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Not The Cardinals, Not Again

By bullpenbrian - October 29, 2011 - 1:01 am 2 comments.

When Scott Feldman walked Yadier Molina with the bases loaded in the fifth inning I switched the TV off.

St. Louis was leading 4-2 and a gut feeling told me this wasn’t the Rangers’ night. They wouldn’t come back, not even with four innings left to play, and despite all the hysterics that took place the night before. 

It was a similar feeling of doubt I felt Thursday night with Texas leading by three-runs late in Game 6. “Too close, not over,” I thought. 

Unable to bare watching the final innings unfold I turned that game off too, instead opting to listen to the conclusion of Game 6 game on the radio.

Nestled in my office I cranked up the space heater and waited for Texas to celebrate. Of course, that didn’t happen. There I was cold, in the dark, and wondering just how on earth the Rangers had let the series slip to a decisive Game 7.

My nerves were finally spent through five innings Friday night. If Texas came back to win, shame on me for not paying attention. But all I kept thinking was, “Not the Cardinals, not again.”

Only once before had I ever tuned-out a World Series game. Not surprisingly, that came during Game 5 of the 2006 World Series when St. Louis was busy beating the daylights out of Detroit. I simply couldn’t bare the heartache of watching that game either.

There are but three teams I always gain pleasure from watching lose as a Cubs, Colts and Blackhawks fan: The Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Vancouver Canucks.

If Texas could win the World Series I’d have the three-peat in place: Green Bay defeated Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl and Boston won against Vancouver in the Stanley Cup Finals. Not to be, I suppose.

With baseball as my first love, however, this one hurts the most. LaRussa, Pujols, Berkman…Ryan expletive Theriot, baseball’s champions.

Not the Cardinals, not again.

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Epic Game 6, But WS Not Over

By bullpenbrian - October 28, 2011 - 2:01 am 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.

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Adrian Beltre This Year’s Edgar Renteria

By bullpenbrian - October 27, 2011 - 2:01 am Leave a comment.

Adrian Beltre has become this October’s version of Edgar Renteria–an accomplished veteran making the most of the postseason.

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Na-Po-Li…M-V-P!

By bullpenbrian - October 25, 2011 - 2:01 am Leave a comment.

With all due respect to Ian Kinsler, who I tabbed as the early favorite to win the World Series MVP Award, Mike Napoli has earned top honors should Texas go on to win it all.

The bearded slugger remains a surprise thorn in the Cardinals side delivering clutch hits throughout the series, including his tiebreaking two-run double in the eight giving the Rangers a 3-2 series advantage in Game 5 Monday night.

Napoli is hitting .308 with 2 HR and a series leading 9 RBI, which nearly matches the offensive output from the rest of the Rangers’ lineup (12 RBI).

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Derek Holland In Game 7?

By bullpenbrian - October 24, 2011 - 1:50 am Leave a comment.

If there’s a downside to Derek Holland’s brilliant outing in game 4, (besides his pitiful cookie duster!) it’s that he likely won’t be available to start a potential Game 7 scheduled Thursday night in St. Louis.

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Kinsler Saves Series, Ogando

By bullpenbrian - October 21, 2011 - 2:01 am Leave a comment.

Ian Kinsler(notes) #5 of the Texas Rangers steals second base ahead of the tag by Rafael Furcal(notes) #15 of the St. Louis Cardinals in the ninth inning during Game Two of the MLB World Series at Busch Stadium on October 20, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri

“It wasn’t a Series-saving rally, but it was huge.” -Ian Kinsler

Sorry Charlie, but I couldn’t disagree more!

Of the 50 World Series that began 2-0, the team having won the first two games has gone on to win the series 40 times. That’s good for 80-percent.

So it’s hard to believe Texas would’ve rebounded from those long odds, even with the series shifting to Arlington for Game 3.

Thankfully, for those of us rooting for the Rangers, it’s still a winnable series due to a dramatic, and historic, ninth inning comeback–thanks in large part to Kinsler’s leadoff single and clutch stolen base to ignite the top of the ninth inning.

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Giving St. Louis Its Due

By bullpenbrian - October 20, 2011 - 2:01 pm Leave a comment.

At some point I’ll have to give St. Louis credit for winning games this postseason.

I’m not ready to do just yet, even though they’ve ventured deep into October winning the NLDS, the NLCS and taking a 1-0 lead in the World Series.

Game after game, round after round…the Cards lull to sleep its opposition with shaky starting pitching, a patch work bullpen and just enough offense.

It’s certainly not pretty baseball, but it’s certainly not all luck, either.

