So the team that was 10.5 games out of the Wild Card in late August, who had to beat the team with the best regular season record in the NLCS, who were down to their last strike 2 times in Game 6 – have somehow survived all of that to win the World Series. Texas, on the other hand, join the 1986 Red Sox in infamy – who have lost two straight World Series and must fear being the new Buffalo Bills – who lost four straight Superbowls in the early 90s. Baseball is now over for 6 months – thanks to all who read along tonight – congratulations all St. Louis Cardinals fans.
Last night’s game 6 proved that you cannot rest until the final out has been achieved, so the Cardinals will not be thinking they have won it before they record three more outs. Jason Motte is the man charged with getting those outs – the hard throwing right handed closes for St. Louis. He gets Nelson Cruz to fly out to center field – two outs away. Mike Napoli is the next batter, meanwhile Fox show Nolan Ryan looking very glum, which would be more entertaining if this was in Texas and former President Bush 43 was alongside him. Napoli grounds out to third base and Texas, like St. Louis were twice last night, are down to their final out. David Murphy is the man with the Rangers’ whole season in his hands – he flies out to left field and it’s game over, World Series over – the St. Louis Cardinals are the 2011 World Series Champions!
Bottom of the 8th – Nick Punto pinch hits in the pitcher’s spot, with Motet getting ready to enter the game in the 9th for the Cardinals, but flies out to center for the first out. Theriot makes it and 0 for 5 night for himself with a strike out looking, and Craig comes up – if he gets on base Pujols will have another at bat – we have to wait to find out as Gonzalez injured himself on a pitch and so is pulled out of the game for Alexi Ogando to come in. He gets that rarest of lines – 1 pitch thrown, 1 strike out – end of the inning.
Top of the 8th – Lynn is in to pitch for the Cardinals and wastes no time as he gets Hamilton to ground out, followed by Young popping out to Pujols, then strikes out Beltre for a 1-2-3 inning.
Bottom of the 7th – the Cardinals have Pujols, Berkman and Freese due up this inning, so will be looking to pad their 5-2 lead, needing just six outs for their 11th World Series Championship – the most in the National League and second only to the
Yankees (who have 27) in all of baseball. If they do win, I think it will be between Berkman and Freese for the series MVP – with my vote going to the home town boy, David Freese. This time, it really could be Pujols last at bat as a Cardinal, and he is facing Mike Adams who is in to pitch for the Texas Rangers – and he ruins this potentially storybook ending by striking him out. Pujols has had 11 fantastic seasons with the Cardinals – his stats read: .328 average, 445 Home Runs, 3 MVPs, a World Series victory in 2006, with another one potentially on the way tonight. Back to the game and Berkman somehow has an infield hit, despite looking older and more portly than someone you would expect to be able to beat out a soft grounder to short. Freese is up next, and he walks to give two on with one out. Molina smacks one up the middle and scores Berkman from second with an RBI single. Texas 2, St. Louis 6. Furcal bats next for St. Louis – he grounds out to first, moving the runners to second and third. That’s the end of Adams’s night, as Washington calls Michael Gonzalez in from the bullpen to face Schumaker – and he strikes him out to end the 7th inning.
Three innings to go of the 2011 season – unless Texas can come back and force extra frames. Quick predictions for some of the bigger stories of the offseason: CC Sabbathia will opt out of his contract, but re-sign with the Yankees for more years and more money. Pujols will sign with either the Cubs or the Red Sox, who seem to collect first basemen. In this game, Carpenter gives up a ground rule double to Murphy to lead off the 7th, which is enough to get La Russa to jump out of the dugout and call for the former Rangers pitcher, Arthur Rhodes, out of the bullpen. Good performance by Carpenter – he’s in line for the win if the Cardinals stay in the lead for 9 more outs. Torrealba is the first batter Rhodes will face, pinch hitting for CJ Wilson – he flies out to center field for the first out of the seventh inning. Turns out that’s all Rhodes will be doing as St. Louis go back to the bullpen to call on Octavio Dotel, who will face Kinsler – the Rangers lead off man who has not been retired yet tonight. That changes now though, as Dotel strikes him out swinging for the second out. Elvis Andrus is up next, and he hits a 3-1 pitch to the center fielder to end the inning.
Bottom of the 6th – turns out I may have been premature in talking up Carpenter’s performance, he stays in the game to bat and
grounds out to second base – but that means he will be coming out to at least start the 7th inning. Theriot’s futile night at the plate continues as he moves to 0 for 4 with a fly ball to the center fielder for the second out and then Craig strikes out to end the inning. Texas 2, St. Louis 5
I just found out that the guy who sung the National Anthem actually was on American Idol, which I did not know when I made my Simon Cowell jibe (7:55pm) – I guess he just had that aura. Top of the 6th – probably Carpenter’s last inning as he would be due up first in the bottom of the inning. He gets Beltre on a groundball back to the pitcher for the first out, then sees Cruz rip one deep to left field: it is high, it is far, it is…CAUGHT! Craig reaches up above the fence and snares the ball to take a home run away from Cruz – fantastic fielding – two outs. A fly ball to right field from Napoli ends the inning – and Carpenter has recovered from a rocky first inning to give a quality start – 6IPs, 5H, 2ER, 2BB 5K.
