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La Russa presses the right buttons again, Cardinals defeat Rangers in World Series Game 1

Oct 19, 2011, 11:58 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa greets Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington during introductions ahead of Game 1 of MLB's World Series baseball championship in St. Louis Reuters

Locked in a 2-2 tie with the Rangers in the bottom of the sixth inning Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa stuck by the script he’s been authoring since his club snuck into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.

Game 1 starter Chris Carpenter was cruising, fresh of a clean top of the sixth. His pitch count was at a meager 87 and Alexi Ogando, who had been nearly unhittable this October, trotted to the mound with two outs in relief of Rangers starter C.J. Wilson.

But the Cardinals had David Freese on third base, via a one-out double then a wild pitch, and Nick Punto at first base courtesy of a pitch-around-him walk. Hoping to capitalize, La Russa opted to pull Carpenter from the game for pinch-hitter Allen Craig.

Once again, TLR’s quick hook worked.

Craig laced a ball down the right-field line, just beyond the glove of a sliding Nelson Cruz, scoring Freese from third and lifting the Cardinals to a 3-2 lead. Thanks to another fine performance by the St. Louis bullpen, that 3-2 score would hold. Fernando Salas, Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel and Arthur Rhodes combined to throw two scoreless innings before beared saves man Jason Motte closed it out with a perfect ninth.

The Cardinals will take a 1-0 series lead into Thursday night’s Game 2. The staggering storyline rolls on.

  1. flavius217 - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    As a Cardinals fan, I’m as big a TLR hater as there is, but pulling Carp for Craig was absolutely the right move. And The Wrench made TLR look like a gotdamn genius.

  2. btwicey - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    Well done STL

  3. miketreedy - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    The Cardinals got their two big runs on a bad call by the umps. Berkman’s double was clearly a fall ball. They later also screwed Beltre in the 9in when he fouled the ball off his foot. I don’t see how you consider this good managing by TLR unless he selected the home and first base umpires. If he did it was a great move.

    Not a good night for baseball or the umpires.

    • Kyle - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:51 AM

      They botched the Beltre out, but Berkman’s single was a fair ball. It crossed the bag in fair territory and landed fair.

      • miketreedy - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:38 AM

        No it hit foul right by the plate then carried over the bag. It was obvious in the replays but Buck never said a word.
        Here is the URL.

      • Jeremy T - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:42 AM

        I think I saw some powder fly up in that video, looks fair to me. It was definitely close, no way I’m saying it was “clearly” anything, but I think they made the right call.

      • Drew Silva - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:42 AM

        If it bounces back fair before first base, it’s a fair ball.

      • Jeremy T - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:43 AM

        Also, what Drew said

      • spudchukar - Oct 20, 2011 at 9:22 AM

        Hey Treedy, learn the rules before you comment, you are only embarrassing yourself.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 20, 2011 at 9:50 AM

        “If it bounces back fair before first base, it’s a fair ball.”

        But it actually doesn’t “bounce” fair at all until after it goes over first base. I am not saying treedy is right. I think the call was correct. It is just interesting and unique from what everybody is saying because it technically never bounced fair until after it passed the base. I am sure somebody here has the rulebook part to link to so that we can see it clearly, because this is totally different from a ball bouncing foul, then coming back into play fair and bouncing before it passes first base. It bounced foul, then came back over the first base bag fair. To me that is clearly a fair ball but I’d like to see where it covers this scenario in the rulebook.

        And just because a ball goes over the first base bag doesn’t mean it is always fair…what if it doesn’t bounce at all until it goes over the bag, then it lands foul. That is a foul ball. But in this instance, it bounced first, albeit in foul ground, then came back and went over first base so it should be fair. Just thought a rulebook link would be nice.

    • gostlcards5 - Oct 20, 2011 at 8:11 AM

      The ball did clearly hit in foul territory, but it’s the same as a bunt that lands fair and rolls foul (in reverse). If the ball lands foul and rolls/bounces fair, as long as it crosses inside the bag at 1st or 3rd, it is a fair ball.

      I agree with you on the Beltre call, though. He should not have been called out. I do like Fox’s infrared camera. You could see that it nicked him, and it didn’t get much, but the ump should have made that call on Beltre’s reaction, hobbling out of the box.

      • paperlions - Oct 20, 2011 at 8:26 AM

        I agree with this…except for the fact that so many players have faked getting hit when the ball came no where close to them (like Cap’n Jetes did) or players that act like they caught a ball on the fly when they know they trapped it. If players only gave honest reactions, umpires could rely on them, but they don’t…so, they can’t.

      • spudchukar - Oct 20, 2011 at 9:25 AM

        The reaction seemed authentic, but the replay was mighty iffy. If it hit his toe, and I believe it did, it just barely did, and one could understand the umps decision. I don’t know about the infra-red shots though. Hard to see how they add much.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 20, 2011 at 9:51 AM

        I know! We should let PREDATORS umpire the games… they’ve got Infrared, Ultraviolet, … really they can work the whole spectrum!