My hesitation to acknowledge the Cards’ success is, without question, my sour grapes as a Cubs fan. But more so, I’m soured by the fact Philly bowed out so easily in the NLDS, and by Milwaukee’s bumbling fielding and lack of clutch hitting in the NLCS. Awful performances for two of the league’s better teams.

Now, it seems, Texas is following suite–rolling over like a damn dog and letting the Cards walk on by…just like the rest of the NL. (How many more times will the Rangers stare at a called strike 1,2 & 3 trailing by one run late in the game?)

No doubt the game’s greatest hitter, an ace pitcher and a dominate closers can take you far, even more so with one of the game’s greatest managers.

Maybe the Cards deserve a little credit, after all. But I think I’ll wait until they win the World Series to give it to them.

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Baby I Like Texas!

By bullpenbrian - October 19, 2011 - 1:01 am 1 comment.

Two reasons I’m picking the Rangers to win the World Series.

First of all, I made the awful mistake of choosing hitting over pitching in last year’s Fall Classic. Not smart.

Any good baseball fan knows good pitching beats good hitting, especially in the postseason, and that was more than evident with San Fran’s dominate staff last October.

Secondly, I just can’t bring myself to pick St. Louis seeing as they’re the Cubs’ biggest rival. I know that’s not the most sound prognostication, but I’d rather not jeopardize any good karma choosing the Cards to win it all.

Wishful thinking aside, there’s no clear evidence suggesting either club has better starting pitching.

So why choose Texas?

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Randy Hungry Like The Wolf

By bullpenbrian - October 14, 2011 - 12:45 am Leave a comment.

The postseason is suppose to be reserved for power-arms. But Randy Wolf, a soft-tossing lefty, dominated St. Louis in Game 4 to keep Milwaukee’s World Series hopes alive.

Honestly, I didn’t think Wolf had seven innings of two-run baseball in him. Not after surrendering seven earned runs to Arizona in the NLDS, which came on the heels of 10 runs allowed in 11.2 innings of his final two starts of the regular season.

But despite allowing two early solo home runs, Wolf settled down to retire 13 of his final 15 batters while keeping St. Louis hitless with RISP–The Cards finished the game 0-for-8 in that category and remain 0-for-15 after the first inning of Game 3.

For Milwaukee this October, it’s finally a starting performance that’s postseason worthy.

Game 5 starter, Zach Greinke, has allowed 16 hits and 10 runs for a 8.18 ERA over two starts. Shaun Marcum: 14 hits, 12 runs, and a 12.46 ERA in two outings.

Yovani Gallardo has been the most steady hand, but unimpressive for a staff ace: 18 hits in 19 IP, 8 walks, and 2 HR in three outings.

Even with the NLCS now a best-of-three series, the Brewers staff better find another Wolf-like performance in them. Otherwise, Randy’s gem could be the lasting highlight for a brilliant Brewers season.

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World Series Set, Almost

By bullpenbrian - October 13, 2011 - 2:30 pm Leave a comment.

Get ready for a St. Louis-Texas World Series.

I’m speaking ‘unofficially,’ of course, but that’s where the LCS’s are headed.

Texas has the all too commanding 3-1 lead over Detroit. And even with the Tigers throwing Justin Verlander in Game 5…at best they’ll need him to come back on three days rest for a potential Game 7 in Arlington.

The Rangers’ bullpen, more so than its potent lineup, has been the difference maker. The relief corps allowed just a single run through 15 innings of the first three games–and one run in Game 4. Simply, Lights. Out.

Meanwhile, back in St. Louis…the Cardinals and Chris Carpenter withstood Milwaukee’s best chance to gain the series winning Game 3, 4-3.

For all intents and purposes, Yovani Gallardo lost the game, and perhaps the series, in the first inning allowing the first five Cardinals to reach base. Four of those runners scored–and that was that.

Cards win game. Cards take 2-1 series lead.

In fact, the Cardinals bullpen retired the last 12 Milwaukee hitters in a row and allowed just a single base runner from the fifth inning on. Sound familiar, Detroit fans?

Now St. Louis feasts on Randy Wolf in Game 4, coming off a 7 ER performance in his NLDS start vs. Arizona. And for dessert, a tasty treat of Zach Greinke and his 9.00 postseason ERA in Game 5.

The Brewers have lost eight consecutive postseason games on the road. They don’t beat the Cardinals in Milwaukee, and now they have to take 3 of 4 to win the series.

Not impossible, but not likely either.

St. Louis vs. Texas. Who knew?

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