Lets get things moving with a quick Cards recap from Game 5’s tough defeat. Quick it will shall be. How much time does this team deserve at this point? Putting down the cuddly hammer and picking up a dull knife.
The Cards Lose Game 5, 4-2, and fall 3 games to 2 in the World Series. Could the remarkable run be coming to an end on Wednesday at home with Jaime Garcia on mound? That potential fatal dilemma can be saved for another day. Lets see why we lost tonight.
Chief Reason-The lineup went completely limp, flatlining in Game 5 just as they did in Game 4, plus a couple of 2nd inning runs. Check the scoreboard and The Cards have scored 2 runs in 18 innings since plowing through the Rangers 16-7 in Game 3. The Texas Rangers, as predicted by many, took 2 of 3 in Texas and did so by reacting better than the Cards, pitching better and coming up with more clutch hits. Mike Napoli has taken over this series, hitting home runs in the first game, cranking a pivotal 3 run shot off Mitchell Boggs in Game 4 and hitting a go ahead 2 run double tonight. He also threw Allen Craig out twice at second(more on that later). The Cards aren’t delivering in clutch spots. They went 1-12 with RISP tonight, which is downright pathetic. As my good friend and Cards nerve center colleague Pj noted, we didn’t deserve to win Game 5 because we wasted so many opportunities to build on an early 2-0 lead. Chris Carpenter pitched sharp, went 7 innings, allowed 2 runs on 7 hits but couldn’t shut out the Rangers. Texas can hit, reach base, and play with your head. The Cardinals lineup has been befuddled by Derek Holland, Cj Wilson(bend yet don’t break starts), and the Rangers bullpen in Games 4 and 5. We mustered 2 hits last night and 5 hits tonight. 2 runs and 7 hits in 18 innings, ladies and gentlemen. The main reason the Cards are down 3-2 is because the bats went cold.
The pitching has been fine. Edwin Jackson walked 7 yet restricted the Rangers from blowing it open for 6 innings. Carpenter pitched very well tonight. Boggs and Rzepcynszki made mistakes but did so against a good hitter in Napoli. The bullpen was going to wear down after carrying the team in the NLCS. The pitching has been there and only Kyle Lohse has been hit very hard in this series.
Game 1-Carp goes 6, holds Rangers to 2 runs, wins
Game 2-Garcia pitches superbly, going 7 strong, striking out and allowing no runs, No decision
Game 3-Lohse nearly blows 5-0 lead, gets pulled in the 4th inning.
Game 4-Jackson goes 5.1, gives up 3 runs, walks 7 but limits damage in gutsy performance
Game 5-Carpenter goes 7, allows 2 runs and gives team chance(the elbow soreness issue is dead, right?)
The bats have disappeared and if they don’t return, the Cards are done. Jaime Garcia can’t be expected to allow no runs in 7 innings again. The lineup will have to find a way to hit Colby Lewis, the one pitcher in Texas’ rotation who pitches to contact with marginal stuff. Wilson and Holland are beasts in the rotation, but Lewis is the hittable arm who stifled us in Game 2. He keeps the silent treatment intact and Garcia’s arm won’t matter.
Main Idea-The Cards had numerous chance to break this game open. Tons of opportunities lost. Matt Holliday grounded out twice with 2 runners in scoring position. Nick Punto failed twice at the plate to bring in a runner from third base. This wasn’t clutch.
Stop complaining about Allen Craig getting thrown out at second. The first one was a supposedly hit and run play put on by Albert and it failed. He took a pitch in the 6th inning and Craig got hosed by Napoli. There would be no reason to steal second with Albert up because Texas skipper Ron Washington would walk him. He intentionally walked AP three times. Craig had to moving on a hit and run. In the 9th inning, Albert swung through a 3-2 pitch 5 inches off the plate and Craig, going on pitch, was gunned down again. Hit and runs are put on because the Cards grounded into 160 double plays this season. La Russa wasn’t wrong in this decision.
Here’s who I blame. Albert Pujols. Lets look at the big guy. He was 5-6 in Game 3 with 3 HR, 6 RBI, and 4 runs scored. In the other 4 games, he is 0-12 with 5 intentional walks. Albert worked a 0-2 count off shaky Rangers reliever Feliz in the 9th to a 3-2 count but swung at 3 straight pitches off the strike zone. Why? Hit and run or not, Albert needs to recognize a ball and take it for ball 4 and let Craig walk to second. Instead, Albert swings at ball 4 and Craig gets gunned down. Momentum dead. Pujols is having an alright series off the work in one game. He has been missing in every other game. He needs to show up big in Game 6 or we will drown. When Albert hits like we all know he can, the Cards win. When he fails in big spots, we lose.
Unfortunate Stat #1-The Texas Rangers haven’t lost back to back games in their last 44 games.
