There's no simple reason for my success since coming to the Phillies last season, but I think that stepping back and taking a basic approach has something to do with it. I just try to focus on the game between the lines and to have fun. I don't allow myself to be distracted by factors that are beyond my control.

For me, it's been about concentrating on throwing the ball and getting hitters out. That's the best way for me to describe it. I've gone back to the basics, and it seems to be working. You try to have that same approach, whether things are going well or you're struggling.

The bottom line is that this is a game. I've really come to understand that as I continue to mature.

Before coming to the Phillies, I hit a couple of bumps in the road. I left Minnesota to go to Anaheim and then Boston. But you learn from adversity, too. Going through what I've gone through has only made me a better pitcher. A lot of the success I'm having now is because I went through those trials and tribulations. Now I'm enjoying the game to the fullest.

Coming to Philly, I never felt it was a "last chance" type of opportunity for me. But I knew I was 30 years old, and there wasn't room for mistakes. I even told myself I would quit if I didn't give myself a full opportunity.

I didn't want to keep jumping from one team to another. I didn't want to be mediocre. I knew I could be better. All I wanted to do once I got here was take the opportunity and contribute. That takes you back to simply playing the game. Sometimes you're going to win, and sometimes you're going to lose.

My mental approach was that as long as I play the game and play the game right, I'm going to have a chance to succeed.

My experience here with Philadelphia has been especially satisfying, because I'm having success with a good team. I'm fortunate to have been in the playoffs four times in my career, but I haven't reached the World Series. I feel like I have a chance to change that this season, because our team really came into the season with our eyes focused on the big picture. We want to go all the way.

I find myself telling the guys who have less playoff experience than me what it's like to get beyond that first round. Every game means more and more. I want them to know that once you get a taste, it will just make you hungrier for more. We want to go to the very end.

I want to contribute to that team goal. That's part of why I'm here now -- to do my part. Hopefully we can continue with this winning attitude and go all the way.

Veteran J.C. Romero played his first seven seasons with the Twins before struggling at stops with the Angels (2006) and the Red Sox (start of the 2007 season). Now in his second season with the Phillies after joining the club midway through the '07 campaign, Romero has posted a 2.28 ERA this season in 60 games after posting a 1.24 ERA with the Phills in 51 contests last season.