Saturday, April 18, 2009

Asked and answered: Jason Bay

No, he's not Manny.

So far this season, he's better.

Jason Bay hit his third home run of the season on Friday, an opposite-field blast in the bottom of the second that sparked the Red Sox to a come-from-behind win over the Orioles. The stereotypical Canadian -- he was even at the Bruins game on Thursday night -- now has seven extra-base hits in 10 games and a team-best .781 slugging percentage to go along with 10 RBI.

What's with that opposite-field power?
"Well, it's part of my game. It's not something that I can make happen; it's just something that when you're up there and feeling good and get the pitch, you hit it. Luckily for me, I have the ability to drive the ball out of the ballpark basically all the way around. It just depends on how you're feeling. It is a part of my game, but it's definitely not the only part."

Do you feel like you've turned a corner as an offense these last couple of games?
"I hope so. Definitely, today was a big day for us -- down 7-0 and we chip away here and there and win that game. But more importantly, the bullpen was great, and as an offense, hopefully we got some guys -- I don't think it's fair to think every guy in that lineup is going to be firing at all times. Obviously, early on, there were more guys not doing well than there were guys doing well. It's tough to pick up the slack. But we have the ability to have two or three guys not on their game and still put up a lot of runs. Hopefully, some guys have turned the corner."

How tough is it for guys to stay patient, work the count and draw walks when you're down 7-0?
"I think it's a little bit easier because when you're down by that much, your mentality is, 'We need baserunners.' We're not going to score seven runs on one swing with nobody on. But you're also talking to a team that can play some pretty long ballgames because of the at-bats that we take -- and not because guys are up there thinking, 'I don't want to swing at this pitch.' Guys are very, very selective, whether it's Youk, whether it's J.D.; the list goes on and on. That was more or less our lineup doing what it normally does in getting guys on."

How unusual did tonight's game seem to you?
"We were just eating dinner, and I looked at Pedey, and I was like, 'We're not talking about the fact that we were down 7-0 and we won that game.' 7-0 is a humongous deficit, especially when they have their No. 1 guy on the mound. You can't get it all back at once. We got four back right away, which was huge because if you go out in the second inning after they got seven and roll over, it sets the tone a little bit. We got a couple back there, and then you chip away, one here, one there, boom, it's a doable game. That's something most guys probably forgot about or maybe haven't really soaked up yet. But that could potentially be a season-changing game in a lot of aspects, whether it's the offense getting going or it's record-wise, getting one more win instead of one more loss. Whatever it is.

"That was a long answer."

But that was a pretty smooth seven-run comeback.
"That's kind of why it gets overlooked. It was, 'Hey, we won the game,' and at the end, it was like, 'Hey, no big deal.' It was early enough that we came back when it wasn't that dramatic; it was early in the game, a couple of runs here and there: 'OK, now we're down by three.' 'OK, now we have a tie game.' Once it was 8-5, it was almost like it was a regular game, not remembering we were down seven at one point. That's how it gets lost."

Was there any point when that flipped over from coming back from seven runs down to a regular game where you just have to chip away?
"You go out there and, obviously, J.D. walks and then you get a home run, and all of a sudden, it's like, 'OK, we're only down five,' and we have another baserunner. We went back out and it was 7-4, now we're talking about three runs. Regardless of what had happened, three runs is three runs. It's a quote-unquote 'regular game' or 'regular deficit,' and you can make that up. That was the mentality -- just chip away -- and we did that. That's ultimately the formula you want to use. Nine times out of 10 it doesn't work that way when you're down by seven, but tonight was one of those nights for us."

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