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Epic Game 6, But WS Not Over

By bullpenbrian at 10.28.2011 2 comments.

This wasn’t the best game ever played in World Series history, but it’s certainly in the conversation…and near the top of the list.

And as thrilling as David Freese’s walkoff HR was, it’s not the best walkoff HR in World Series history, either. Sorry, Cards fans.

I still give the nod to Joe Carter’s series-winning shot in Game 6 against Philadelphia in 1993, and of course, the ultimate clincher belonging to Bill Mazeroski who famously homered in Game 7 to win the 1960 Fall Classic.

But right now that conversation is of no importance to the Cardinals and Rangers who face a decisive Game 7 Friday night.

I’ve begrudgingly withheld giving the Cardinals their due this postseason, but after watching them rally twice from its last strike in Game 6, I can’t avoid the music any longer. St. Louis deserved to win this game. There, I said it.

In other matters, the man I chose as the difference-maker in this series has been anything but. That being Alexi Ogando, who in the sixth walked in the tying run Thursday night to up his series ERA to 11.57.

The Cardinals have no fear of Ogando’s 100-mph heat, nor should they. On top of appearing to pitch scared, Ogando has consistently fallen behind in the count with apparently no feel for the strike zone.

We know Ogando is easily a two innings guy, as he proved during the ALCS vs. Detroit, but only once has he lasted more than one out in five appearances this series, including his 0.1 of an inning in Game 6 in which he threw four strikes vs. eight balls in route to blowing the save opportunity.

One-&-done has been the story for Ogando all series, leaving Ron Washington no choice but to pull the plug early on his flame-thrower, and that’s left a huge void in the Rangers’ bullpen.

Using Ogando in late relief was a no-brainer heading in to the series. Now I wouldn’t blame Ron Washington for leaving him in the bullpen in Game 7, which was unthinkable 10 days ago.

But the pressure of the World Series has seemingly smothered Ogando’s confidence, and ruined my prediction of Ogando being the big difference-maker for Texas.

Anyone else surprised Washington went with 41-year-old Darren Oliver instead of Feliz following Josh Hamilton’s 2-run HR to put the Rangers up 9-7 in the top of the 10th?

Yes, Feliz blew the save and threw 22 pitches, but I leave Feliz in the game unless he runs into trouble in the bottom of the inning. Hind sight 20/20, of course.

As much as MLB needs a World Series Game 7, the first in nine years, I would’ve gladly taken a Texas victory celebration Thursday night.

The beauty of a decisive Game 7, however, is that you throw the previous six contests out the window.

The highs, the lows, it all means zero at this point.

Now it’s one game for all the marbles. Winner take all. No tomorrow.

Good thing, too. My nerves simply can’t handle a Game 8!

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2 Comments

  1. Kurt Smith says:

    I was rooting against the Cards just because I don’t like wildcards and didn’t think they belonged in the playoffs to begin with. They’ve been great, and it isn’t their fault of course, but I would still do away with the wildcard.

    Heck of a game last night though. I’m sure I’ll be telling my grandchildren about it.

  2. Interestingly, I’ve changes my tune on the Wild card over the years. At first I shared your feelings that adding a Wild Card only masked the real trouble with baseball’s great divide of rich vs. poor.

    The success of Wild Card teams in the postseason, however, made me realize the WC has it’s place, even if the game’s unbalanced playing field isn’t necessarily being addressed by adding two more teams to the playoffs.

    Not to mention, the final day of the 2011 regular season was absolutely thrilling, even perhaps, the best single day the league has ever experienced.

    But more than Wild Cards, I’d love to see MLB shorten its season to 150 games, move the playoffs up to late September and bring back the return of a couple of day World Series games.

    Although that’s highly unlikely to take place under dear old Bud, that doesn’t mean a new comish won’t make the moves to bring baseball into the current century by calling off its relentless pursuit to compete with the NFL, speeding up the games, and dare I say, the adoption of instant replay.

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