Monday, October 25, 2004

Ugly Weekend

I started to put something together last night, but decided it would be smarter for me to sleep on it. I wasn't exactly in the best mood last night, you see. And even this morning, I don't exactly have warm fuzzy feelings about the Cardinals chances this year. But they are still a team that has won 112 games, so I'm not quite ready to give up just yet. First, a couple of things from the weekend.

Game 1

If you had told me before the game that the Cards would score 9 runs with Woody on the hill, I would have chalked up a victory. Unfortunately, the BoSox had other things in mind. Overall, this game was frustrating from a bullpen point of view. But with that being said, to have been trailing 7-2 on the road in the 3rd inning and come back to tie the game - twice - not to mention have the tying runs on base in the 9th inning? We need to keep that in the back of our minds as we face the rest of this series. That was a game that really should have been over early, yet it wasn't.

Scoring 9 runs with no help from Pujols and Rolen was something else as well. To have both of those guys hit into double plays, as well as Rolen and Edmonds standing the bases loaded late in the game? Just missed it. This game also proved that yes, Keith Foulke is good but no, he's not Brad Lidge. Unlike the NLCS, these games aren't over as soon as the closer is summoned to pitch the last 2 or 3 innings of the game.

Game 2

Entering this game, I didn't feel good about Morris on 3 days' rest. I sort of understood it, mind you, but I didn't like it. With Schilling put together with duct tape, though, I thought the Cards should be able to outlast them. Well, I was wrong. While Schilling wasn't great, he was good enough. And while Morris wasn't completely horrible, he wasn't anywhere near good enough. He really should have been out of that 1st inning, with a pair of 2 out walks after having Manny and Ortiz set up 0-2. But, Morris just can't blow anyone away anymore.

In the fifth inning, Mike Matheny gets a leadoff single in a 4-1 game. Marlon Anderson, a guy who hit around .200 in the 2nd half, is up with the top of the lineup behind him. Schilling's ankle is bleeding, Mueller has already committed 2 of his 3 errors on the night. Why not bunt there and make one of those two guys - hopefully Schilling - make a play? That completely drove me nuts.

Speaking of taking advantage - to have the other team commit 4 errors and only score 2 runs is horrible.

Jason Marquis pitching in the 8th inning? I haven't seen anything anywhere, but that leads me to think that Dan Haren may be starting Game 4. While I like Haren in Game 4, here is my complaint. If they don't mind Haren starting Game 4, why didn't they start him in Game 2 in the first place, putting the Cards in a better position to win? Morris could have started Game 4, and Haren would have been available to start Game 6. As is, the Cardinals will have to start Morris again this series if they are going to win it. Of course, the Haren start is pure speculation on my part right now.

Remainder of the Series

As ugly as the weekend was, the series isn't quite over yet. (It's only mostly dead - call Miracle Max.) In my mind, Game 3 is huge, big, gargantuan. If the Cards can beat Pedro Martinez, the series changes, even if it's ever so slightly. After Pedro, the Red Sox will start Derek Lowe, and then back to Tim Wakefield. I personally trust Woody to turn things back around for Game 5 more than I do Wakefield. And the Sox will not have the benefit of the DH in the next 3 games, hurting their offense slightly, as well as hurting their defense slightly. (Although, with the range Millar had at 1st, I'm not sure how Ortiz can be any worse.)

From my perspective, I completely expect the Cardinals to win Games 4 and 5 in St. Louis, especially if Haren does start Game 4. That's why I think Game 3 is so important. I would much rather see the Cardinals head back to Boston needing to take 1 out of 2, instead of needing to win both.

If the series does switch back to Boston? According to reports on KFNS in St. Louis this morning, Boston radio is saying that Schilling is doubtful to start Game 6. If that is true - and believe me, it's way too early to believe that - then the Red Sox will have to be careful with their bullpen in Game 5.

There is still a lot of baseball left to be played. This weekend was so frustrating, as the Cardinals just didn't look like the same fundamental team that had so methodically won game after game this year. But as dark as it seems this morning, one little win on Tuesday night would dramatically shift the look of this series in my eyes, if nothing else.


At 8:44 AM, Blogger Cardsgem said...

The Cards have had alot of chances the first 2 games. But Boston has had more, mainly because of the big difference in the 2 strike zones in both game 1 and 2. The lat 4 runs Boston scored were mostly because of STL Rper's getting squeezed while the boston strike zone just happen to double on our hitters. The really sad thing is even the announcers start complaing when boston doesn't get a call that is a foot off the plate.

Really hard to compete when the ump is only going to call a strike for STL when it is pretty much down middle of the plate.

I put it up to just the ump like boston in game 1, but after schilling got a big ass zone in game 2 and the cards didn't one has to start to wonder what the hell is going on.

Now there is alot of time to turn this ship around, but if the umps play the same strike zone in STL, it is not really going to matter what happens. And with pedro on the mound I can see the ump giving him a huge strike zone t.

Guess only thing the cards can do about it is have matheny sit up outside and let the pitcher throw one high and in and have Mike just miss it to send the ump a message if it is happening again.

Either that or just go out and score 20 runs a game...

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Socnorb11 said...

The Red Sox are tough to beat at home. Their home OPS this year was .883, as opposed to .783 on the road (eliminate the DH for these next 3 games, and there's an even greater difference in the split). Their ERA was also slightly worse on the road this year (4.30 verses 4.07).

So....... the next 3 games should favor the Cards. I hope so, anyway. I think the Cards will fight back.

Personally, it doesn't seem nearly as painful losing to the Red Sox as it did the Astros.

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Socnorb11 said...

Also, the Red Sox were 29 games over .500 at home this year, and only 5 games over on the road.

Now, I know this isn't very reassuring, since they're only going to play 3 games at Busch (stupid Selig), but it's reason for hope in Game 3, anyway.

As for the rotation, I would assume that it wouldn't be out of the question to have Woody pitch on Wednesday, since he only threw 70 pitches on Saturday. But, at some point you're going to need a 4th starter. Unless the plan is to have Morris pitch on 3 days' rest again on Thursday (he threw 89 pitches last night, so again, it wouldn't be out of the question).

Should be interesting.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger Robb said...

Hey Socnorb,

I agree - the home/road splits are favorable in the team match-ups. Pedro's are favorable as well. And don't forget - this team lost a game 19-8 just over a week ago - they aren't perfect.

Sweeping them at Busch will be tough. At this point, I'd be happy with the Cards taking 2 out of 3 at home. Of course, if that happens, I will be wishing that they had swept....


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