10/20/09 1:05 AM ET
Postgame interview with Jimmy Rollins
By / MLB.com
JIMMY ROLLINS: I don't know, I still haven't really thought about it from that perspective. But it doesn't get bigger, I guess, at this moment in LCS. Last game we had played, last at-bat I had, victory for the Phillies. So it would probably have to be at the top by far.
Q. Charlie said that you're a big game player; bigger the stage, the better you play. That was obviously a dream scenario. Can you talk about and describe how it felt the minute you saw that ball hit the gap and you knew you were going to win the game?
JIMMY ROLLINS: It felt good. It definitely felt good. The adjustments I made in the cage after my first swing, it all just came together, and I was just telling myself, just sit there and catch the ball. Something I've done over the last about four years. Sat there and really tried to catch the ball on a barrel. If you hit it on the barrel with his velocity, the ball is going to go.
It's one of those situations where I wasn't afraid. I've faced him a number of times before, and that always helps when you're familiar with the guy, his movement, what his ball is going to do, and he's pretty much thrown me all fastballs. I've fouled off a couple sliders in the past. But the fact that he's a closer, 100 mph, he's going to give you his best. If he's going to lose, he's going to lose with his best.
I was able to catch one in the gap perfectly. They were kind of squeezing the gap, but that ball just came out far enough to beat everybody.
Q. We spoke a few weeks back, and I asked you about your role as a leadoff hitter, and you basically expressed that it's just a team game, you're out there as a team, play together. You always hear professional athletes talk about when they step into the moment, when they get into the zone. When you stepped up there for that at-bat, did you feel things slowing down for you?
JIMMY ROLLINS: Yeah, things do slow down. You know, you -- I don't know. You already have it planned out in your head how you want things to go. Sometimes it goes that way, sometimes it doesn't. But being confident in your ability helps a lot. You don't question what you're going to do. And like I said, after the first pitch, I was able to make an adjustment. If you go back, you see me in the box trying to get my feet in the right position. I was like closed, not open up. I decided to go with open because I felt my hands get in the slot. From the point, it was just a matter of getting a good pitch. If you think about it, 60 feet is a long ways to see the ball, even at 100 mph, and he threw it basically where I was looking.
Really it was funny, right before he threw it, I'd say hit a ball in the right center field gap. Kemp was playing me slightly to left center. Ethier was squeezing, I was like hit the ball in the gap right over Broxton's head, that's at least one run. And it went all the way to the fence, so we were able to get two and a victory.
Q. You just said he pitched it right where you were looking. Is there a reason you were looking in that spot because it seemed like you had it figured out?
JIMMY ROLLINS: The first pitch, he came in. I don't know if he pulled it or he was really trying to go in. But every time I faced him, he's pretty much done the same thing. He started me off away, although, this time he started me in. They've had a lot of success. Look at my numbers against the Dodgers, it's really not a lot of hits.
Knowing that, I just said that I'm going to sit on his pitch, a fastball lands, sit there and catch it and really just looking for a single up the middle to tie the ballgame, but I was able to get more. Sometimes, the pitcher makes a mistake. Catcher is set up away, you're looking in, he throws a ball by mistake in, and it's like, how were you looking for that pitch? Well, he made a mistake because if he hits the spot, I don't get that hit. This time, he threw it right where I was looking and I got the result I wanted.
Q. In watching Dobbs' at-bat, he started Dobbs with a slider after hitting Chooch. I know how sure you were what you were going to see, but had Dobbs' at-bat made you rethink anything? Maybe he might come at me a different way because he started Greg with a slider? Or did you say to yourself he's pitched to me this way every single time, he's going to pitch me this way again?
JIMMY ROLLINS: Yeah, basically he's thrown the same way over and over, and he's had success. I don't know if I've ever had a hit. I've always found a way to put the barrel on the ball. It was just fly balls to left field. This time, I was able to straighten it out.
I did notice how he pitched Dobbs; threw him a first-pitch slider. But it's different when you're facing a pinch-hitter. Pinch-hitter, your job is to come off the bench and try to get that first fastball, and to counter that, to make sure to see what a guy is doing, you throw a pitch that you can throw for a strike that's not a fastball, and want to see what the hitter is doing. But I'm a different hitter than Greg Dobbs. He has a track record against me and he's been successful. Today I was just finally able to beat him.
Q. Along those lines, talk a little bit about Matt's at-bat and the electricity that that brought to the dugout, giving you guys a boost.
JIMMY ROLLINS: I would have definitely liked to see him catch another big boy, especially at this ballpark at home, just to see the crowd erupt. It's pretty much Game 4 again a year later, two big boys going at it.
But he wasn't going to let Matt Stairs beat him. He pitched around Matt Stairs. He got Chooch on deck, good double play guy. Although, he's been hot in a situation that you don't have to give into a guy like Matt Stairs when you have a double play sort of next. But he let one get away, and those things can cost you. Basically two walks, he hits a batter and a walk, can cost you late in the game and definitely this time of the year.
Q. Can you describe what happened at the end celebration-wise? A couple guys sort of said there was a toast to you and a lot of guys spoke pretty fondly of you after it happened as a guy that's been around and meant a lot to the team. What was your impression? What happened afterward? And if you could describe it a little bit.
JIMMY ROLLINS: I don't know what you're talking about (smiling).
Q. I guess you do but just don't feel like -- could you describe at least what it meant? The guys looking up to you in that respect?
JIMMY ROLLINS: I don't know what you're talking about (smiling).
Q. I was wondering if you could kind of describe the feeling when you come through in the clutch like that and get consumed by your teammates once you got to third?
JIMMY ROLLINS: Getting a hit is great. You know, getting a win for driving in that winning run is even better. The pile up and the beat down that happens afterward, that can be pretty dangerous, especially when Ryan Howard is the first guy out there. But then I guess he's kind of like a shell at the same time, a little bit of protection.
Only thing I didn't want to do was get crushed, so I just kind of went in fetal position and started throwing punches, and whoever got hit, got hit. Ben Francisco did a pretty good job of throwing his arm around my neck and restraining me, so I think I caught the worst of it. So it's a lot of fun, but that's what we do. Baseball has changed, you probably didn't have celebrations like that in the past, but today, guys show emotion, I guess, a lot differently. That's a good way to go into an off day, but we understand we still have a job to do, and that's over. The celebration, that part is done. We look forward to the off day and getting back to Wednesday, trying to close it out.
Q. You haven't talked about this for a while, how for some reason even when you're down late in games, you guys are just as relaxed as you are during the game and you never count yourself out. Can you point a finger on why you guys are like that and how it keeps happening?
JIMMY ROLLINS: Just belief. We believe in ourselves. We believe in our ability. We know that there's 27 outs, and coming to the ninth inning -- actually about the seventh inning is actually when we start really getting, I guess, locked in, if it hasn't happened earlier, just saying we have to put some at-bats together. No one goes up there and make an out. You're going to get out, they're going to catch the ball, but you're not going to get yourself out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. You have to play 27 outs.
We've been on the other end of that a number of times this year, so just because you have two strikes and two outs, things can still happen. All it takes is a slip-up of a pitch, one swing of the bat, an error, anything to get the ball rolling. And as long as you continue to believe in good things, I believe and I think we believe that good things will happen.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.