Monday, October 31, 2011

So Long Tony

ESPN is reporting that Cardinals' manager Tony LaRussa is retiring after 33 seasons and three World Series championships. I grew up during the 80s watching the A's and their great teams. LaRussa is thought of as a great manager with an uncanny ability to anticipate.
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

2011 Baseball Season Concludes

And with last night's Cardinals' victory, another baseball season has come to an end. Carpenter settled down after a rocky first, the Rangers couldn't get anything going offensively afterwards and it culminated with the Cardinals' 11th World Series crown. Congrats to St. Louis. And congrats to Texas. It's hard to get back to the Series two years in a row. Maybe next year will be their turn.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Yogi Berra Said It Best

If there was ever a game that was the epitome of Yogi Berra's famous "it ain't over til it's over" quote, it was last night's Game 6. The Cards were down to their last strike twice and rallied each time.

The game itself was pretty sloppy. There were five errors that led to four unearned runs. There were 12 walks - two of which were intentional. Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia failed to get past the third inning. The Rangers' Nelson Cruz and the Cardinals' Matt Holiday both left the game with injuries.

But in the end, all that matters in the outcome. Not the final score, but the last several innings. With only six outs between them and the end of the season, the Cardinals found themselves down 7-4. With one out remaining in their season, the Cardinals were down 7-5.

After an improbable David Freese two-out, two strike, two run triple in the bottom of the ninth, Rangers' slugger Josh Hamilton hit what seemed to be the final blow, a go ahead, two-run home run in the top of the 10th inning, his first homer of the postseason. But again down to their final strike, Lance Berkman hit an RBI single off of Rangers' reliever Scott Feldman to again tie the game and force the 11th inning.

That set-up David Freese leading off the top of the 11th. A relative unknown to the baseball world before this postseason began. Growing up in the St. Louis-area native has created a hometown hero story. Freese is hitting nearly .400 this postseason, seemingly coming up at the right place in the order to drive in the big runs. And last night was no exception. His 428 foot home run on a 3-2 pitch forced a Game 7.

Unbelievable. Can't wait until Game 7 tonight.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Really Tony?

So, Cardinals' manager Tony LaRussa says that in the 8th inning of last night's 4-2 Texas win, in which the Rangers scored their third and fourth runs, that the bullpen, on two different occasions, did not hear him ask to warm up reliever Jason Motte. I have a hard time buying that.

LaRussa is thought of as a borderline genius and the one of the best managers of the last 25 years. He is typically on top of every single situation and scenario that comes up. Part of a manager's job is to anticipate what is going to happen later in the inning or later in the game.

I'm not sure if LaRussa was caught off guard, misread the way things unfolded or things just didn't work out for the Cardinals and he looks foolish.

I'm not accusing him of lying or deceiving the media and fans. It just doesn't seem to add up.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Derek Holland

I guess if you never heard of Derek Holland, last night changed that. Coming into last night, he had a postseason ERA of 5.27. He was 16-5 this season with a 3.95 ERA.
Derek Holland proved again that your previous outings don't matter. A few rough outings doesn't mean every outing is going to be shaky. Every inning on the mound or at-bat is another opportunity to show your capabilities.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

"No Doubles" Backfires

I'm not a big fan of protecting a lead with no runners on base as the Cardinals did last night with the "No Doubles" philosophy. 
The Rangers' Ian Kinsler, who does have some power, starts the inning off with a single, that would have been caught had the St. Louis outfielders been playing at normal depth. I know that every manager has his own thinking. If the outfielders are playing normal depth and Kinsler hits a double, then a lot of critics would ask why weren't they playing "No Doubles." 
Situations like this and the differences in philosophies are what make baseball the greatest game.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

2011 World Series - Game 1 - The Day After

I've said it before and will continue to preach that free bases damage a pitcher more than anything else.

In last night's game, the Cardinals' first run was scored by Albert Pujols, who reached after being hit by a pitch. In the bottom of the sixth, with two outs, Rangers' pitcher C.J. Wilson walks Nick Punto, the 8th hitter in the lineup. Punto is the last batter Wilson faces and Allen Craig get the pinch hit single and RBI off reliever Alexi Ogando.

Cardinals' pitchers walk two and win. Rangers' pitchers walk six - two intentionally - and hit a batter and lose.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Recipe For Success

Cards pitch just a little better than the Rangers. A pinch hit, game winning RBI single by Allen Craig. Good pitching and timely hitting is the recipe for success in baseball, at all levels.

Which Carpenter?

The 2011 World Series will come down to pitching - as most series do. In game one, the Cardinals will turn to ace Chris Carpenter. If Carpenter pitches like he did in Game 7 against the Phillies, the Rangers have no shot. Here's hoping for a great series.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Confident Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan, president of the Texas Rangers, says that his team will win the World Series in 6 games. As you can imagine, some people have called this "bulletin board material" for the Cardinals, other questioning why he would make a prediction. I always find this funny about the media. Is the guy supposed to not root for his team? Should he not be confident in the team he assembled? Does anyone think he will pick the Cardinals in 4?
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A Pitcher's Best Friend

A pitcher's best friend is always a double play. Early in a game, with the bases loaded and nobody out, always be willing to give up a run in order to get two outs. Controlling damage when you run into early trouble still gives your team a chance to win.
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Aggressive on the Bases

Good hustle by the Brewers' Carlos Gomez last night. Not only moving up on a passed ball, but advancing two bases when Cardinals' catcher Yadier Molina hobbles over to the baseball. Never assume on the bases. Stay aggressive and make the defense stop you. Don't stop yourself.
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World Series 2011

Cardinals versus Rangers. Who ya got? An interesting note on the radio this morning. Brewers' 1B Prince Fielder drove in the winning run in the All-Star Game with his home run off of Rangers' pitcher C.J. Wilson. So the way things played out, in a roundabout way, Wilson lost home field advantage for the Rangers and Fielder won it for the rival Cards.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Red Sox Slide

If this story is true about the Red Sox, it shows a complete lack of leadership by the players. Managers manage the game, but the players have to hold each other accountable. No wonder they folded down the stretch.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre hit a foul ball off his knee in the top of the 4th. Would it be right or wrong to lay a bunt down in the bottom of the inning?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hunt Fastballs

Tony LaRussa was talking in his in-game interview during game during game 4 against the Phillies. He said that hitters "should hunt fastballs." Most hitters can hit a fastball. But make sure when you see one, you are ready.

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