ST. LOUIS -- For the first time in three years, Pat Neshek is having a blast in October.
While he was a member of the A's postseason roster in 2012, his participation was merely a distraction from all that was going on personally. Days before the start of the Division Series, Neshek and his wife, Stephanee, lost their son, Gehrig, suddenly after his birth.
"It was one of those, we had a great team ... and just the stuff, I wasn't able to really think," Neshek recalled. "It was kind of just an escape to try to forget about everything that was going on."
Neshek made one scoreless appearance in 2012, as the A's bowed out after the first round. Last year, he didn't get to participate at all. Not only did Oakland decide not to keep him on its postseason roster, but the A's told him he didn't even need to stick around to support the team from the dugout.
"That kind of fired me up," Neshek said. "I was driving back [to Florida] and watching my team play, all my teammates play, and it wasn't fun."
This year, Neshek remains front and center in the Cardinals' postseason plans. He rebounded from a Game 2 loss to pitch a perfect eighth in the Cardinals' 3-1 Game 3 win. Everything about the 2014 season he's put together has exceeded expectations. From a non-roster invitee in Spring Training to an All-Star by midseason to a setup man in the postseason, Neshek has made the most of his opportunity with the Cardinals.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.