ST. LOUIS -- The darling of last October, David Freese returned to the postseason stage better prepared for the spotlight, even though he's cognizant that he'll never replicate the four-week high he experienced during the 2011 playoffs.
Freese was not yet a nationally recognized third baseman at this time a year ago. Rather, his coming-out postseason party was just beginning. By the end of October, he had established postseason marks in RBIs (21) and total bases (50). He tied the Major League record with 25 hits, none bigger than the two he delivered to send the Cardinals to a Game 6 World Series win.
How is it different a second time around?
"I think last year, I was more naïve to all this," Freese said on Monday. "But everything's slower now. It's more relaxing. You understand you just have to do your own thing and prepare and focus and worry about winning a baseball game. But this is what we live for, and to be back here for a second time, it's awesome. You grind it out for six months and get a chance to sneak in and try to do it all over again. It's awesome, and you couldn't ask for anything more."
After driving in a run in Friday's National League Wild Card game, Freese had two of the Cardinals' three hits in Sunday's NL Division Series Game 1 loss.