The only good thing for writers in the top of the seventh inning of tonight’s Divisional Series affair was that their game stories weren’t a total loss. As they described the failings of a manager to go and pull his ace from a game when they no longer were getting the job done, they just simply needed to use the Find & Replace feature. Replace Mattingly for Matheny and Kershaw for Wainwright.
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.
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.
As my Dad told me last night, “I was expecting a Wild Card Game, not a wild Cards’ game.” Major League Baseball’s first Wild Card Game, certainly lived up to the wild factor. The 94 win Atlanta Braves were facing off against the 88 game St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field on Friday evening with a National League Divisional Series berth on the line.
For the 11th time in their illustrious history, the St. Louis Cardinals can be called World Series Champions. Thankfully, they did it without the type of drama or heroics required in Game 6.
The Texas Rangers got on Chris Carpenter early, putting up two runs in the top of the first. It looked like it was going to be more of the same from the night before. But in the bottom of the first, it was David Freese once again delivering in the clutch with a two-RBI double to tie the game up.