Cardinals notes, movie bits, random shit, facts of fatherhood and the daily ritual of mental cleansing by way of the moving hands and a keyboard. Ladies and gents, the Buffa Blast begins now.
CARDINALS ONE WIN AWAY FROM WORLD SERIES
*Cardinals notch back to back wins at home and push Giants to the brink of elimination. We are a long way from slide gate, aren’t we? After the Giants stormed back in Game 2 via a Vogelsong clinic and a controversial slide by Matt Holliday into Marco Scutaro ignited the offense, the Cardinals were at a crossroads. Start hitting and pitching like champs or check out with good behavior. The Cards came home and got ace work from starters Kyle Lohse(grinding through 5.2 IP with 5 walks) and Adam Wainwright, who avenged his Game 5 letdown against the Nationals. After three Cards starters combined for 10 innings pitched in 3 games, Lohse and Wainwright balanced out the ship and thus ignited the Cardinals offense. Stepping in for an injured sore knee afflicted Carlos Beltran, Matt Carpenter, nicknamed the Super Sub, clubbed a 2 run homer off Matt Cain that held up for a 3-1 win. Last night, the Cardinals offense got equal shares from each of the lineup holders. 8 different players had hits, 7 different players scored and 5 different Redbirds had RBI. A 8-1 ass kicking that seemed to send the relentless Giants into a tail spin. The Cardinals are beating them by shutting down their biggest bat, Buster Posey, and keeping his backup bashers, Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval, in check. The bullpen in STL is doing a courageous job once again. Remember a year ago, The Cardinals starters didn’t fare well and had to be bailed out in relief. This year, different arms like Trevor Rosenthal(firing 100mph steam with a back breaking 82 mph changeup) are contributing, as well as Joe Kelly(the everyman), Mitchell Boggs, Edward Mujica, and Jason Motte. They are a shutdown crew that allows Mike Matheny to only ask 5-6 innings of his starters. Think of a firing squad waiting down the road for the rest of its team to push the enemy into their territory. Rosenthal, Boggs, Kelly and Motte all throw 98-100 mph and their heat rides up in the zone and makes it tough for hitters to center. If they have any kind of offspeed pitch, forget about it. The silent MVP of this series through 4 games is the bullpen. Here are a few other notes going in Game 5.
*Good to get Matt Holliday going last night. The big deal over one hard slide(late for sure but talked about too much) and a struggle at the plate kept Holliday in check. He’s a good guy who plays the game 100 percent every night and might have let the Scutaro train wreck get into his head. Last night, he collected two hits and drove in a pair of runs. With his mother recently diagnosed with colon cancer, Holliday is playing with a heavy heart and grinding through. The man’s a warrior. Yadi Molina is a warrior who also broke free last night for a pair of RBI hits. If Molina and Holliday start to hit, the loss of Beltran may be bearable for a week. Allen Craig got a hit last night as well to slightly break himself free from a cold streak. The best thing about the Cardinals lineup is its depth and relentless approach. When two guys are down, two more wake up and ride. When Beltran’s bat was in a two month coma, Allen Craig picked him up. When Craig went into a slump in the postseason, Beltran picked this entire team up. Same for Holliday, Molina, Carpenter, and Freese. Look at lower order guys like Daniel Descalso(huge in Game 5 against Nats) and Pete Kozma(19 RBI since September 22 lead the team) moving their weight. The Cardinals are unpredictable yet packed with talent and threat after threat. One can’t help but feel good about the future of this team while they strive for another pennant and title.
*They are one game away from a World Series berth. 12 in 12 is alive and well. The Detroit Tigers demolished the Yankees, who dug their own hole by hitting .188 in the postseason. The Oakland A’s gave the Tigers all they could handle so don’t think they are invincible. The leaking hazard of the Tigers is their horrible bullpen, outside of a couple arms. Verlander, Cabrera, Fielder and others won’t be easy to deal with, but don’t underestimate the Cardinals. In October, they are a wrecking ball. First, we need to take care of the Giants. Don’t think for a second that they are done and packing their offseason bags. They send greaseball Barry Zito to the mound tonight to help them survive another day and get the series back to San Francisco. Zito had a respectable 2012 season yet got banged around in Cincinnati and hasn’t pitched well against the Cards in his career. Look for his curve to be established early. That’s all he’s got. A 68 mph curve ball. Smash that and Zito is toast. The Cards counter with “Big Country” Lance Lynn. That is my X-factor for tonight’s game for St. Louis. Lynn and his durability issues.
