When St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese stepped to the plate in Game 5 of the National League Division Series, he had a familiar feeling.
Two on. Two outs. Two strikes. This ring a bell yet?
It did to David Freese.
"Man, it was an insane feeling," he said following batting practice prior to Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. "I know this is going to sound cheesy, but I just told myself we really have to focus here and just get the job done."
There was no triple or home run, but he worked a walk and kept the game alive.
"You know, statistically speaking, we were already out of it," Freese laughed. "We just snuck back in and took care of business."
Just like in 2011.
This team isn't the same team, obviously, but it does share a lot of the same qualities: talent, heart, personality, grit and a love for being the underdog.
"We understand what's at stake here," he said. "Whether it's 2011 or 2012, we've just got to be ready. This is a good group of guys and they all want to keep playing."
Freese came out swinging Wednesday evening against the San Fracisco Giants. After popping out to center field in the second inning, he came back with a single, a double and a run scored.
He was the only Cardinal with two hits in the game that experienced a 3 hour and 28 minute rain delay.
Freese, a homegrown talent who played high school baseball in the St. Louis area, still has a flare for the October dramatics.
So far in the 2012 postseason, Freese sports the second highest batting average by an everyday player on the team at .310.
His .364 OBP and .517 slugging are also among the team's top offensive producers. He's 9-for-29 with three doubles, a home run and four RBI.
All quotes were obtained firsthand.