Kela doesn't plan to change the way he pitches
ARLINGTON -- Rangers reliever Keone Kela said he is not going to let Friday's confrontation with Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson change the way he pitches or approaches his job.
"I believe I'm the aggressor," Kela said. "I'm the challenger. When I step on the mound, my job is to pitch with conviction and execute to the best of my ability to get the batter out. Nothing's going to change. Just because of what happened [on Friday] doesn't mean I'm going to change my mindset.
"I'm not going to change who I am as a man or a pitcher. I'm going to go out there with the same intensity level. I'm going to go out there with the same mindset, as well, and how I face these guys. They're a great hitting ballclub, and I feel like we've been pitching very well and we're going to continue to move forward."
Kela, who ended up being the winning pitcher in the Rangers' 6-4 victory in 14 innings, faced Donaldson with one out in the 13th with the game tied at 4. On an 0-1 count, Donaldson crushed a curveball deep to left -- but the ball hooked foul and missed being a game-winning home run.
After the pitch, Kela and Donaldson started yelling at each other and both teams ended up spilling out onto the field. It took a few moments for the situation to cool, but did so without any physical altercation.
"I just think, with it being the playoffs, it's a high-intensity game," Kela said. "He's a competitor. I'm a competitor. Tempers flared and we won, and that's pretty much it. That's water under the bridge, and all I can focus on is Game 3 -- and that's the new objective and that's all that matters, right now."
Kela was calmed down by his teammates, particularly catcher Chris Gimenez and shortstop Elvis Andrus. He ended up striking out Donaldson and, after a walk to Jose Bautista, getting Edwin Encarnacion on a fly ball to deep center to end the inning.
Kela said his teammates told him, "just to compose myself and take a deep breath and not to get lost. Elvis told me to stay in the moment. I think what he meant by that was just to focus on every pitch I was going to make. Josh Donaldson's a great hitter and then I had to face Bautista and Encarnacion. He told me don't get lost in the moment just because something happened. Don't let those emotions [carry over] to the next batter."
There were some insinuations after the game Donaldson was upset because he thought Kela tried to "quick-pitch" him.
"When you're talking about varying times, when you have a baseball out there on the mound, aren't you the timekeeper?" Kela said. "The game doesn't really start until I do something with it under the umpire's discretion. That's what this game is about. It's about messing up the timing of the hitter, as well as I feel like the batter, whether they step out, that's why Major League Baseball has made up all these new rules about having to keep a foot in the box, clock and stuff like that.
"Not to say that's a bad thing. I appreciate it. That's what this game is about, is mixing up timing. I feel like it's a way to be deceptive on the mound and at that point that's the way I felt like I could face Donaldson."