*Lynn has had trouble getting through the order the 3rd time through since June. In Game 2, he struggled against the Giants the second time through their lineup. Lynn falls in love with his 4 seam fastball and after 45-50 pitches, the bats start to connect and launch it out of the park. Against the Nationals at the end of the season and in his start in the NLDS, Lynn struggled with his command in the middle innings and didn’t establish his offspeed pitches. Tonight, in order to survive 5 innings, Lynn has to establish his changeup and cutter. We know his 4 seam heater is good and effective only when his other pitches are working. The Giants will tee off on him in the 3rd and 4th innings if he doesn’t work his full arsenal. This is fact. Look at his starts since the end of June. He either gets hurt early or when the order starts to time his fastball. With this in mind, Mike Matheny must have Kelly ready in the 3rd or 4th inning. Stretch him out and get him loose, especially if the score is tied or the Cards are down. The leash on Lynn tonight has to be as short as it ever was. Feelings have to be deleted from the equation this time of year. If a starter doesn’t have it, he has to go. Matheny let Lynn get beat up for too long in Game 1. Struggling to spot any of his offspeed pitches and leaving his fastball up, Lynn almost blew a 6-0 lead before Kelly and the bullpen rescued him. Get Kelly and Shelby Miller ready to throw. Don’t be scared by Miller’s first postseason outing. The defense behind him betrayed him and allowed the Giants to score two runs in the 7th inning in Game 2. I’d like to see Miller get a shot.
*We are one win away from the World Series. Don’t hold your breath and tune in tonight. The Cards need to take care of business tonight. Don’t let it get back to the West Coast where Vogelsong and Cain can get a chance to wreck our boat. The Cards have their foot on the throat of the Giants and their gun pointed at their heart. Push down and pull the trigger. Do it tonight at home in front of your sea of red. The Giants are struggling to find air at the moment. Don’t give them a life line.
*Argo is your best bet right now. Ben Affleck’s nail biting thriller with a fair dose of comedy will keep you glued to the screen and laughing at the same time. It’s great theater. Drama followed by injections of well timed comedy. Affleck’s career is a true redemption story. For my new column his fall and rise, go to film-addict.com to check it out or click the link below. The story is similar to a punch drunk boxer finding his mouth piece, getting up off the canvas and swinging back. Give it a read.
*Film-Addict’s mobile app is live and working very well. Our web designer, Samantha Smith, did a fabulous job of putting this mobile version together. All the pages look sharp and it’s easy to navigate. The desktop version can be provided via the app or you can get your dose with one click. It’s the next frontier.
*This next week, we have three screenings that we have free passes to. St. Louis Film-Addicts are inclined to check out our daily dose section on the home page for more details.
*Vincent has taken 2-4 steps during the past couple days in his journey towards walking, otherwise known as the death of his parents patience and nerve endings. This kid of mine is stronger than any 13 month I have known, big, ambitious, smart and does something new and crazy every day. He can also take a fall and punch pretty well. He’s tough. After getting through heart and stomach medical issues early on, Vinny is thriving. No, he won’t run for President if I have anything to say about it.
The debate is a joke. Lets ask some real questions. Like when will jobs be returned to the country. Jobs for well qualified guys like me. Or better health care, for kids with health issues like my 13 month old son has had. These two robots aren’t the answer. They are liars. Spenders. They won’t change a thing. Politics is a useless game for people who don’t want to get real jobs. Nothing changes with either candidate in office. These debates are useless. Obama and Romney are both educated liars playing us for fools. I won’t be voting this year. Or casting my unofficial vote for the non-running yet ready Henry Rollins. Go ahead and laugh. He would get more done in a week than these suits could do in a year. Politics is a rigged game. It’s all about making money and not about the people anymore.
