Pujols has historical World Series Game 3

October 23, 2011

I know I said that I’m cheering for the Rangers in the 107th World Series. But that doesn’t mean I’m not impressed by something a certain Cardinals player did today.

Some guy named Albert Pujols had a three-home run, five-hit, six RBI game today in the third game of the World Series- a 17-6 blowout Cardinals win over the Rangers. This was arguably the best World Series game of all time for a single player, as those three homers, five hits, and six RBI haven’t been done since Reggie Jackson- AKA Mr. October- did in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series.

Pujols’ first homer came in the fifth inning off flamethrowing right-hander Alexi Ogando. He gave Pujols a 96 MPH fastball practically over his head, but Pujols wasn’t having any of that- he turned on it extremely quickly and pulled it into the left field seats for a three-run blast.

The second homer came off of left-handed specialist Michael Gonzalez- note that he’s a left-handed specialist– and it was to dead center field.

The third one also came off a left-handed specialist, this time veteran Darren Oliver.

If for some reason you don’t know what a left-handed specialist is, it’s a pitcher whose primary duty is to get out tough left-handed hitters. So that’s what confuses me about this. Why did Ron Washington leave in two lefty specialists- Gonzalez and Oliver- to face the best right-handed hitter in baseball? You could see both of those home runs coming before they even happened. Anyway, I have a feeling Albert will be talking to the media tonight.

But, even though I’m cheering for the Rangers, I’m slightly relieved knowing that the Brewers aren’t the only team who can’t get Pujols out. But, the Rangers apparently figured out how to get David Freese out- something the Brewers also couldn’t do.

Anyway, almost everyone in the Cards’ lineup had hits today. Rafael Furcal had one hit, Allen Craig had a home run, Pujols- actually, just read above, Matt Holliday had a hit, Lance Berkman had a pair of hits, Freese had a pair of hits and RBI, Yadier Molina had two hits and four RBI, and Ryan Theriot had a hit. The only guy who didn’t have a hit in the Cardinals’ lineup was Jon Jay- go figure. He’s having a horrible postseason. Anyway, the Cardinals also scored at least one run off of every Rangers’ pitcher.

But the clown car had yet another long and rough task today. Kyle Lohse had a typical Kyle Lohse (or you could insert the name of any other Cards starter here) start, as he completely unraveled in the fourth inning- just as he did against the Brewers in Game 4 of the NLCS. But, the clown car picked up him, like they’ve had to do so many times this postseason. Fernando Salas, Lance Lynn, Octavio Dotel, and Mitchell Boggs gave up a combined four runs, but the 16 runs of support were enough for them.

Here’s a funny story- the St. Louis Rams think they’re giving the Cardinals good luck. Haha, good one. You can read that story about the NFL team with no wins here, but I’m not buying it.

Anyway, one more thing about the game before I go- in the seventh inning, the left fielder for the Cards- Holliday- was attempting to read a fly ball that would eventually become a sacrifice fly for the Rangers. But, as Holliday was making the catch, some Rangers fan- at least I think he was a Rangers fan- threw a white ball onto the field. I don’t know if he was attempting to hit Holliday with it, but if he was, the only guy he was embarrassing was himself- his throw went nowhere. And, to top it all off, he was escorted out of the game. Nice job.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I might make some updates later if I have time, but, if not, come back tomorrow for highlights of Game 4.

Advertisements

Looking onwards to Game 3…

October 12, 2011

If you saw the Brewer game last night, you probably know why I titled this post the way I did.

A day after taking the all-important game 1 of the NLCS, the Brewers were destroyed by the Cardinals in game 2, 12-3. But, in my opinion, the Brewers didn’t lose to the Cardinals- they lost to Albert Pujols. The Machine went 4-f0r-5 with three doubles, a two-run homer, and five RBI. The only Brewers pitcher to retire Pujols was Chris Narveson, who made him ground out in the eighth inning. After that out, the Milwaukee crowd stood up and gave a standing ovation, probably with a sense of sarcasm. Anyway, two Pujols’ four hits came off struggling Brewers starter Shaun Marcum, who is in the middle of a horrible stretch.

