Rookie outfielder John Rodriguez wasn't even in the Cardinals organization until midseason, and even after a trade to St. Louis he wasn't on the 40-man roster. Yet an amazing month at Triple-A Memphis, combined with injuries on St. Louis' big league squad, led to an opportunity for Rodriguez to play in the Majors for the first time. Rodriguez will be checking in with MLB.com throughout the playoffs to share his experiences with readers in his first taste of the Major League playoffs.
In Friday's edition, Rodriguez discusses the trip to the West Coast, having more than 48 hours between games and what to do with a free night in San Diego.
After the game, we were still on that high, knowing that it is two games to none. Just to take that trip, knowing that today we have a day off, we knew that plane ride wasn't going to hurt us. We just wanted to come in here on this day off and get everything together and just make sure our swings are right. The pitchers are making sure that whoever is throwing a bullpen or working on some things, that they're sharp.
For me, as a bench role guy, it's myself, John Gall, John Mabry, Guch (So Taguchi) and Hector Luna. From my standpoint, I try to [prepare for] situations. I play situations in batting practice, game situations, like if I have to do a hit-and-run, or put a bunt down, or get the guy over or hit a sacrifice fly. I also play a line-drive game. It's just a game that I play with myself, seeing how many line drives I can hit in BP. I try for 13 to 15 line drives, if I can get that many. Those are games that I play in BP to make sure that my swing is right. Maybe in the last round I let it go a little bit and see how far I can hit it.
But more than anything, it's just important to stay sharp and make sure everything is right. Right now, I just finished working out and I'm feeling good. I'm probably going to go catch a movie. After the movie, I'll get a quick bite to eat. I love sushi and there are some good sushi places here in San Diego. After that, I'll come back to the hotel early and watch the Yankees-Angels game and go to sleep early and get ready for tomorrow.
At PETCO Park, there's more room in the outfield, especially in that right-center-field gap. The ball travels probably the same way it does at Busch. There's really not that much difference, besides that gap. Anybody who hits it in that gap, it doesn't matter if you're slow or fast. You're possibly going to get a triple. That's the thing that we have to cut off, as outfielders.
It's going to be fun tomorrow. This time, the fans aren't on our side, so it's going to be a little different.
John Rodriguez's diary appears as told to MLB.com reporter Matthew Leach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.