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Craig Breslow’s playoff blog: This is the reason we all play this game

10.03.13 at 6:12 pm ET
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Red Sox left-hander Craig Breslow will contribute regularly to this blog throughout his team’s postseason run. In addition to his work on the mound, the eight-year big leaguer is also the founder and executive director of the Strike 3 Foundation, a charitable agency that heightens awareness, mobilizes support, and raises funding for childhood cancer research. To learn more about the Strike 3 Foundation, and its new Play It Forward program, click here.

Craig Breslow

Craig Breslow

This is the reason we all play this game. This is what you set out to do in spring training. The fact that this has become a reality for us, while guys around here might say it’s not surprising to them and that they had expectations, this season has gone very, very well.

I think, personally, having been around the game a long time and having been pretty well-traveled, but to not have had the opportunity to pitch in the postseason, I feel like this is what I set out to do 10 years ago, 20 years ago. I’m looking forward to it. At the same time, I think you have to remain objective, because otherwise you get caught up in the stage. The goals won’t change, my preparation won’t change and hopefully the results won’t change.

I would say the opportunity to play in the postseason is as much of a landmark as one chooses to make it. It’s probably something that, when this season is all done, I’ll look back on and say it was pretty significant, and ideally it went pretty well. But today, tomorrow, I’ll be reluctant to think about what this means in the big picture because it’s just another game. That’s the way we have to approach it.

In terms of advance scouting for the series, I’ve always tried to prepare for everyone on an opposing team’s roster rather than simply focusing my attention just on left-handed hitters. Whether through pinch-hitters or the course of how the game plays out, or a left-right-left situation, anyone is fair game. It’s better to be prepared to face someone and not face them than the converse of that. And, having a pretty good idea of how creative the Rays can be at constructing lineups, I would say that nobody is off limits.

I will rely upon a combination of both video and my own histories when facing Tampa Bay’s lineup. I don’t know that you can replace personal experience, but I think you have to also recognize the existence of skewing memories and selection bias, those types of things. I think you tend to be more objective when you’re looking at somebody else doing this, as opposed to seeing how somebody reacted to my pitch.

If I were handicapping these games against the Rays, after a regular season in which seven of our 19 games were decided in a team’s last at-bat and 10 of the 19 were won by either one or two runs, I would probably look at those trends and say that there’s no reason to expect those things won’t continue. But we’re a different team and they’re a different team than we were during the different points when we met in the regular season.

I feel like we’re in a good position — the opportunity to open up here, in our stadium with our fans. We had the luxury of setting the rotation the way we want to. We have a bunch of guys who have been through this. They have a bunch of guys with playoff experience. I like where we are, but I certainly anticipate hard-fought, close games, based on the construction of both teams.

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