posted on October 22, 2012 09:00
Warning: If you’ve come here looking to have your Cardinals spirits heightened, for an ounce of “feel good” or a red, foam “#1” finger tickling your prostate while I jerk you off with my free hand, put down the mouse and step away from the computer.
My pessimism is well noted and I also tend to live in what I view is obvious, if not wrong. And, unfortunately, my view now is that this series was lost on Friday night when a pitcher did anything BUT stand like a statue with the bat on his fucking shoulder in a rally-killing second inning, caromed a double play throw off of 2nd-base a few innings later and his teammates flailed away at 84-MPH junk from a Wiffleball pitcher for the other team like he was suddenly Sandy fucking Koufax.
When that game ended with a thud, and even with a 3-2 series lead yet, you watched the momentum swing and I felt the odds were firmly now in the San Francisco Giants’ hands. St. Louis WILL lose their bid to return to their 2nd-consecutive World Series on Monday night and it won’t have anything to do with Kyle Lohse.
Believe me, I HATE typing that shit. Part of me is hoping for some pessimistic mojo to take hold and reverse the fortune and the other part of me completely believes it’s over. But EVERY BIT of me hopes I’m absolutely wrong and you can all direct your venom and hate mail at me come Tuesday morning. I’d honestly like nothing more than that.
You can read of jugglers, statistics, hope and ice-cream cones on 9-different sites and from 33-different columnists Monday morning and, on a different note, you can listen to the same bullshit out of an incumbent’s mouth on Monday night, in lieu of Game-7, if you’re so inclined.
As I alluded to earlier, I have all the faith in Kyle Lohse in this game, why wouldn’t I? And while I can’t lose respect for a team that pulled off another unbelievable act of resiliency this postseason, I don’t have faith in an offense that has so often displayed this stubbornness and tendency toward long stretches of ineptitude all season long. Mired in a funk now of 1-run scored in their last 19-innings, they’re actually a Matt Carpenter homerun away from already being eliminated and even more futility, with the exception of Thursday night’s outburst.
When they succeed, it’s due to hardnosed, “grind it out” at bats, going with the pitch and forcing a mistake from the opposing hurler. When they don’t, they’re stubborn, refuse to make adjustments and give the pitcher all he wants. Ryan Vogelsong is good, no goddamned question about that, but Barry Zito carving you up like a piece of “Dexter” artwork is inexcusable and will prove costly, in my less than humble opinion.
The Cardinals won’t admit it, but they’re tight. You can see it in their defensive play, their manager and even their starting pitching, which I never thought I’d say. Lance Lynn should NEVER have been allowed to swing the bat on Friday night with the bases juiced and 1-out in the second. This was not on him, but on Jose Oquendo or higher up. A conversation was had with his 3rd-base coach and somehow, the action of doing ANYTHING that could result in the worst possible outcome of the double-play was not discussed. You stand there, bat on shoulder, and hope for a walk. Otherwise, you take your strikeout and return to the dugout, putting some pressure on your leadoff hitter to deliver a big hit.
This is not “armchair quarterbacking” or second guessing – this should be basic chess play in a critical playoff game. You can never argue the “what would’ve happened” shit, but you can’t mistake the momentum swing in that stadium. It was all over but the crying after that, and especially after the fielding Olympics of 2-innings later. If they do pull this off, Lance Lynn has GOT to be out of this rotation. Thanks for the season, and they wouldn’t be there without you, but you’ve got to earn the sack for those situations and that takes more time with some than others.
Game-7 will lie strictly in the hands of the Cardinal offense and that’s how it fucking should be. Everybody has had to hear all year about their big numbers and gaudy statistics, only to watch them fail on the national stage, looking lost and to have Nerf bats in their hands. I loathe adages and clichés, but it’s “put up or shut up” time. Pitching has rescued them enough this season, it’s time to take the pressure off for a change. And nobody deserves to be on the happy end of a Giant offensive beat-down more than Kyle Lohse for the season he’s had and the “no-decisions” and loss of Cy Young potential this offense has hung on him.
This feels eerily similar to the Atlanta Braves comeback from the 3-1 deficit in the 1996 NLCS, right down to the anal tongue-bath by Joe Buck, who seems to overdo it in making certain nobody can accuse him of having a bias toward his hometown. I wish it didn’t feel this way but I live in the here and now.
Again, I hope to fuck I’m wrong and I’m more than willing to field your hatred and jabs if it means this column was worth even less than it usually is. I’ll be that guy and fall on the sword like Hillary in Benghazi – its heroic goddamned it!
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