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Friday, April 23, 2010
Darren's Diary: Walkoffs and touring Boston

By Darren O'Day

Editor's Note: Darren O'Day wrote his diary while sitting in the lower section of Fenway Park before Thursday's game. This week, he talks about what he did on his off day in Boston, the team's morale and some good ribbing of Darren Oliver.

BOSTON -- The toughest way to lose a game is in walkoff fashion. It’s good to be competitive and to be in tight games like that, but it hurts to see it ripped away at the last second. That’s especially true in a place like Boston, in a park like this with the passionate fans they have. The closer the games are at the end, the more that favors the home team, especially in a tie game in extra innings, like we had Wednesday. The deck is really stacked against you as the road team. It’s not like we’re getting blown out, we’re just doing little things to shoot ourselves in the foot. It’s been compounding. I see a lot of guys in the locker room who are pretty resolute. It’s not like everybody’s moping around. Nobody thinks the season is over. We’re in a little rut here that we have to dig out. Last year, we went on a 10-game winning streak. We do that again, everyone forgets about this losing streak we’re on. No one is pushing the panic button.

In the bullpen, things get a little more serious as the game gets later and it looks like it could go extras. Early in the game, we like to mess around. It usually involves Darren Oliver yelling at me, and everyone else jumping in. I start teasing Oliver to warm up in the fifth inning because I like to tell him he’s going to pitch every day. DO wasn’t an option on Wednesday, but that didn’t stop me from telling him to stretch out and get loose. When we start figuring out we might get in there, we start quieting down a little bit. When it gets down to extras, that’s when you find out who’s cut out to be a relief pitcher, who’s cut out to be a late-inning guy. Who are the guys that can perform when the game is tight like that and in extra innings? You’re the visiting team in Boston, pitching in a game with no margin for error. That’s pressure. Our bullpen performed admirably, even the game-winning hits, in our park those are outs. Fenway has it's quirks, and the green monster is a huge advantage if you can pepper it with flyballs. Nippert knew he was our last option on Wednesday, he knew he was going 4 or 5 if need be, or Garko might have been pitching.

One plus to the trip was that we did get an off day in Boston, and we took advantage of it. We had a little bullpen/catcher excursion with me, Doug Mathis, Dustin Nippert and Taylor Teagarden. We went to breakfast for omelets and pancakes at Charley’s, a nice Boston establishment that’s been around for 70 years or so. Then we took the subway to the aquarium. Cabbing wasn't an option because of the thousands of people here for the Boston Marathon. I didn't know there were that many people who think running 26 miles sounds like a good time. The only way I'm running that far is if a bear is chasing me. And it better be a big bear.

We caught an Imax flick about the Hubble Space telescope, saw some fish and penguins, got some seafood down by the Wharf, came back and wasted time in the room. Nippert and I then had a man date. We went to dinner just the two of us because everyone else was busy. After two days of seafood we wanted some good American food, and I can say the meatloaf at Post 390 is excellent. All in all, it was the perfect off day. We got some rest, and learned a little something on the side.