Unfortunate Stat #2-The Cards were given 9 walks in Game 5 but only pushed one of them across plate. 4 of those walks were intentional, so don’t praise the Cards hitters.
Unfortunate Stat #3-Derek Holland’s porn stache is real.
Unfortunate Stat #4-Tim McCarver is a fucking moron. Game 4 slip up-“The Cardinals barely won the Wild Card, and didn’t even finish first in their division.” Ouch! Game 5 slip up-“Pujols caught Craig in corner of his eye and had to swing to protect him.” NO TIM! He had a 3-2 count and another pitched sailed outside and he swung at it. He takes it and there are 2 on and no out.
The Cards didn’t take good at bats in Games 4 and 5 and lost because of their impatience and intolerance for big hits.
Sunday the Cards got outpitched and shut down by a talented lefty finding his groove. Game 5, the Cards had EVERY chance to get a big lead and wasted every opportunity. Sad, sad terrible news.
However, the series isn’t over yet. No team in baseball plays better with their backs against the wall than the 2011 Cardinals. Savor the flavor of defeat and all its friends, but get ready for Wednesday’s sudden death match. More on that later. One more thing. Worry about Game 6. Stop talking about Game 7. One game at a time my friends. Game 7 is about as real right now as Santa Claus delivering me a bag of italian roast this Christmas. I have to buy it myself. The Cards will have to earn a right to play in Game 7.
Other News Bits-
- The Blues are starting Brian Elliot in net on Wednesday. The right call. Play the hot hand at all times. Oldest rule in sports book. Forget feelings and try your best to win. Jaroslav Halak is being taken to school right now on the bench. I like the Blues chances of winning and Halak’s chances of learning a thing or two.
- The Rams suck. Plain and simple. Losing by 27 points to the Cowboys was no surprise but the sting still caught our hearts. Without Sam Bradford, the offense was stale and the defense got shredded on the ground and in the air. This team may not win a single game outside Seattle this year. Next up-The New Orleans Saints, who killed(using a rocket launcher) the Colts on Sunday night 62-7. So bad, MU alum Chase Daniel took snaps in the third quarter after Brees had 6 touchdown passes and exceeded his fantasy points limit. Make the record 0-7.
- Reggie Bush throwing his team under the bus. This is nothing new with the Bust Bush. He is averaging 3.9 yards on ground, has fumbled 3 times and scored 1 touchdown on a pass. Shut up Reggie. Your Pizza Hut commercials are crap. You are a horrible fantasy pick.
- NetFlix losses 800,000 customers. Why? They insanely raised their prices in one day and called themselves out on it. In a modern age of Redbox $1 dollar rentals and cable lore, Netflix gambled wrong. I dropped Netflix and subscribed to Blockbuster for $7.50 per month to get any movie/game I want for as long as I want. Change didn’t do Netflix good. Crash and burn.
- Tonight, after work, I ran 13.2 miles. Pure challenge. I’ve been running 3-4 miles on lunch for the past 2 years with occasional 7-9 mile bursts and didn’t train up for this run. I just did it. The results were mixed. I barely made it to the end and am sore from head to toe right now. I did it in 2 hours, 44 minutes but it seemed like 3 days and the run registered to my body like 30 miles. However, I am happy I challenged myself and love the taste of ibuprofen and the feel of a warm blanket. I got back to my car, developed chills, a headache, a thirst quest and was sore all over but…I am glad I did it. Sometimes, people, you have to challenge yourself for no reason known to man or woman. Just do it.
- If I have to see the Jennifer Lopez FIAT spot one more time on FOX, I may stab a kid with a pencil in the shoulder. The first few times it was okay and passable. Now, I see her big ass in that tiny car, talking about her rise in Brooklyn and I feel like turning her off and giving that car seat some BenGay. Fiats suck by the way. Old school that needed to stay in the basement.
- It’s a known fact, but banks own us in this world. That will never change. Student loans, house loans, car loans and credit cards all contain interest that entraps us for life. Forget about gangsters, doctors and GOD. Banks own this world. This popped into my head the other day and didn’t leave.
- Anyone notice gas is going down yet staying up? No. That’s what I thought. The last thing I pay attention to are gas prices unless they jump 50 cents in 2 days. Same as the weather. Hope for good and prepare for the worst.
- We are reading Vincent books now. He can’t understand a word but he likes the sound of our voices and goes to sleep on them. Ducks, pigs, dogs or fish. Any story about love, hugging and relaxing does the trick. Main problem…spit ups at random. That’s the unpredictable nature of your kids. Awaiting danger and fighting off sleep.
Speaking of which, I’m going to go get a few hours of rest. My body is aching and my mind is shot. It’s time to pull this latest blog in for an edit and shut things down for the night. Be safe tomorrow and come back again.
Thanks for reading,