect their lineup and I think we do, but then again, everybody is pitchable," Street said. "But their lineup has more tough outs than most, and that's why they're in the playoffs. So more than anything, you just have to be aggressive and put them in 0-1 or 0-2 counts. You can't be intimidated.
"If you execute your pitches, the rest will take care of itself."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.