USA Today Sports

Eduardo Nunez on last postseason: 'I could feel how tight we were'

Rob Bradford
October 05, 2018 - 8:50 am

Eduardo Nunez now talks about the desperation, not only for himself but the entire Red Sox team.

Looking back exactly one year later, Nunez can offer an honest assessment where he was physically and where the Red Sox were mentally heading into that first pitch in Houston.

"One hundred percent I knew we were tight," said Nunez regarding the Red Sox. "That’s why I tried to rush to come back because I could feel how tight we were. It’s no secret. Now it’s different. Alex (Cora) talks with the players. He hangs out with players. He listens to you. I think it’s a big difference for us."

This Oct. 5 the Red Sox are home and Nunez is professing he is healthy.

The infielder is reminded there was a similar sense of optimism entering last postseason despite the fact Nunez's knee had only allowed him to play once since Sept. 9 and the Sox were looking forward to riding Chris Sale in Game 1 of the ALDS.

But then came the image of Nunez collapsing to the ground halfway down the first base line in that first inning, followed by back-to-back 8-2 losses to the Astros.

"Last year it was difficult. I was trying to make sure I could at least run. This year is different," he said. "This time I’m able to play defense. I’m able to run. I’m excited.

"The feeling is different. The confidence is different. Last year we had a good team, there’s no doubt. But I wasn’t healthy and there were a lot of guys who weren’t 100 percent. Mookie had his hands. Bogie had his wrist. But this year is different. People are healthy. We have J.D. (Martinez). We have David Price healthy. I think it’s different. The energy is different. We’ve been working this way since spring training, making the team like brothers. And Alex has done a good job with it."

It remains to be seen how much Nunez will be relied on for the best-of-five series, with Rafael Devers offering another option at third base. But there is a sense of satisfaction from the 31-year-old that got to this point, having battled the remnants of that injury in Houston 365 days ago.

"I was just trying to survive. I didn’t have any legs," said Nunez regarding how his ailing right knee impacted his early-season production. "My knee was painful. So I didn’t have any approach. It was just about surviving. But I made it."