Now, there are a couple theories as to why Marcum is having such a tough time on the mound right now. My first guess is that he’s just running out of gas, because he’s never pitched this many innings in his career. Marcum threw 200 2/3 innings this year, which was a career-high for him. If you include his two awful postseason starts, he’s thrown 209 1/3 innings. The other theory is that he’s just nervous because this is his first time in the postseason- his former team, the Blue Jays, were rarely ever contenders while he was there.

Anyway, despite this blowout game by the Cardinals, Tony La Russa still found a way to use practically every pitcher in his bullpen. He removed starter Edwin Jackson after just 4 1/3 innings because his pitch count was getting high early, and he didn’t trust Jackson to get out of a fifth inning jam. So, from there, La Russa went on to use Arthur Rhodes, Lance Lynn, Fernando Salas, Marc Rzepczynski, Mitchell Boggs, and Jason Motte. This has to be the first time I’ve seen the team on the winning side of a blowout game manage to use six relievers (seven total pitchers). Even the Brewers only had to use five pitchers, despite Marcum going just four innings. And Kameron Loe pitching one third of inning while giving up four runs (that 108.00 ERA fits him well).

Tomorrow will be a battle of aces- Yovani Gallardo (17-10, 3.52 ERA) vs. Chris Carpenter (11-9. 3.45 ERA). This should be an interesting matchup, considering neither has had much success against the opposing team. Gallardo is 1-7 with a 5.66 ERA in his career against the Cards, while Carpenter is 5-4 with a 4.67 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

By the way, Jeff Suppan is apparently going to be throwing out the first pitch before game 3. I don’t know if this is the Cardinals’ way of making fun of the Brewers, but I don’t see why they’d have any other reason to let this former bust throw out the first pitch. Anyway, if you don’t know the story of Suppan and the Brewers, well- actually, just consider yourself lucky.

Oh, and here’s another funny thing before I go- Theo Epstein is more than likely becoming the general manager of the Cubs. I let you laugh at that yourself instead of giving a long explanation. Because even I can’t explain why the Red Sox GM would want to become the Cubs GM.


A few things to note about the Cardinals

September 13, 2011

The Cardinals lost to the Pirates today, 6-5. This gives the Brewers a 6.5 game lead in the NL Central, which is big, and their magic number also falls to single digits, at long last. Anyway, Marc Rzepczynski blew the Cards’ lead and ended up taking the loss, while Fernando Salas served up the go-ahead double to Pedro Ciriaco.

But, I’m sure that Cards fans aren’t too worried about this loss, since something better happened for them today- Chris Carpenter is now guaranteed to be a Cardinal next year. And the year after. The Cardinals and Carpenter reportedly agreed to two-year extension worth $21 million, and the first year of that contract replaces his $15 million option that the Cards probably would have picked up for next year anyway. Carpenter has been pitching for the Cardinals since 2004, and owns a 93-42 record with a 3.10 ERA. He also won the 2005 Cy Young Award. Before coming to the Cards, Carpenter wasn’t having any success with his old team, the Blue Jays, going 49-50 with a 4.83 ERA with them. Anyway, Carpenter is having a somewhat of a down-year this year, as he’s 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA. The ERA is respectable, but you’d expect the record to be better.

This signing pretty much defines what the Cards’ rotation will look like over the next few years. This is what it will look like (plus their numbers this year):

Adam Wainwright (Didn’t pitch in 2011)

Chris Carpenter (9-9, 3.75 ERA)

Jaime Garcia (12-7, 3.68 ERA)

Kyle Lohse (13-7, 3.62 ERA)

Jake Westbrook (12-8, 4.61 ERA)

Edwin Jackson is also in the rotation right now, but, with Wainwright returning from Tommy John Surgery next year and everyone else already signed, that pretty much forces Jackson to leave via free agency. Which is ironic, since his 3.39 ERA with the Cardinals is the best out of that entire rotation. I’m sure they’d take him over Westbrook any day, but they kind of have to keep him.