*Peyton Manning Madness. Never say die with Peyton Manning. Down 24-0 at half against the Chargers on Monday night, and Manning and the Denver defense leads a comeback that ends with a 35-24 Denver win. Manning magic. Let’s ask the Colts about their decision to trade Manning one more time. Andrew Luck has big shoes to fill and while I am sure he will one day do just that, trading Manning wasn’t the right plan. Find this guy a defense and he could easily win another Super Bowl. Still hoping for a Manning Super Bowl with Eli’s Giants and Manning’s Broncos.
*Don’t count out the Rams against the Packers this Sunday. Aaron Rodgers and his elite receivers and solid defense won’t be easy to bring down but The Rams are at home(where they are 3-0) and the Packers are vulnerable against a good pass rush. If the Rams get pressure on Rodgers and give Sam Bradford a shot, expect this game to be close. The Rams are no longer pushovers. It makes the winter tolerable.
NHL DEATH NOTICE
The NHL Owners offered a 50/50 split this week to the players association. This is a fair deal. The way it always should have been. Even split. If players turn down this deal they don’t really want to play and they can keep the “we love the fans” bullshit. These are guys making a lot of money to play a sport. I have this issue with every lockout/strike. MLB. NFL. NHL. No sympathy for the rich here. This has been going on forever. Ever since countries fought over land. Kings scrambling for every dollar while the regular people like us fall by the wayside. The owners could be playing mind games and the players responded this week with an offer that the Owners refused, so there is a strong possibility that more regular season games are getting cancelled as a result of these groups of millionaires failing to come to a decision.
One can pick either side and be covered in black. The NHL players contend they are losing money and the owners say the players response this week was a shady 50/50 split meaning that deep down it wasn’t an even split after all. Each side is playing the other side, gathering leverage and losing focus of the big picture. Games aren’t being paid. Blue collar people are out of jobs while rich people divide up cash. If a 50/50 split can’t be agreed upon, something is wrong. For better coverage, here is a good ESPN article on the reaction from the players.
RANDOM CLOSING BITS
*What happened to Alex Rodriguez? The most overpaid man in baseball had a horrible postseason that saw him collect one hit and strike out a ton. Is it injury, slow bat speed or just older age. The 37 year old is guaranteed 118 million over 5 more years. Get your forks out Yankees management and be prepared to eat all of it.
*Jose Valverde and all his closer antics don’t scare me one bit. The Detroit bullpen can be scored upon.
*If there is no hockey, there will be more random fights in public. If we can’t see guys be allowed to fight in a regulated game, the street battles will go up.
*Fall is coming in quite nicely here in South St. Louis city. The only bad part is my son’s nose won’t stop running. He doesn’t particularly like having his nose cleaned. He’d rather eat peas and carrots than be given the ability to breathe freely.
*Thanksgiving is a month away. Halloween is close and for a new parent that means the little man is dressing up as a cop and hitting the streets for sugar. I will wear a simple outfit that consists of a black hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans and a Jason mask along with my fake cleaver.
*When the Cardinals came back and upset the Nationals, I thought of my good late friend, Troy Siade. He was a die hard Cards fan, brilliant lawyer and all around great presence in my life from 2002-2004 on the scoreboard and he passed away at the age of 36 due to throat cancer. Every time the Cardinals do something great, I think about him.
*Never underestimate a great wife my male friends. Right now, my wife Rachel is busting her ass in a sales position. A job that has no base pay and only produces a paycheck off commission from sales. She is doing something new and challenging and doing a great job. I don’t tell her enough. I spent so many years working my ass off and us both having jobs, that watching her provide for the family is a new thing. When she was done one day, I told her to think about her job as being a hitter in baseball. You collect a hit per day, keep your head up, maintain a .300 batting average and wait for that one big swing/sale. It’s nice having a wife who comes home to you with the sole idea of seeing you and her kid. If you are married for the right reasons my friends, tell your wives that you love them. Women need the reassurance every day. Men get up, put themselves together and stumble out into the world. Women think the world is holding a microscope over their shoulders, observing their every move and they struggle with the expectation. I don’t tell my wife how lucky I am. Go ahead and tell her right now. DO IT! And mean it.
That’s it. My hands are tired and my mind is spent. This is all for today my friends. Thanks for reading and goodnight.
Dan L. Buffa
2,636 words and counting…