Down the stretch
At this time of year you?re trying to be smart about the way you go about your work and training to ensure you maintain your strength ?- mentally and physically ?- through the most crucial part of the schedule.
Willie?s done a great job of cutting down on batting practice and extra work towards the end of the year, plus we have a lot of veterans who?ve played into October before. I lean on them a little and watch how they go about it.
The stretch is when you have to dig down deep and see what?s left in the tank. It?s a great part of the athletic challenge in baseball ? our season is a marathon.
Personally, I feel real good. I think I learned a lesson in pacing myself last year. It was my first full season and I got to a point where I ran into a little wall. Of course, it also helps to have the lead that we have in our division this season because it?s allowed Willie to give the regulars a rest here and there. So I feel great, ready to roll.
I had a little rest when I sat out the second game of our double-header with the Braves, but I don?t think my teammates and coaches like having me on the bench. I?m pretty fidgety, walking around, getting up, sitting down. Jose Reyes is pretty active, too. We?re like head cheerleaders when we?re not in the game, the way we?re always yelling from the dugout.
I don?t like taking days off, but I recognize it?s good for the club to get some other guys at-bats and get a little rest heading into the home stretch.
But there?s still three weeks left in the regular season and I?m going to focus on each game, one at a time. There?s no rush to get to the postseason. I enjoy every game. Sure, we have a big lead but as a competitor you want to win every game and get a hit every at-bat, regardless of how far ahead or behind you might be in the standings.
We still want to win every game and hopefully get to the postseason with a full head of steam. The idea is to finish strong.
We got a big boost this week was when Cliff Floyd rejoined us. Not just because of his presence in the middle of the order but because he?s an emotional leader in the clubhouse, too. He?s good friends with a lot of the guys on our club and he?s great to have around. He?s part of the glue that holds the team together.