Bottom of the fifth – Feldman is in to pitch for the Rangers and, for the third time tonight, Theriot leads off the inning – this one is no better than the first two as he grounds out to move to 0 for 3. Craig, who homered last time up, as well as in game 6, is up next and he walks to give Pujols one on with one out in the inning. St. Louis’s star first baseman is hit with an inside pitch by Feldman; so now the left-handed Berkman is up, and he has two men on base ahead of him. Lance Berkman grounds out to first, who tosses the ball to Feldman for the second out – the runners advanced to second and third. The Rangers want nothing to do with David Freese and issue him an intentional walk to load the bases – they will take their chances against Yadier Molina instead. After 3 straight balls, Feldman gets the count full to 3-2, but the strategy of intentionally walking Freese backfires as the next pitch is outside and it’s a bases loaded walk. Texas 2, St. Louis 4 – and that is it for Feldman as Ron Washington calls for CJ Wilson to come in from the bullpen to face Furcal with the bases still loaded. With his very first pitch, Wilson hits Furcal to force in another run. Texas 2, St. Louis 5. So this inning has been Single, Hit by Pitch, Ground Out, Intentional Walk, Walk, Hit by Pitch – two runs scored on one hit. That’s the amount of the damage though, as Wilson strikes out Schumaker to end the inning.
Is it just me, or are the ad breaks a couple of minutes longer than usual for this game? Top of the fifth – Kinsler hits a single, he’s now 2 for 2 with a walk tonight. There is a game of cat and mouse going on as the runner is looking to try and steal, the batter, Andrus, is showing bunt and Carpenter is throwing to first. The mouse (?) wins as Andrus lays down a good bunt to advance Kinsler to second, bringing Hamilton to the plate with one on and one out – he hits one up and behind third base, which Freese reaches into the Texas dugout to catch for the second out. Carpenter then strikes out Michael Young and is now eligible to be the pitcher of record, having got through 5. Texas 2, St. Louis 3
Bottom of the fourth – that man David Freese is up first, but the Rangers get the better of him this time around as he grounds out. Molina then rips a single to center field, followed by Furcal hitting one to right field – setting the Cardinals up with runners on first and second with one out. Schumaker is up next, last time around he grounded into a double play, this time he accounts for just one out as he hits a ground ball to first, advancing the runners to second and third. The pitcher, Carpenter is up next though – so Texas will be confident of getting out of this inning with no runs added to the Cardinals’ lead – and they do as Carpenter flies out to right. Four innings completed: Texas 2, St. Louis 3.
Top of the fourth – Carpenter strikes out Napoli with three straight curve balls, then gets Murphy to ground out to Pujols at first. Matt Harrison is staying in the game, despite CJ Wilson still warming up in the Texas bullpen, and he strikes out to end the inning.
Bottom of the third – Theriot leads off and flies out to right field for the first out, which brings up Allen Craig. He works the count full and then hits one deep to right field…it is high, it is far, it is…GONE! Texas 2, St. Louis 3. Pujols is the next batter – on a 1-2 pitch he hits a foul ball behind first base which Michael Young gets a glove on but does not catch – but grounds out to third on the next pitch and there are two outs. Lance Berkman hits a ball sharply to the right of the first baseman, but Young dives and catches it to end the inning.
Top of the third – I was a little surprised the Cardinals manager, Tony La Russa, left Carpenter in to bat in the last half inning, given that he seems to have nowhere near his best stuff tonight. Carpenter gets Josh Hamilton to ground out to Shortstop, strikes out Michael Young in an attempt to prove me wrong, but then hits Beltre with a pitch to put him on first – before a fly ball to left by Cruz, ends the inning.
Bottom of the second and Furcal, who has been really struggling at the plate this postseason, is up first for the Cardinals, and he hits a single, but that is quickly wiped out as Schumaker grounds into a double play. Carpenter is up next and he strikes out on three pitches – after two, it’s all square at 2-2.
Top of the second – Mike Napoli is up first for the Rangers, who would probably be the MVP of the World Series should Texas win (something Joe Buck then says just after I typed it – making me consider deleting it, but oh well). He singles to left field – up next: David Murphy who attempts to bunt, but Carpenter fires to second to get Napoli and there is one out, with still a man on first base. The pitcher’s spot is up next so Harrison is at the plate and he is showing bunt to try to advance the runner – and he does exactly that. So Murphy is on second base and there are now two outs; Kinsler up for the Rangers who walks on four pitchers – it really looks like Carpenter is struggling with command, pitching on short rest for just the second time in his career (the first time was in the ALDS against the Phillies earlier this post-season, and he did not last long that night). Molina tries to throw out Kinsler at first base, and would have done if Pujols had managed to catch the ball – but no harm is done as Andrus grounds out to the pitcher for the third out.
