10/10/05 5:50 PM ET
Ensberg: We'll be ready for St. Louis
I was so exhausted after six hours of baseball and a clubhouse celebration that I didn't even go out to dinner last night. I got takeout for my wife, Christi, and I and went back home. I just wanted to sit down or, better yet, crawl into bed. I wish I had the energy to go out and celebrate some more, but I just didn't. I was tapped.So I slept pretty well last night. It's physically exhausting to play 18 innings, of course, but it's mentally grueling, too. A game like that takes an even bigger toll emotionally. That exhausts me more than the physical part. You have to maintain your focus and concentration every second because it's such a dogfight with so much at stake. The guys on the bench who were already out of the game helped us keep our concentration. They were loud and alert, trying to help keep us aware of everything that was happening from a situational standpoint. It really was an incredible game. We were down, 6-1, going into the bottom of the eighth inning and then, wham, Lance Berkman hits a grand slam and a few batters later Brad Ausmus hits another home run and it's tied up. It happened so fast. Then the second nine innings was a battle that we had to really grind out. I have to give a lot of credit to our bullpen, holding them scoreless over that final nine innings. Roger Clemens' performance was incredible, but we've come to expect incredible things from Roger. The guy I couldn't be happier for is Chris Burke. He talks about those kinds of situations and wants to be in those kinds of situations. It's great having a teammate who's not afraid to fail and it's even greater to see that teammate succeed. One thing I'll always remember about the game is that at the end of 18 innings, the fans were still there. I couldn't find empty seats. It was unbelievable. Yesterday we celebrated. But today, I definitely turned that page and began to focus on the Championship Series against St. Louis. I'm especially glad we didn't have to go back to Atlanta and play again today before heading up to St. Louis. We'll fly up there on Tuesday, but we're not going to go in there limping like we did last year. Instead of going there straight from Atlanta, we'll have had a couple days off to get our pitching rotation lined up, so we feel pretty good about our chances. Third baseman Morgan Ensberg had the best of his three full seasons in the Majors in 2005, achieving career bests with 36 home runs and 101 RBIs. His .945 OPS was eighth-best in the National League.
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