Oct 3, 2011, 12:24 AM EDT
This was maybe the most Tony La Russa game ever. Some mind games early, 125 double switches late, and a close game was won by the Cardinals, 5-4. What did we learn, kids?
- You can fall behind one of the Phillies’ aces 4-0 and still win. I didn’t go back and look, but man, I bet that didn’t happen very often in 2011.
- I’ll have some praise for La Russa below, but if that 4-0 had held up, a lot of people would have been asking why he pitched Chris Carpenter on short rest when he had never done so before. He was probably wrong to run Carpenter out there, but he was right to have the quick hook on him too (though it did look like Carpenter was settling down a bit right before he left the game).
- The strike zone was cause for some beefing. Tony La Russa came out to argue about it early, thinking Carpenter was getting squeezed. Then, suddenly, it seemed like Cardinals pitchers were getting more calls and Cliff Lee was getting a bit squeezed. Little-known fact: La Russa knows how to use the Jedi mind trick.
- Squeezed or not, Cliff Lee was able to strike out nine dudes. His problem was the death by a thousand cuts. Lots of bloops and balls that could have been caught but weren’t. It wasn’t bad defense, just great fortune, ground balls with eyes and broken bat singles for the Cardinals. It happens. Especially when you’re around the zone like Lee is. You can’t escape allowing 12 hits in the postseason, but nor can you really draw much of a negative conclusion about Cliff Lee because of this outing. Just one of those things.
- As the game wore on, La Russa really went, well, La Russaian with his double switches and calls to the pen. Little known fact: he is allowed a 37-man roster in the postseason. OK, not really, but seriously, he used a lot of players, with Jake Westbrook being the only guy remaining in the pen when the game ended. If it had gone extras, it could have meant trouble for him, though I suppose Westbrook is able to go forever considering he’s a starter by trade. But let’s give some credit here: it worked.
- And why it worked? Because the Cardinals bullpen was fantastic. Easily the weakest part of the team this year, so if you would have told me before the game that Chris Carpenter would be pulled after giving up four runs on five hits in three innings, I would have guessed that Philly won in a walk. Kudos to the 18 relievers who came through for the Cardinals. OK, it was only six, but they shut the Phillies out over six innings and allowed only two baserunners. That, my friends, is serious strength from an apparent weakness.
- There was a great moment in the top of the eighth when Allen Craig was almost hit in the head and the Phillies fans cheered like it was the best thing ever. Never change, Philly fans! Never, ever change.
- But at least cheer up a bit, guys. Tied 1-1, heading to St. Louis with Cole Hamels on the hill isn’t the worst thing in the world. Except for the fact that you’re going to face Jaime Garcia, and he has been tough on Philly over the past two years.
We have ourselves a series, everyone.
Sep 15, 2014, 6:11 AM EDT
Against all odds, the Orioles are poised to clinch their first AL East title in seventeen years.
Sep 14, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT
The Athletics changed up their starting rotation order so that Sonny Gray lines up to pitch the final game of the season on the road against the Rangers.
Sep 14, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT
Jose Abreu tied a White Sox rookie record when he hit his 35th home run in the ninth inning of Sunday’s loss to the Twins.
Sep 14, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT
Rafael Soriano has made some mechanical adjustments but the Nationals aren’t ready to hand him back the closer’s role yet.
Sep 14, 2014, 8:35 PM EDT
Adrian Gonzalez thinks anyone who doesn’t think Clayton Kershaw is the NL MVP is an “idiot”. He’s not wrong.
Sep 14, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT
Joaquin Benoit should rejoin the Padres late this week. He threw a side session on Sunday afternoon and will do so again on Tuesday before he gets the go-ahead.
Sep 14, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT
Royals manager Ned Yost wanted a strikeout, so he brought in Aaron Crow, who has the bullpen’s lowest strikeout rate.
Sep 14, 2014, 6:05 PM EDT
Jonathan Papelbon blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning on Sunday and responded to fans’ booing with what appeared to be a rude gesture.
