It’s been less than a week since the St. Louis Cardinals were removed from the playoffs by the San Francisco Giants winning Games 5, 6, and 7 of the National League Championship Series. What seemed on the morning of October 19th as inevitable, that the Cardinals would be playing for their 12th World Series championship in 2012, failed to come to pass thanks to shaky starting pitching and a slumping offense.
Over the final three games of the NLCS, the Giants outscored the Cardinals 20-1. They did exactly what they’d done just a series earlier to the Cincinnati Reds. In the National League Divisional Series against the Reds, the Reds won the first two games of the best of five series in San Francisco. Over the final 3 games of the series in Cincinnati, the Giants won all three games. They’d survived with their backs against the wall once, they could do it again.
Going into Game 7, the media portrayed the game as two teams who refused to give up. The Cardinals rode a six game winning streak in games where a loss would have eliminated them from the playoffs. The Giants had won five straight, all in 2012. But unlike Game 5 of the NLDS where the Cardinals got down 6-0 to a young and inexperienced Washington Nationals club, the Giants are a veteran team whose key players had been there before. They weren’t likely to collapse like the Nationals did. And they didn’t.
The St. Louis Cardinals announced that they have removed Jaime Garcia from the National League Divisional Series roster for the remainder of the series. In his place, the team will add Shelby Miller. This means that Garcia is ineligible to play in the National League Championship Series, should the team advance past the Washington Nationals.
After Monday evening’s game Garcia received an MRI exam. Tuesday that exam revealed inflammation and a rotator cuff strain in his throwing shoulder. Garcia will receive a second opinion on his shoulder on Thursday. At that point, the team and Garcia will begin a plan to get him back on the field.
Garcia threw two innings in Monday’s Game 2 of the NLDS in St. Louis. He allowed 1 run on 2 hits and 3 walks. After his second inning of work, he confessed to manager Mike Matheny and the team’s managers that he had been having issues that he couldn’t pitch through. The team made the move for Lance Lynn to take over in the game, which may have already been the plan.
The National Football League doesn’t do it. The National Basketball Association doesn’t do it. The National Hockey League doesn’t do it. So why does Major League Baseball continue to do it?
Game 2 of the National League Divisional Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washingon Nationals began at 4:30 pm Eastern time on a Monday. The game was in St. Louis, so that means that the game actually started at 3:30 pm Central time so anyone who wanted to attend the game had to skip work in order to go. And anyone on the west coast, well, why bother with them?
Game 3 will be an even greater travesty. The game will start at 1 pm Eastern time in Washington. It will air on the MLB Network. Even Wednesday’s San Francisco Giants/Cincinnati Reds game will begin at 4 pm Eastern. I’m sure those Giants fans will enjoy that 1 pm Pacific time start.
My issue is that the majority of Cardinals, Nationals, Giants, and Reds fans will be unable to watch the game because of work. Kids will miss being exposed to the game of their local team because of school. When you look at the playoff schedules for other major sports leagues in America, the MLB remains the only one that schedules games in the afternoon on a weekday during their playoffs. The rest all play their games in the evening, starting in prime time.
The St. Louis Cardinals entered Monday evening’s game down 0-1 to the Washington Nationals in a unique National League Division Series. Depending on the outcome of the game, they may have had to head to Washington needing to sweep the next three games at Nationals Park.
Out of the gate Cardinals’ starter Jaime Garcia struggled with his command early in the game. He walked two in the top of the first and then another in the top of the second. It was in the top of the second where Washington broke through and drew first blood. It was Nationals’ starter Jordan Zimmermann helping his own cause with a single to right field that scored Ian Desmond to put the Nationals ahead 1-0.
But it would be the bottom of the second where the game would open up when the Cardinals’ offense decided to show up. Allen Craig, Yadier Molina, David Freese, and Daniel Descalso led off the inning with consecutive hits that plated Craig and Molina. After a strikeout by Pete Kozma, Skip Schumaker sacrificed Freese across the plate. Then Jon Jay got in on the action with a hit to left field that scored Descalso, but he got caught trying to advance to second base. When the dust cleared, the Cardinals had a 4-1 lead.
It’s been a theme for the Cardinals all season. Missed opportunities. The most glaring from this afternoon being a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the seventh with no outs. Ground balls from Allen Craig and Yadier Molina ended the inning without the Cardinals scoring to extend their 2-1 lead. At that point, the momentum swung firmly in the direction of the Nationals.
In the top of the eighth, Mitchell Boggs came in and it all began to unravel for the Cardinals. A tough bounce resulted in a fielding error by Pete Kozma allowed Michael Morse to reach base. Ian Desmond singled to move Morse to third. Danny Espinosa sacrificed Desmond to second. With runners at second and third, Boggs managed to strike out Kurt Suzuki for the second out of the inning. It appeared the Cardinals might escape the inning.
The left handed hitter Chad Tracy was announced as the pinch hitter. Mike Matheny went to the mound and brought in Marc Rzepczynski, the only lefty reliever on the St. Louis roster. His last appearance, he allowed a double to Jason Heyward before getting out of the inning against a right hander. Of course, when Rzepczynski came into the game, Nationals manager Davey Johnson went back for right handed hitter Tyler Moore.