Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cardinals take Game 1

The 2011 World Series is underway and those pesky St. Louis Cardinals have taken the early lead winning Game One by a score of 3 to 2. For the record I've got the Rangers winning in 6 and losing to Chris Carpenter in St. Louis doesn't change that for me. Anyhow, here's my five heroes of Game One:

1) Chris Carpenter - The 36 year old veteran improved to 3-0 this postseason with a solid 6 inning performance in which he allowed just 2 runs on 5 hits. He really made just one mistake the whole evening and that came in the 5th inning against Mike Napoli, and against this lineup, that's no small feat. The win gives Carpenter 8 in his postseason career which ties him with Mariano Rivera for the lead among active players. Carpenter additionally showed how bad he wants to win this when he laid out for an errant throw in the first inning to retire Elvis Andrus at first base.
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2) Allen Craig - The 27 year old Craig hadn't been heard from much this postseason before last night. He started the Cardinals first three playoff games against the Phillies, but has made just one start since then. Well, if you didn't know who he was before last night, you surely know who he is now. Craig, pinch hitting for Carpenter with two out and runners at the corners and facing the hard-throwing Alexi Ogando, dropped a single in front of a sliding Nelson Cruz in right field to score David Freese with the go ahead run in the bottom of the 6th inning. It was just the 5th hit that Ogando had allowed in 10 2/3 innings during the postseason.
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3) Lance Berkman - Berkman had just 14 runs batted in from the right side of the plate during the regular season and hit 30 points lower against lefties than he did against right handers. That didn't matter last night as Berkman broke a scoreless tie in a the 4th with a 2 run single off of C.J. Wilson. Berkman, who ended up going 2 for 4 on the night, has now hit safely in 4 straight games and has 8 runs batted in this postseason.
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4) Marc Rzepzczczisnajakslfdjski - Rzepczynski (Zep-Chin-Ski), aka "Scrabble" entered the game in the 7th with runners on first and second and one out. Ron Washington immediately went to his bench to counter the lefty specialist, but Tony Larussa opted to leave him in the game to face back-to-back right-handed pinch-hitters Craig Gentry and Esteban German. Rzepczynski needed just 7 pitches to record a pair of strikeouts and the Rangers would not threaten again the rest of the night.
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5) Jason Motte - Motte fired a 1-2-3 9th inning to earn his 5th save of the 2011 postseason. How are these for some numbers? 8 games, 9 innings, 1 hit, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts, 5 for 5 in save opportunities. Motte has retired 22 hitters in a row after allowing a Placido Polanco single in the 9th inning of Game 3 in the NLDS. Fear the Beard!
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Other Things of Note from Game 1:

*Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina becomes the third Molina brother in a row to reach the World Series. Last year, Bengie Molina made it with the Rangers, and the year before that Jose Molina made it with the Yankees.

*Arthur Rhodes, now with St. Louis, was released by the Rangers on August 8th of this year. The 41 year old lefty (who becomes the 42 year old lefty on Monday) retired Josh Hamilton to end the 8th inning last night.

*For those who don't think it's fair that the All Star Game decides home field advantage, keep in mind, that it was Texas's C.J. Wilson who surrendered a 3-run home run to Prince Fielder and lost the game.

*The St. Louis bullpen retired the final 8 hitters. Their final line: 3 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts.

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