Anyway, some games to keep an eye on- the Braves are losing to the Marlins in the 12th inning, 5-4, but they have a guy on second against Leo Nunez. I guess we’ll have to wait to see how that one turns out. On the other side of the country, the Dodgers are beating the Diamondbacks, 1-0, in the fifth inning. If the D-backs lose, they’ll fall a full game behind the Brewers for the second best record in the NL. If they win, they’ll tie the Brewers for the second best. (Oh, by the way, Ted Lilly has a no-hitter going against the D-backs through 4 1/3. I probably just jinxed it, but I’m just putting that out there.)


Brewers hand win to Cardinals in series opener

August 31, 2011

This is exactly the kind of game that will not help you late in the season or in the postseason.

The Brewers fell to the Cardinals today, 2-1, in the opener of a three-game set at Miller Park. It was just the third time since the All-Star break that the Brewers lost at home, and their overall record at Miller Park is now 50-17. It was a pitchers’ duel for most of the game, but, the pitcher for the Brewers didn’t have much of a say in the turnout.

Shaun Marcum tossed a gem. Just like he did his last time out against the Pirates. But, the results were the same. Marcum took a tough luck loss, as he went seven innings while giving up two runs (none earned) on four hits. He walked three and struck out four.

And those two unearned runs were the only runs the Cards scored. They came in the fifth inning, and, to start that inning, the Brewers committed two consecutive errors. The first one was by first baseman Prince Fielder, who let a ball that should have been a routine grounder bounce through his legs, allowing Skip Schumaker to reach. The next one was a botched play by second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. He took what should have been a routine double play ball and turned it in to an embarrassing play in which the ball bounced off his chest, followed by him throwing the ball to first base like a girl. That throw allowed Rafael Furcal to reach. Both Schumaker and Furcal would come around to score on a RBI single by the pitcher, Edwin Jackson, and a sacrifice fly by Jon Jay, respectively.

But this is the one thing that drives me absolutely insane about the Brewers. They have pitching. They have offense. Both of those are extremely important aspects of the game. But, they don’t have the third aspect, which is defense. You need all of them to succeed. Having two of three doesn’t cut it. And there’s proof that they have bad defense- Casey McGehee (third base), Yuniesky Betancourt (shortstop), and Fielder (first base) all lead the league in errors at their respective position. That’s saying something.

The only other contending team I can think of that manages to get by with horrible defense is the Rangers. But, the reason they have to account for so many errors is because of their shortstop, Elvis Andrus, who leads the Majors in errors at any position. Anyway, I guess I’m losing my point here, but what I’m saying is the Brewers need to pick it up defensively if they want to go deep in the postseason.

Anyway, the only Brewers run came on a Nyjer Morgan RBI double in the sixth inning. In that same inning, the Brewers 3-4-5 combo- Ryan Braun, Fielder, and McGehee- were due up with a guy on second and no outs. So what do they do? Get retired in order by Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson and strand the baserunner. Great.

The Brewers threatened in the ninth against Cardinals closer Fernando Salas with runners on first and second with Mark Kotsay up, but he grounded into a game-ending double play. That followed a botched bunt by Betancourt that practically turned into a double play itself.

Now, I’d be more angry about this loss if the race in the NL Central were tighter. With the loss tonight, the Brewers still hold a whopping 9.5 game lead over the Cardinals in the Central, which I’m still comfortable with for now. Had the Brewers won, the Cards would have fallen to an 11.5 game deficit.

Anyway, now that I’m done venting about the Brewers’ defense, I’ll get into tomorrow’s game. The Brewers and Cardinals play the second game of this three-game set at Miller Park tomorrow night, and the Brewers will send Randy Wolf (11-8, 3.37 ERA) to the mound. Wolf’s last start against the Cardinals was great: he went eight shutout innings and was poised to toss a complete game. Anyway, Wolf is 7-7 with a 3.80 ERA against the Cards in his career.

