Old School Players Beat New School Fools

-I believe that's a lyric from an Outkast song, but I could be wrong. I'm a short, white kid from South St. Louis. Give me latitude.

-I am certain of the origin of this:

Where still n 1st and I hope those crying birds injoy watching tha Crew in tha Playoffs!!! Aaaaahhhhh!!!

That comes from Nyjer Morgan on September 7th. He's a shitty prognosticator...and an even shittier outfielder. Way to hit the cut-off man in the first. Way to field the ball in Game Two. And, nice work on the .167 average.

Enjoy the World Series this week. Enjoy obscurity next year.

-Rare that a series plays out how you think it's going to play out. But, the Cardinals winning this series in relatively simple fashion wasn't that big of a surprise. I know nationally few picked the Cardinals against the Brewers, but when you looked at the way Milwaukee's starting pitching was going heading into this series, you had a good feeling the Cardinals were going to be able to put up some runs. This thing could've/should've been over in five games. The Brewers' record was padded by dominating bad teams...and struggling against good ones. And, Greinke, Marcum, and Wolf had been pitching terribly. On top of it, the Cardinals had, for the most part, dominated the ace of the Brewer staff, Yovani Gallardo. The match-ups favored the Cardinals, and they won a pretty "undramatic" series with relative ease.

-Of course, it looked "relatively easy," because the bullpen made it look so easy. Without them, the Cardinals wouldn't have been in a position to blow the Brewers out in three of the four wins...and hold on to their victory in Game Three. Here are some numbers put together by Fox Sports Midwest on the Cardinal bullpen in the NLCS:

Record: 3-0

IP: 28.2

IP/Game: 4.78

Earned Runs: 6

ERA: 1.88

Opp Avg: .155

WHIP: .800

Inherited Runners Scored: 2

And what about Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder against the Cardinal bullpen? 5 for 28, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 6K

-On the other hand, here are the batting averages for the NLCS of the Cardinal middle of the order:

Pujols: .478

Berkman: .300

Holliday: .435

Freese: .545

Just ridiculous.

-If I were a columnist/sports talk show host in Milwaukee, I'd be all over Ron Roenicke for starting Shaun Marcum in Game Six. Indefensible. The guy was done. Absolutely done. And, Roenicke trots him out there to start an elimination game. He put his team behind 4-0, and he was gone after one inning. I was shocked he stuck with the decision to go with Marcum, but I'm glad he did. Outside of leaving Garcia in too long during Game One, La Russa outmaneuvered Roenicke throughout this series. It honestly looked like the Brewer manager was in over his head.

-Great images from the Cardinal post-game:

Third place: Octavio Dotel running around with his new friend...a stuffed squirrel. He had it in Philadelphia, and he was spotted holding it and making an odd "squirrel noise" as the team waited for Carpenter to come in off the field after beating the Phillies. Good to see it back in Milwaukee.

Second place: A St. Louisan (Kyle McClellan) pouring Budweiser on a St. Louisan (David Freese) in celebration of being awarded the MVP in an interview by a St. Louisan (Matt Winer).

First place: Nick Punto ripping open Jimmy "The Cat" Hayes' shirt on Fox Sports Midwest's post-game show. So hot.

-(Not-so) Fun With Weather Forecasts: From KSDK's Mike Roberts on their coverage and extended Sports Plus:

Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
52 degrees and partly cloudy

Wednesday night at 10 p.m.
46 degrees and partly cloudy

Thursday night at 7 p.m.
50 degrees and partly cloudy

Thursday night at 10 p.m.
45 degrees and partly cloudy

-Projecting the rotation:

This is my guess:

Game One Wednesday October 19th: Carpenter

Game Two Thursday October 20th: Garcia

Game Three Saturday October 22nd: Jackson

Game Four Sunday October 23rd : Lohse

Game Five Monday October 24th: Carpenter

Game Six Wednesday October 26th: Garcia

Game Seven Thursday October 27th: Jackson

I do think if the Cardinals were in an elimination situation...depending on his start Wednesday night...La Russa would consider going to Carpenter in Game Four Sunday. And, if he were to pitch in Game Four...then he could theoretically pitch in Game Seven. As much as I loathe short rest starts, I'm not sure I feel too good about having Edwin Jackson or Kyle Lohse out there if the World Championship were on the line in a Game Seven. Either way, barring a miracle, Chris Carpenter pitches twice in this series and gets the ball to open up the series at Busch Stadium. And, while I know many people cringe at the idea of Jaime Garcia, I like having him on the mound at home. And, this rotation allows him to get both of his starts at Busch.

-Fun facts for know and tell:

-The Cardinals were in the World Series in 1985, 1987, 2004, and 2006. But, this is the first time they will have home-field advantage since 1982...when they defeated the Brewers.