Bottom of the first, Matt Harrison pitching for the Rangers. Theriot grounds out to second base for the first out, followed by Allen Craig flying out to center field. That brings up Albert Pujols, probably playing his final game for St. Louis, as he is a free agent after today’s game and will then sign for the Yankees who will spend Spring Training teaching him to play right field (well, I can dream). Harrison does not give him anything near a strike and Pujols is on first with a four pitch walk, but now he has to face Lance Berkman, who has been the best Cardinals hitter this series. Unable to find his location, Harrison walks Berkman too, giving last night’s hero, hometown boy David Freese, an opportunity with two men on base and two outs. Once again, Freese comes through big and hits a game-tying two run double to center field on a full count. Texas 2, St. Louis 2. The Rangers are not wasting any time and have CJ Wilson warming up in the bullpen, unsure if Harrison is going to be effective tonight. He will not be needed in the first inning however, as Molina drives one deep but Hamilton catches it on the warning track for the third out.
And we’re off. Top of the first, Chris Carpenter (pitching on three days’ rest) on the mound for the Cardinals. The leadoff batter, Ian Kinsler, gets on with a hard hit single to left field – he is quickly taken care of though as he is picked off trying to steal second and there is one out. Carpenter has control issues, it seems, and the next batter, Elvis Andrus, draws a walk – giving Josh Hamilton an opportunity to do some damage with a runner on base. He does exactly that, an RBI double scores Andrus from first – Texas 1, St. Louis 0. That brings us our first shot of a super-excited Ron Washington celebrating the run – and he immediately gets to celebrate another one as Michal Young hits another RBI double to score Hamilton from second base. Texas 2, St. Louis 0. Carpenter strikes out Beltre on three pitches for the second out of the inning – but there is a chance the Rangers batters have figured him out, given this is the third time they’re facing him in the last 10 days. He gets out of the inning with no further damage as he gets Cruz to ground out to third base.
The most cringeworthy pre-game ceremony of this post-season goes to the Texas Rangers who, before their first game against
the Rays in the ALDS, brought out the son and widow of the guy
Josh Hamilton killed by underthrowing a foul ball who tragically fell to his death trying to catch a foul ball, for the first pitch – which the boy threw to Hamilton. It seemed emotionally manipulative at the time and must have been hard for the kid and his mother.
The National Anthem is sung by Chris Daughtry – who I have never heard of but has apparently been nominated for a Grammy – he really belts it out and I think Simon Cowell will put him through to the next round.
I’m a huge Packers fan and love Aaron Rodgers – but that State Farm commercial is on the precipice of becoming the most overplayed and annoying thing on television.
AJ Pierzynski is one of the analysts on Fox tonight and he somehow manages to combine really interesting comments with dull delivery and shows absolutely zero charisma. He looks like he is reading an auto-cue but I think he is actually ad libbing. Complete contrast is Rangers manager Ron Washington, who wears his heart on his sleeve and celebrates every run he scores like a little kid – jumping up and down. If I did not want Texas to win (for reasons stated here), I would enjoy seeing him if the Rangers won it all.
In order to see updates you will need to manually refresh the page by hitting F5 or refresh (sorry it’s not auto!). Lineups are in:
Texas (No DH as game is in National League stadium)
1. Kinsler 2B
2. Andrus SS
3. Hamilton CF
4. Young 1B
5. Beltre 3B
6. Cruz RF
7. Napoli C
8. Murphy LF
9. Harrison P
1. Theriot 2B
2. Craig LF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Berkman RF
5. Freese 3B
6. Molina C
7. Furcal SS
8. Schumaker CF
9. Carpenter P
I’ll be covering the winner-takes-all Game 7 of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers – first pitch is scheduled for 8pm ET tonight. If you have a comment or question relating to the game, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The fact that this game is even happening is because of the never-say-die attitude the Cardinals once again showed in Game 6. Tonight’s pitching matchup is likely to be between Matt Harrison of the Rangers – who started game 3, which Texas lost 16-7 – and Chris Carpenter for St. Louis – he pitched 7 innings in game 5, giving up 2 runs for a no decision in a Cardinals 4-2 loss. There has been no official announcement from St. Louis that Carpenter will be starting, Edwin Jackson and Kyle Lohse are also possible, though neither have been impressive in this postseason. The Cardinals will also be without left fielder Matt Holliday, who injured his hand diving back to third base when he was picked off in the 6th inning last night. Texas will be trying to fight off the doubts that will come from having twice been one strike away from winning the World Series in game 6, only to end up being forced into a game 7. The Red Sox in 1986 and the Cubs in 2003 can pay testament to how difficult it is to come back from a rough game 6 loss – plus Texas main offensive threat, Josh Hamilton, has been struggling with a groin injury, although that did not prevent him hitting a two run home run in the 10th last night which should have finished off the Cardinals for good.
While the game might not be as dramatic as last night’s, someone will win the World Series tonight – join me to find out if that will be Texas or St. Louis.