The Cardinals will counter with Jake Westbrook (10-7, 4.75 ERA), who hasn’t really impressed me any time I’ve seen him pitch. Westbrook is 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA in his career against the Brewers, and both of those losses came this year.


Kotsay gets walk-off single in ninth as Brewers roll

August 17, 2011

9:50p The Brewers seem to find new ways to win every day nowadays, and today was no different.

Dodgers-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Dodgers again today, 2-1, to continue their winning streak, which now stands at five. The final blow came on Mark Kotsay’s walk-off single in the ninth inning off Dodgers reliever Mike MacDougal, who was struggling with his command throughout the inning, but I’ll get to that later.

The Dodgers actually struck first in the second inning against Yovani Gallardo when Aaron Miles hit a RBI single to drive in Matt Kemp. Gallardo struggled with his command early before settling in, but that was the only run he would give up. He ended up going eight innings while giving up a run on four hits. He struck out nine and walked one. This performance was uncharacteristic of Gallardo against the Dodgers, who came into today with an 0-3 record with a 10.80 ERA against them in his career. He didn’t pick up the win, unfortunately, settling for a no-decision, but that ERA probably took a large drop.

Anyway, the Brewers countered right away in the bottom of the second on Corey Hart’s RBI groundout. The game would become a pitchers’ duel and stay tied until the ninth inning.

Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley also had a good start (not as good as Gallardo’s, but still good). He went seven innings while giving up a run on four hits. He struck out five and walked two.

Following Billingsley’s good outing, however, would be a bullpen meltdown for the Dodgers. They brought in Hong-Chih Kuo, a lefty, to face Prince Fielder leading off the inning. He promptly walked Fielder, which made Dodgers manager Don Mattingly go right back to his bullpen. This time, he brought out the right-handed MacDougal, who didn’t fare much better. He gave up a hit to Casey McGehee, then walked Yuniesky Betancourt to load the bases with no outs. That set the stage for Kotsay’s second walk-off single of the year.

Kotsay comes through in the clutch again

At times throughout the year, I’ve been extremely frustrated with Kotsay. A lot of times, he falters with guys on base by striking out, hitting an easy grounder, etc., but that all seems to change whenever he bats under pressure in the ninth. Kostay already had a walk-off against Francisco Cordero and the Reds earlier this year, and a game-tying single against Cordero and the Reds as well.

Brewers winning without many runs

Over the past four games, the Brewers have scored a total of eight runs. And yet they’re 4-0 in those games. Any other year before this, they would probably have been 0-4, but, this year, the pitching is good enough to bail out the Brewers even when there’s a lack of offense.

The Brewers have also hit only three home runs over the past four games, and all three of them came last night. So that goes to show that the Brewers don’t need the long ball to win, either.

Brewers extend division lead to seven

To go along with a Brewers win tonight, the Cardinals conveniantly lost in Pittsburgh. Garrett Jones hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning off newly signed Arthur Rhodes, who has been a bust with both the Rangers and Cardinals this year. The game actually wouldn’t have even had to go to extra innings, had Fernando Salas not given up a game-tying homer to Neil Walker in the ninth. But, I guess that’s what the Cardinals get for not upgrading the back end of their bullpen at the Trade Deadline, despite the fact that was their biggest need. (And no, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski, and Arthur Rhodes don’t count as the “back end.”)

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for a series win against the Dodgers tomorrow and will send Zack Greinke (11-4, 4.08 ERA) to the mound. Greinke is on a roll since the All-Star break, and is 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA since then. He has a 5.40 ERA in five innings for his career against the Dodgers, so I don’t really know what to make of that.

The Dodgers will counter with rookie starter Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 1.64 ERA), who will be making his third Major League start. He shut out the Astros for six innings his last time out, but the Brewers will obviously be much more of a challenge. I still don’t know much about Eovaldi, so I guess we’ll have to see how he does tomorrow.