-We were going to get married on October 22nd, but on the off chance the Cardinals made it to the World Series, we decided to move it to November. Good call.

-When I was down at Spring Training and steps away from the out-of-nowhere press conference announcing Adam Wainwright's Tommy John Surgery, I contacted Anna-Marie and said we could probably move the wedding back to October 22nd. Bad call.

-St. Louisan Joe Buck will be on the call of the World Series while St. Louisan Ron Kulpa will umpire his first World Series. I imagine the cries of bias will be ringing throughout Texas this week.

-From the hindsight department:

-I'm glad the Cardinals traded Kent Bottenfield and Adam Kennedy to Anaheim...because that led to getting David Freese.

-I'm glad the Cardinals decided not to trade Lance Berkman to Texas in the last week of August. It would've made this week awkward.

-I'm glad that the Cardinals and Mets were rain delayed on the day of The Ninth Inning From Hell. Remember that? It was September 22nd. The Cardinals have lost six games since then. Well, anyway, that was the deadline for Cardinal playoff tickets to be purchased for season ticketholders. Because they were leading comfortably, I decided to
go ahead and buy them...even though it didn't look like there was a great shot of them getting in. Had that game not been rain delayed---and knowing how psychotic I am---I wouldn't have bought the tickets after the Cardinals blew the monster lead and fell two games back of the Braves with six to play.

And, finally...

The Cardinal organization and this City are so fortunate to have each other. There's a passion for baseball in St. Louis that is not duplicated anywhere else. Cardinal baseball is to St. Louis what football is to Green Bay. As the baseball team goes...the town goes. And, even though there was a 17 year drought between World Series from 1987 to 2004, fans still packed Busch Stadium more often than not. Since 2000, this organization has been in the playoffs eight of 11 years...and, nearly as amazing, it's been competitive every year. Now, they'll head to their third World Series in seven years.

So much credit to the ownership, the front office, the manager, the coaching staff, the roster, and the fan base for making something possible so often...that seems like a fantasy in most other baseball cities.

I don't care to attempt to speak for anyone else but myself, but as a fan of the game of baseball, and as a lifelong fan of the Cardinals, it's great fortune to have one of the best owners, general managers, managers, players, pitchers, and fan bases all right here in St. Louis.

Log-in to post your comments, or you can email me at tmckernan@insidestl.com.

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# afanger
Monday, October 17, 2011 8:26 AM
Such a feel good article!

I am thrilled to take down the huge favorites in Philly, and the D Bag outfit in Milwaukee. It has been an awesome ride.

But now we have to take down an American league lineup that matches or beats ours. I don't think Philly or Milwaukee have the bats that Texas does.

I am worried that we just won our "World Series" in the NLCS..... I hope I am wrong. I know they are going to fight, but don't think any further mistakes will be excused by the opponents.
Mike in South City
# Mike in South City
Monday, October 17, 2011 8:41 AM
from a Milwaukee newspaper: "The Cardinals are not only a model of year-to-year consistency, but one that, under manager Tony La Russa, has become the envy of the NL.

The Cards have missed the playoffs only four times since 2000. They've advanced to the NLCS on seven occasions and have now clinched a third trip to the World Series.

That makes the Cardinals -- not the Phillies, not the Red Sox, not even the Yankees -- the only team able to boast that many trips to the Fall Classic since '04."
# mike8585
Monday, October 17, 2011 10:03 AM
Milwaukee looked happy just to be there. Also starting Marcum reminded me of when we use to trot Mulder out there. You knew what was going to happen. Won't ever get any easier than that series!!
# wirbndr
Monday, October 17, 2011 3:51 PM
I don't know what surprises me more, the fact that the Cardinals are in the WS, or that you plan your weddings around playoff baseball!!!

I've been saying for weeks that this seems like a team of destiny, they are so loose, the hitters are all coming around, the bullpen is amazing, I am not overly fearful of Texas and I don't think our players are either!

Who would have thought we would still be talking baseball in October???
Tim McKernan
# Tim McKernan
Monday, October 17, 2011 4:01 PM
I feared being the asshole who had a wedding on the day of a World Series game, so we wanted to make sure we didn't do that. Instead, I'm just the asshole.
# mzu-fan
Monday, October 17, 2011 8:56 PM
After making my second trip to Green Bay for the Rams' game yesterday and getting a chance to get an inside tour of Lambeau Saturday, I could not agree more with your comparison of Pack and Cards fans.

The teams are the end all, be all.

It boils down to success on the field. Both teams are closely scrutinized, but have more wiggle room with their fan base thanks to the loyaly factor than any other organization in their respective sports.

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