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.
The rosters and rotations were set today for the National League Divisonal Series between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals today.
For the Cardinals, they will add Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, and Chris Carpenter to the roster. The three were left off of the Wild Card Game roster as they would not be being used in the game. In exchange, LHP Sam Freeman, catcher Bryan Anderson, and shortstop Ryan Jackson will be left off.
It’s worth nothing that the moves leave Marc Rzepczyski as the only left handed reliever on the roster. Meanwhile, the moves of Jackson and Anderson off the roster were not unexpected. Neither received much playing time in September and were basically there as depth in a “just in case” situation.
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.
Facing off for the game was the Braves’ Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57) and the Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86).
Medlen was the starter of note, because the Braves had won 23 consecutive games that Medlen had started, dating back to May 29, 2010. The streak was interrupted by Tommy John surgery and he started this season in the bullpen for the Braves.
Lohse was the quieter of the pair, despite being one of the top pitchers in the National League all season. He led the Cardinals’ rotation in ERA this year. A rotation that was the fourth best in baseball. He had also never won a playoff start going into this game, having a career postseason ERA of 5.12 in 31 2/3 innings. Last year during the Cardinals’ playoff run, he allowed 11 runs in 12 2/3 innings.
Early Wednesday morning the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers. In doing so, the knocked the Dodgers out of the playoffs and clinched the second Wild Card for the St. Louis Cardinals. What that meant is that tonight’s game because the first meaningless game that the Cardinals have played since the 2010 season finale.
Adam Wainwright was supposed to start this game, however, with it being a meaningless game he was held out. Instead, he is penciled in to start Game 1 of the National League Divisional Series against the Washington Nationals.
In his place, the organization’s #1 prospect Shelby Miller got the nod and the opportunity to make an impact out of the rotation.