Down to last strike, the Cards win on walk-off homer by playoff sparkplug.
By Cam Cain 10-28-11
They were down to their last strike – twice. But that never stopped the Cardinals. No, this has been the theme of the franchise since the end of August, never say die. The Cardinals rallied, they scored 2 runs in each the 9th and 10th before Freese’s monster shot in the 11th inning. This now becomes the first World Series Game 7 since 2002 when the Anaheim Angels beat the San Francisco Giants in 7 games. This game will definitely go down in the ranks of Game 6 in the 1975 World Series as one of the greatest Series Games of all-time. With 2 outs in the 9th, David Freese hit a triple, scoring 2, to tie the game up and send it into extras where, in the top of the 10th, Rangers Josh Hamilton chose the right time to hit his first Home Run of the series, scoring Elvis Andrus to give Texas a 9-7 lead.
But never make the mistake of counting these Cards out. In the bottom of the tenth inning, Daniel Descalso scored on an RBI ground out by Ryan Theriot. Now there were 2 outs and a man on third. After intentionally walking Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman scored Jon Jay from third base to bring home the tying run. Once again, the Cards had battled back from sure defeat. The champagne and ginger ale (for non-drinkers C.J. Wilson and Josh Hamilton) were now being flooded out of the Visitors locker room.
The Rangers never scored in the top of the eleventh. So Freese’s mammoth homer off of Texas pitcher Mark Lowe was all that was needed. Now, tonight, Tony LaRussa has officially decided against pitching Kyle Lohse in favor of his ace Chris Carpenter. I think that he made the right choice, seeing how if he had stuck with Lohse, what if he got shelled through 2/3 of an inning giving up 5 runs. People in St. Louis would be looking back at this day wondering why they hadn’t started Carpenter on three days rest. He faces Matt Harrison who didn’t pitch too well in his first start of the World Series. Whatever goes down, this has been and will continue to be a great World Series and one person, it’s anybody’s guess as to whom, will come away as the hero of the 107th Fall Classic.
Game 1 Tonight
By Cam Cain 10-19-11
It’s a cold, rainy evening in St. Louis. But why then is everybody crowding the streets? Forming long lines besides the Gateway Arch? Nearly all wearing red and white? No, it’s not a tourist attraction, (well, yea it kind-of is) it’s only one of the greatest sporting events being kicked off tonight. The 107th Fall Classic starts tonight from beautiful Busch Stadium, with downtown St. Louis, sometimes called the Rome of the West, in the background. Yes, Game 1 of the 2011 World Series kicks off tonight. Adam Wainwright, Bruce Sutter, and Bob Gibson will throw out the ceremonial first pitches. The latter two are hall-of-fame pitchers from the Cardinals. Wainwright would probably be taking the mound tonight had he not missed the entire season due to injury. Taking the mound will be each team’s respective aces. C.J. Wilson for the Rangers and Chris Carpenter for St. Louis. Carpenter has been spectacular all postseason and Wilson has been anything but. Here are some questions to think about for the game.
1. Which pitcher will get in their groove first? These are 2 of the league’s top offenses and it will be a high scoring game and series.
2. Which hitters will get hot at the right time? David Freese and Nelson Cruz won MVP of their league’s LCS. But the World Series MVP hasn’t been the LCS MVP since 2008 and only twice since 1989. Cody Ross was the MVP of last year’s National League Championship Series but hit a cool .235 with one home run in the World Series.
3. Who’s bullpen is better? The Cardinals have had the best bullpen throughout the playoffs and it is crucial with both teams’ strong offenses and this being an unusually high-scoring postseason. Dont underestimate the Rangers’ ‘pen. Mike Adams is a star set-up man. Neftali Feliz as a closer, of course, and Mike Gonzalez, an under-the-radar deadline move came over from Baltimore and has pitched well,
So who do I think will win it all? I think the Rangers have the overall better team and St. Louis’s winning streak has to end sometime. Rangers in 6. However, St. Louis wins 4-1 tonight in a relative low scoring game.
Who has the edge between division rivals?
By Cam Cain 10-8-11
Last night, approximately 8:15. Brewers CF Nyjer Morgan steps up to the plate in the bottom of the 10th. Speedy Carlos Gomez on first. One out. Following a passed ball, Gomez is on second. Everyone in the stadium knows what’s running through the mind of the anxious batter. So when Morgan took a 2-2 J.J. Putz pitch and drove it up the middle, scoring Gomez, it was the perfect ending to a perfect evening in the Cream City. The Brewers had not won a playoff series since 1982; the Robin Yount days, the County Stadium days, back when they were in the American League. The Angels were their victim; the California Angels! But that is the past. “The fans deserve this because they haven’t seen it since ’82” said Prince Fielder following the game. Morgan also doubled and scored in the 4th. The win did not come easy, however. Closer John Axford blew a 2-1 lead in the 9th and had his first blown save since April. He pitched a 1-2-3 10th and came away with the win.
And on the other end, the team Milwaukee will be facing had a much more difficult path even to get the wild card. At one point, the St. Louis Cardinals were 10.5 games out of a playoff spot. The valiant Cards beat out the Braves for the final spot in the playoffs in game 162; and then had to play the 102-win Phillies with their 4 aces in the NLDS. But the never-say-die Cardinals never said die and fought their way into a game 5 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, where former Blue Jays teammates and close friends Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay, currently aces of their respective teams, squared off in the deciding game.
The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the first and it was all they would need. Carpenter tossed a 3-hit shutout in the 1-0 victory.
“It was some kind of fun” said Carpenter following the game.
To many, this is a huge surprise. Most thought that Philly would cruise their way by St. Louis and onto a second World Series win in 4 years.
“I know that we’re capable of going farther in the playoffs,” said manager Charlie Manuel. ” Our goal was to get to the world series. It’s been that way for two years now.”
This year’s NLCS will be a rematch of the 1982 World Series, back when the Brewers were an American League team. The Cardinals won in 7 games. The Brewers have never made a World Series before or since.