Closer Greg Holland tied the Royals record for saves in a single season Monday night (well, Tuesday morning in Kansas City) in a 6-5 win at Seattle.
I spoke with him over the weekend about closing out games when the the stakes are considerably higher than in previous seasons for the Royals. We talked after a win against Texas in the latest installment of the two-minute interview.QUESTION:
Does coming into a game in the ninth-inning against a team you’re battling with for a playoff spot pump you up more?ANSWER:
I try not to think about those things, I try to think about executing and just trying to throw your pitches, but obviously you’re going to have a little added adrenaline. It’s something that is just a lot of fun. We’ve had a lot of fun all year. To be in this situation is even more fun. We’re loving the chance to give ourselves a better chance of making the postseason.QUESTION:
How different is it for you than a year ago when you were a closer but the team team wasn’t in playoff contention?ANSWER:
It’s definitely different. It was kind of a process for us last year, trying to learn to win and learn to come back the next day. I think most of the guys in here have matured since last year and we try and help by bringing in guys like Erv and Shields and Wade who have won before. It’s just starting to come together at the right time and we expect to win now.QUESTION:
Is it harder to stay in the moment when you’re in the middle of a playoff push?ANSWER:
If you try and say we need to go sweep Cleveland, that’s one of those things that you start thinking about winning three or four games in a row, it can be too much added pressure on yourself. Most of us in here just have the mentality that we’re going to go strap it on and play tonight and whatever happens we’re going to come to work the next day ready to do the same thing. If you can just work on today’s game, you’ll be fine. That’s the kind of mentality all of us have.QUESTION:
Being in a playoff chase, how does this season compare with others you’ve had in your career?ANSWER: This is why you play the game. You don’t get to the big leagues by not being competitive and wanting to win. It’s something everyone in the big leagues has: the fire to win and be the best. It’s been a lot of fun to see this core group of guys kind of grow and mature and mesh. We’re really excited for tomorrow and next year and all that.