Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Not Quite

So much for my pitch count theory. (Now you know why I write a blog for fun rather than a living, I suppose.)

I actually enjoyed last night's game, up until the point that Kent smoked that pitch. I didn't even let the ball land before clicking off my TV - it was a bit too painful. For a great review of the game, check out Brian's latest at Redbird Nation. Great stuff as usual.

Just a few thoughts from me.

Brandon Backe

Brandon Backe was awesome last night, plain and simple. To go through this lineup for 8 innings, just giving up 1 hit? Unreal. Yes, I realize that the Cardinals should have made him work more, but you've got to give the guy credit. He was on. Will he be any good next year? Who knows? He might be the next Jaret Wright, who had a great World Series in 1997, posting an ERA of 2.92. Since then, he has a career ERA of 5.09, and just posted his first season under 4.00 this year. But the future doesn't matter for Backe right now. He just pitched a total gem, at home, for his favorite team growing up. What a dream come true.

St. Louis Fans

While listening to sports radio this morning in St. Louis, I was pleasantly surprised by the people calling in. No bashing of Tony La Russa, or the gloom and doom that I was expecting. Instead, nothing but praise for Backe and Williams, credit to the Astros for getting it done, and cautious optimism about the Cardinals still having a shot, as small as it might be. There was more panic on the airwaves when the Astros won their series last week to make the NLCS than there was today, interestingly enough.

I can only assume this is due to a couple of factors. One, for the first time since 1987, the Cardinals are coming home to play Game 6 of the NLCS. The Cards had that 3 games to 1 lead over the Braves in 1996, but choked it in Atlanta. And in both 2000 and 2002, the Cards dropped both Games 1 and 2 at home before heading off to play on the road. In both of thoses seasons, the sliver of hope was to win 2 out of 3 on the road, thus giving the Cards an outside shot at home to win the series. This year, the Cards can take their shot at home.

Two - and maybe I'm wrong about this - but I think your average Cardinal fan doesn't have anything against the Astros. Their players, for the most part, are a bunch of hard working, gritty ballplayers who are genuinely likeable. I mean, seriously - how can Cardinal fans not like a team that hates the Cubs? These guys were buddies of Darryl Kile, and were just as upset by his passing as many of the Cardinal players. I think the potential of losing to the Astros doesn't sting quite as much as it could against many other teams. These two teams have been the class of the NL Central since it's inception. It's only right that one of them will be the first from this relatively new division to play in the World Series. (I just hope that it's the guys with Birds on their shirts, that's all.)

Game 6

It looks like the Cardinals get to face Pete Munro in Game 6. Personally, I agree with Garner's decision, even though you know that if the Cards win this series, he's going to catch flak over it. But Clemens on full rest in Game 7, if needed, will be very tough, setting up a great final game that I'm hoping we all get to see. And as far as I'm concerned, if the Cardinals can't beat Pete Munro, at home, with elimination on the line? Well, they don't deserve to play for the World Championship anyway, plain and simple.

So, don't lose hope. I'm not going to turn into Yogi Berra and spew a bunch of wisdom your way. But I will say that if the Cards force a Game 7 in St. Louis? Well, anything can happen.


At 1:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too feel pretty good about our chances (enough to interrupt a trip to Indiana by driving back -- and forth -- from St. Louis on Thursday if there's a game 7), but I'm still shocked we didn't win a single game in Houston.

Oh, and I do hate the Astros -- especially this year. Any team that started 56-60 and had no hope of winning their division does not deserve a playoff spot. I like the wild card, I just don't see why it shouldn't be for teams that finish within a certain number of games of first place in their division. 'Cause this sucks.

At 8:00 AM, Blogger Len said...

It looks like the Cardinals get to face Pete Munro in Game 6. Personally, I agree with Garner's decision, even though you know that if the Cards win this series, he's going to catch flak over it.You really think so? Ever since before Game 5 this has looked to me like a complete no-brainer. Granted, I'm not a Houstonian or an Astros fan, but if the Cards beat a fully rested Roger Clemens in Game 7 to take the NL Playoffs they've earned it (really earned it), and if I was an Astros fan I'd have to acknowledge that Garner made the right decision, and for whatever reason the breaks didn't fall his way.

At 8:46 AM, Blogger Robb said...

Thanks for the comments, guys.

I can relate to your travel plans, Jeff. I am in Chicago on business, and am ready to head back to St. Louis tomorrow for Game 7 if I am lucky enough to get the company seats.

As far as the Wild Card - I don't love it, but the Astros aren't exactly an 82 win team that sneaked in. I do wish they would penalize the WC more via 1 less home game per series than the current setup. (As in, only 1 home game in the LDS, 2 in the LCS.) But that's just me.

Len - I'm with you, and said as much in my blog. I figured that Munro would be starting tonight, especially if the Astros won Game 5. I just think that there will always be people that question things, as if they knew all along it was going to blow up in their face. To give you an example - there are Cardinal fans (albeit, a small amount) who think the reason this Cardinal team is "sunk" is because La Russa overworked Carpenter, thus not having him available in this series. However, if you look at the pitch counts that Carpenter was held to, it doesn't hold water.

So, if the Astros lose, people will say "you could have used Clemens in 6 and Oswalt in 7!" They'll ignore the overwhelming evidence that suggests short rest is a bad idea this century.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Cardsgem said...

It will be interesting to see what Cardinal team actually shows up tonight. The one that was as inpatient as possible could be against Backe, or the one we saw most of the year that made pitches work hard on the mound. Because if the same team shows up in game 6 as did in game 5, it is not going to matter how Matty pitches.

Sad thing is this was the second time the Cards had seen backe in less than a week. One would think they would have made adjustments from the first time, instead just the opposite happened. Now they get to see Munro once agian in about a weeks time, we hit him ok the first game, well they make the adjustments to light him up tonight?

I expect us to win game 6 without any issues as I expect Morris to come out and pitch a good game (you hear that matty don't let me down). Game 7 however is a whole different story with Clemens on full rest and OSwalt and Lidge in the pen, that one is the one that scares me the most.

But my biggest issue today is how MLB has a big old hard on for East coast teams. Give me a freeking break, push the STL game to an earlier time is totally unexceptable. Here is a big old FU MLB and Fox for that stunt!

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Robb said...

Today's schedule was announced before the playoffs even started. The AL Game - A Game 7, no less - was going to be in prime time, with the other Game early.

I don't see why that's a problem. The other alternative is to play them at the same time, which would keep me from seeing the first game since the hotel I'm at doesn't have FX. And a Game 7 should have a higher priority than a Game 6.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Cardsgem said...

The problem is i won't even get to watch the game because when i checked the schedule it had STL/HOU on at 7. So i have to do new house crap tonight from once i get off work till 6:30 ish. So what if it is game 7 both are elimination games for a team. It is just once agian EAST COAST BIAS BS.


Post a Comment

<< Home