Sep 14, 2014, 5:11 PM EDT
From Diario De Cuba comes word that left-handed starting pitcher Yasmany Hernandez has defected from his native country with the goal of signing a contract this winter with a major league team. Hernandez led Cuba’s Serie Nacional with a 1.66 ERA in 19 starts during the 2013-2014 season …
Sep 14, 2014, 4:23 PM EDT
Marco Gonzales is starting in place of Michael Wacha on Sunday afternoon against the Rockies, with manager Mike Matheny acknowledging to the media late last week that Wacha hasn’t looked quite right since returning on September 4 from a stress reaction in his right shoulder. It’s not clear what the plan is for Wacha, but he hasn’t been shut down.
Sep 14, 2014, 3:35 PM EDT
Watch as Josh Harrison starts this around-the-horn triple play Sunday in Pittsburgh …
Sep 14, 2014, 2:43 PM EDT
We’re gonna have to hold you to this, Jose …
Sep 14, 2014, 1:39 PM EDT
Matt Adams is out of the Cardinals’ lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Rockies due to lingering tightness in his left oblique, according to Stan McNeal of FOX Sports Midwest. It’s something that Adams has been dealing with for much of this month. He’s just 7-for-41 (.189) since August 31.
Sep 14, 2014, 12:44 PM EDT
Yasmani Tomas, 23, could be the next Cuban defector to hit it big — record-breakingly big — on Major League Baseball’s free agent market. Via Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe …
Sep 14, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT
Reds right-hander Mat Latos was scratched from his scheduled start Friday against the Brewers due to a bone bruise in his pitching elbow. It’s not believed to be a serious injury, but the regular season is over in two weeks and Cincinnati enters play Sunday with a record of 71-78. So there’s no reason to push it.
Sep 14, 2014, 11:08 AM EDT
Matt Szczur was ranked a Top 100 prospect by Baseball America in 2012, but he never quite met that hype and batted just .261/.315/.312 with one home run in 116 games this season at Triple-A Iowa. So knocking one out of PNC Park was both a relief and a surprise for the 25-year-old.
Sep 14, 2014, 10:22 AM EDT
Torii Hunter is 39 years old and his defense has rated very poorly this season in the outfield, but he made a game-saving catch in the Tigers’ 5-4 defeat of the Indians on Saturday night at Comerica Park …
Sep 14, 2014, 9:35 AM EDT
The Giants didn’t have a whole lot worth celebrating in Saturday night’s 17-0 blowout loss to the visiting Dodgers, but this was a pretty cool moment in the top of the seventh inning …
Sep 14, 2014, 8:58 AM EDT
The Tigers were trailing the Indians heading into the bottom of the eighth inning Saturday night at Detroit’s Comerica Park and a loss would have put them back behind the Royals — who defeated the Red Sox on Saturday — in the American League Central standings. That’s when Alex Avila came through with probably his biggest hit of what has been a tough 2014 …
Sep 14, 2014, 12:20 AM EDT
The Dodgers scored two touchdowns with the ensuing extra points, and kicked a field goal against the Giants on Saturday night. It was a bloodbath.
- And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights 0
- Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas to command $100 million? 20
- Bruce and Brett Bochy make MLB history 29
- Settling the Score: Saturday’s results 17
- Zack Greinke homers, Dodgers demolish the Giants 17-0 at AT&T Park 19
- Frank Torre: 1931-2014 6
- Settling the Score: Friday’s results 46
- Bud Selig can’t remember the last domestic violence incident in Major League Baseball 86
- Chris Davis suspended 25 games for amphetamine use (92)
- A few thoughts about the discrimination lawsuit against the Mets (91)
- Giancarlo Stanton diagnosed with multiple facial fractures and dental damage (91)
- Bud Selig can’t remember the last domestic violence incident in Major League Baseball (86)
- A couple of initial thoughts on the Chris Davis suspension (83)