posted on October 21, 2011 01:00
World Series: Game Two Thoughts And Rambling Observations
-Two thoughts off the top of my head...as I type this moments after Rafael Furcal flied out to end the game:
1. What a brutal fucking game.
2. What a great fucking game.
But, it sure as hell feels more like the former over the latter.
-If you follow me on Twitter or listen to The ITD Morning After, you know my feelings on the bizarre-insistence on switching David Freese out of the game for Daniel Descalso. For the record, the NLCS MVP would've come up in the bottom of the 8th with runners in scoring position. Instead...it was Descalso.
-I was confused by the lavish praise thrown at La Russa after Game One. I don't know what he did that was so brilliant. He didn't do anything bad. He just didn't do anything special. And, along those lines, assuming there will be a hell of a lot of criticism thrown at him after this one, I'll hang out on my island and say I don't know what he did that was all so horrific in Game Two. The only things I have a problem with are yanking Freese and Berkman in tight games...especially before the ninth when Freese could---and would've---hit. It really is indefensible. But, he made that same move in Game One when he was being called a genius. So...the only thing that changed were the results. For my money, that's second guessing if you were praising him after Game One...when he made the exact same move with Freese.
-Really, when it gets down to it...this was just a brutal, brutal bad break game. The Kinsler hit off of Motte was a cheapy. Still counts...but it was a bad break that it dropped in (yes...I'm aware the Cardinals were playing deep...which I don't blame them for doing). The mistake of the night was on both Jon Jay and Albert Pujols on Andrus' hit. If anything...great managing by La Russa to shade Jay over to right-center right before the hit...to right-center. But, Jay's throw was shit. And, Pujols didn't cut it off. There's a monster moment.
-I've had a few people ask me about lifting Motte for Rhodes. I saw them debating it on the MLB Network on the post-game show. I don't think that move was about the Rhodes-Hamilton match-up so much as La Russa just not thinking Motte was on last night. I don't know that for sure, but it's fair to debate it, in my opinion. Could a hobbled Josh Hamilton caught up with a Motte fastball? A K there is huge...obv. But, if Motte is off and keeps getting balls up, the Rangers could put up a crooked number and bury it. That's my theory...anyway.
-Brutal by Punto not getting the bunt down. Even more brutal in the sense that he tried to get it down on pitches that were balls...and then struck out on a pitch well out of the strike zone. Perez wasn't on last night at first. Nerves. Just off. Whatever. He walked Yadier Molina after falling behind 3-0, and then he was all over the map on Punto...but Punto helped him out.
-As I'm writing this, I'm exchanging tweets with the patriots, and I'm pleasantly surprised 90% of people aren't going batshit. Man, I would completely understand it if people were. But, the perspective---which I happen to agree with---for the most part is that the Rangers earned it. It kills. But, that's the way it is...again, in my opinion. Ballsy move by Ron Washington to send Kinsler in the 9th...and in live speed, I thought he was out. But, St. Louisan Ron Kulpa made the right call. Kinsler was safe. Huge decision. Ballsy decision. Took advantage of Jason Motte's delivery being slower to the plate.
-I'm of the opinion the Cardinals would have three home runs in this series if it weren't so cold. Freese and Furcal in Game One. Pujols in the 8th last night. Doesn't mean a fucking thing...I'm just spewing random shit. I can't think of a Ranger ball that has been crushed but didn't go out. Maybe I'm missing one...but they haven't been really ripping the ball.
-Despite that, I expect the incredible baseball---in my opinion---of the first two games to take a respite over the next couple. The DH combined with the starters involved will make the games in Texas especially grueling. I hope it doesn't return to that Brewer-series style of baseball...but I'd be surprised if it didn't.
-By the way...how about Jaime Garcia last night? Just flat-out dealing. I know no one wants to think about that...but for the purpose of the series...the Cardinals got two damn good starts. If the Cardinals can get one of the next two---which I would consider toss-up games based on the match-ups---I really like their chances. As I wrote two days ago and yesterday, my view of this series and considering the Rangers the favorite was based on fearing Carpenter wasn't going to be healthy...and therefore not be "right." Assuming the Game Three start against Milwaukee was just a bad start---even though the linescore wasn't too bad---I'll enjoy his chances in Game Five. And, I had been bullish on Garcia at home from the outset. But, I didn't expect that kind of performance. By the way, even though it didn't wind up mattering, I thought La Russa handled that perfectly. Garcia started to wobble in the 7th. La Russa had Lance Lynn up and ready if another batter reached. Garcia got out of it...and Allen Craig pinch hit for him in the bottom of the inning.
-The Ninth Inning From Hell (Part Two) takes Allen Craig out of the headlines...but he did it again against Alexi Ogando...and that bat will be in there Saturday night. With a lefty on the mound for Texas, you're likely to see:
That's a hell of a top six. Obviously, the Rangers will have their big boys all ready to go, but the Cardinals are bringing the MVP of the series to date---as odd as that sounds...and as stupid as it is to even talk about at this point---off the bench into the starting lineup. And, even though many around the country don't know who the hell he is, in St. Louis, most fans are well aware of just how dangerous Craig's bat is.
-This is going to sting for awhile. If the Cardinals lose in seven---or, really, just lose---it'll kill, because even if they lose in five...who knows what twists and turns this series takes if they're up 2-0 versus going to Texas tied at 1-1. However, I'm enjoying the baseball so much that I'm looking forward to it. Now, Texas may turn into the softball league of the NLCS again...but man...I like the chances of seeing a Game Six back here. And, that atmosphere would be fucking incredible. Plus you'd have Garcia on the mound.
-The question is...if this goes seven...who in the world starts? I guess...just by pure math...it'd have to be Kyle Lohse...unless he just gets massacred tomorrow night. Then...would Jake Westbrook throw his first pitch of the playoffs...in Game Seven of the World Series?
-I'm miserable...but I'm enjoying this series. Fucking kills that they're not up 2-0. But, Texas took it. The Cardinals didn't blow it. Again...my opinion. If you disagree, it's cool. Just for the record, your counterpoints would likely lose credibility with personal attacks. But, I'd be happy to discuss it with people in the comments section.
-The bright side? Maybe...just maybe...we've seen the end of Freese getting yanked late in games. The Rangers winning it in the 9th as opposed to the game going to extra innings prevented the Cardinals from being left with one bench player (Theriot) to finish off the game...with the NLCS MVP and National League Comeback Player of The Year out of the game. I don't believe that's the reason they lost the game...but, as La Russa says, his job is to put his team in position for the best chance to win. You can't tell me David Freese and Lance Berkman on the bench gives you the best chance to win.
-Time to pop some pills. What is it about all but one of Jaime Garcia's starts this October that lead me to a pathetic night of tossing and turning?
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