posted on October 20, 2011 01:00
World Series: Game One Thoughts And Rambling Observations
-Three most important developments of Game One:
1. The Cardinals win
2. Chris Carpenter is right
3. Fox now has an infrared camera...for some reason
-In a pleasantly shocking development, 99% of you didn't attack me for my prediction of Rangers in Five...and in an even more pleasant development, a thread on STLToday.com's Cards Talk Forum was started bitching about the show and The Lesbian Kiss-Off For World Series Tickets...and the show was defended and complimented.
Patriots, are we evolving?
Whatever it is, I like it.
Also, I would like to go back to my column from yesterday...and I quote:
On the other hand...
...if Carpenter is firing like he did for much of the last six weeks, I would immediately like to be able to alter my pick. I think the National League ballpark factor works in the Cardinals' favor in a way that many wouldn't expect to be that big of a deal.
If you're so kind, please allow me to use my "out" card that I wrote about yesterday here: "If Chris Carpenter is firing like he did for much of the last six week, I would immediately like to be able to alter my pick."
Just like the Cardinals beating Cliff Lee in Game Two of the NLDS, Carpenter dealing like he did is a series-changer.
I didn't know what was wrong with Carpenter, but something wasn't right in Game Three against the Brewers. It was my fear that that would carry over---or get worse---against the much better Ranger lineup.
But...no. That did not happen. Quite lovely.
And, my gut feeling that we'd know if Carpenter was right or not early on in the game was also wrong. Why? Because early on, he looked bad. Not Shaun Marcum bad...but rather he fell behind 2-0 to the first four hitters he faced. Very Un-Good-Carpenter-like. As a matter of fact, when he pwnd Philadelphia in Game Five of the NLDS, he was ahead of the first six hitters he faced and eight out of nine.
But, Carpenter settled in...and he kept that Texas lineup in check.
Even if the Cardinals would've lost last night, it still would've been a big picture positive---in my opinion---because you "knew" Carpenter was right.
-The Cardinal bullpen. Yep.
-I don't know if I like Octavio Dotel more for his constant carrying of the stuffed squirrel at celebrations...or for the fact that somehow he dominates great hitters in the playoffs. Sure, he may look like he's shitfaced when he attempts to field a bunt, but he can flat-out make Ryan Braun, Ian Kinsler, and Elvis Andrus look helpless...somehow.
-Speaking of being confused...and referencing the italicized part of my column from yesterday that I have above...Ron Washington confuses me.
One more time...so you don't have to scroll up:
I think the National League ballpark factor works in the Cardinals' favor in a way that many wouldn't expect to be that big of a deal.
That was a reference to Ron Washington having to adjust to the National League game...and that being an advantage for the Cardinals. If you don't think a manager can fuck things up, visit some Brewer message boards and type "Marcum" or "Kotsay" in the search engine.
But, man...Ron Washington managed that game like he had watched ESPN afternoon programming and subscribed to the gospel according to Skip Bayless.
-IBB to Nick Punto in the 4th to bring up Chris Carpenter? Sure, you get Carpenter to likely end the inning...but then you have the top of the order to start the next inning. With all due respect to Nick Punto...what the hell?
-IBB to Albert Pujols---not even unintentional intentional---in that very next inning to put another baserunner on free of charge in a 2-2 game...with Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman, and David Freese coming up? That move gets even more scrutiny if Holliday's rocket isn't directly at Adrian Beltre. I loved seeing him do that...and if he keeps it up, I'm telling you...he's going to get burned.
-And, the move that Joe Buck first-guessed on the broadcast and had many Rangers' fans going..."what the hell:" Esteban German pinch hitting in a key situation...when he hadn't hit since September 25th. And...with Yorvit Torrealba ready and on the bench. Two outs. Tying run at second. Go-ahead run at first. And, Washington goes with German...for some reason. And, German K's.
Washington seems like a great guy...and all indications are that his players love him. Jason Isringhausen played for him when Washington was a coach with the Mets and A's, and Izzy said on The ITD Morning After that players love him. But, Washington has managed three World Series games in National League parks, and he's now 0-3...and his moves were questionable before they even played out. Something to keep an eye on tonight...and if the World Series comes back to St. Louis for Games Six and maybe Seven.
-Back to Carpenter. I was going to tweet this...but I wasn't sure if I was being ultraparanoid. Turns out I wasn't...but I didn't tweet it, so you'll just have to take my word for it. When Carpenter was shown during pre-game introductions, the cameras happened to catch him throwing a curve ball in the bullpen...and he winced. I thought..."Oh, fuck." That, combined with falling behind 2-0 on the first four hitters, and I thought he was doomed. Glad I was wrong.
But, verifying my suspicion, Carpenter only threw seven curve balls of his 87 pitches. In Game Five of the NLDS, he threw 30. Great analysis by Cal Eldred on the Fox Sports Post-Game Show in which he broke that whole thing down. Carpenter may be hurting...but it's the curve that's causing him the most pain. He wasn't able to use that pitch that he gets guys biting on in the dirt with two strikes...and he was still able to keep a damn good lineup in check.
-Carpenter may be healthy enough...but I wonder about Josh Hamilton. He doesn't look like the guy baseball fans are used to seeing. That groin injury may be a bigger factor than he's letting on.
-Man...that Ranger lineup is really relentless, and that makes the Cardinal pitching performance even more impressive. Kinsler, Andrus, Hamilton, Young, Beltre, Cruz, Napoli, and Murphy. As good as Braun and Prince Fielder are, that Ranger lineup is top to bottom sick. And, the Cardinals held them to two runs. Damn.
-I introduced this on the show yesterday, and I was immediately mocked. I'm not now saying that this theory is accurate...but maybe there's something to the cold working to the Cardinals---or to be more broad, the pitchers'---favor. Maybe not. But, it's not like Texas even had many hard outs. And, Lance Lynn didn't even have to get used. He's ready to go tonight.
-Maybe this is an official jinx...because I expressed my fears about Carpenter...but I'm confident in Jaime Garcia at home. Carpenter's start---combined with the lovely plus of a victory---really could/should help Garcia even more...because there isn't the pressure that would've existed had Carpenter sucked and/or the Cardinals lost. Keep an eye on Garcia out of the gate. This is one that is as surefire of a tell as Teddy KGB and his oreos (obscure Rounders reference): if Garcia's getting ahead of hitters, he's on. If he's not, good night. La Russa won't let him flop around out there again. He proved that in Game Five of the NLCS.
-Here's a statistic you won't see anywhere else: When The ITD Morning After gives away World Series tickets to two women for making out in the studio during the show, the Cardinals are 1-0 in World Series games. We had two lasses---real-life lesbians, I tell you---just get after it in studio yesterday [VIDEO]. As their reward, they received two World Series tickets. We're going back to that well today with two new ladies for girl-on-girl action. It's a service to The City. And, I wear sweatpants to work.
-Game ball to the crowd behind the ESPN set beyond the left field stands where Ballpark Village is supposed to be. They had the Nyjer Morgan chant going out of nowhere. Man, fuck that guy. How classic is it that he jacked around on fly balls so badly in Game Two that they had to go with Mark Kotsay in Game Three...then Kotsay butchers defense in that game...and then The Journeyman gets back in the game in Game Five with a pinch hitting appearance and grounds into a double play. Finally, in Game Six, he's yanked early on. Now, fresh off his .167 batting average in the NLCS, the future AAAA Royal/Pirate/Astro/Padre/Buttass Organization player who taunted fans in St. Louis while he was jacking around is sitting at home and getting taunted while the Cardinals win a World Series game. AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
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