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 20, 2011 at 9:52 AM

        Another plus: No more balls & strikes arguments: Seriously, are you going to argue calls with something with that set of fangs?

      • anxovies - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:58 AM

        The umpire has to go on his perception, not what the player does. Although McCarver talked about the player’s reaction being the key, that can also be deceptive with a quick-thinking athlete (a la Jeter). Also, I think Beltre did a little acting on the play. His reaction seemed a bit much for a ball that barely grazed the tip of his toe. The ump may have picked up on the over-acting.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:46 PM

        Yeah, St.Louis1 is right. LaRussa did a good job last night. I won’t go so far as to say they were great moves because they seemed like the obvious moves to make in my mind. Ron Washington’s decision to bat that German fella should be questioned though. It seems as though he hadn’t had a plate appearance in just under a month. Perhaps, the back-up catcher should have been the pinch hitter. After all, he added Misty May’s husband to the roster as a third catcher. Didn’t understand that move.

      • cintiphil - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:40 PM

        It may have been a bad call on Beltre, but it made no difference in the game. If he was allowed another strike, who know if he would have gotten a hit. anyway, no one after him did anything at bat, so the score would have never changed.

      • miketreedy - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:24 PM

        Hey Spud – pucker up and kiss my a**. Amazing how many smart asses there are online making comments they would never make to someone in person. Gets some balls kid and at the very least put your name on your posts.

        Anyways, to me it it looks like it hit foul and never hits inside the lines. If I am wrong so be it. It looked foul to me though.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:30 PM

      I could have restated this on my own. But Monkey explains it so well in a post below that I copied his post (Thanks Monkey!). This pretty much sums it up…
      “If it is a ground ball it merely has to cross over any part of the bag. Where the ball first hits is irrelevant. For that matter, where the ball lands after crossing the bag is irrelevant. It is all about where the ball is as it crosses over first/third base. In this instance, the ball clearly was over the first base after taking that gigantic hop. It was a fair ball and beyond dispute.”

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:01 PM

        Monkey: I hear you in regards to German. Certainly a “interesting” call on Washington’s part. One question though…”Misty May’s Husband?”

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:08 PM

        Matt Treanor is married to Beach Volleyball star and Olympic Gold Medalist Misty May.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:54 PM

        Thanks Monkey. I felt somewhat foolish after not making that connectiont. I knew that was the case (her married to Treanor)…I guess I just forgot because when I found this out I was focused on her and Walsh while they were playing volleyball last summer. Can’t imagine why I lost focus. LOL!

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:32 PM

      Now…to respond to your TLR comments. Pulling Carp was the right call. Bringing “Scrabble” in when he did was also absolutely the right call. He essentially forced Ron Washington’s hand by bringing in the lefty. Ron had to go with a Right Handed hitter (while leaving his better hitting LH hitters on the bench). This….is “good managing.”

    • cintiphil - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:36 PM

      Sour grapes. The ball was fair, we all saw it over and over again. You are the only jackass who said it was foul.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:51 PM

        As far as the call on Beltre, has everyone forgotten PIerzynski in the 2005 series?

  4. buddaley - Oct 20, 2011 at 6:29 AM

    I have to check the rule book. Clearly the ball first bounced to the foul side of the base line. The chalk people saw was from the front of the left handed batters box, not the base line. It did not bounce again until after it crossed 1B, but it may have crossed the base in fair territory. So what is the rule?

    We know if it bounces foul first but then bounces fair in front of the base, crosses the base fair and goes foul when it lands it is a fair ball. But what if it bounces foul, crosses the base fair without bouncing again and then lands fair?

    • paperlions - Oct 20, 2011 at 8:03 AM

      It really doesn’t matter what happens before it passes the base, the ball can take a tour through the on deck circle, as long as it doesn’t hit anything (equipment on ground, wall) or anyone before rolling back fair before reaching the base it is a fair ball. If a ball hits fair and then passes the base in fair territory or if it passes the base in fair territory and then lands fair…it is a fair ball.

      • spudchukar - Oct 20, 2011 at 9:27 AM

        Exactamente.

      • buddaley - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:23 AM

        That is exactly my point. The problem here is that the ball never bounced fair before reaching the bag. It bounced foul, then crossed the bag in the air (presumably over the bag, but never touching the ground) before bouncing fair beyond the bag. I don’t know what the rule is on that.

        For example, if a ball lands fair beyond 1B without ever touching the ground first, we know it is fair, no matter if it crossed the base in fair or foul territory while in the air. If it lands foul beyond 1B without ever touching the ground first, we know it is foul, again, no matter if it crossed the base fair or foul while in the air. If it touches the ground fair and then crosses directly over 1B in the air and lands foul, we know it is fair.

        But…what if it touches the ground foul, then crosses directly over the base and lands fair? I think it is fair, but am not certain.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:50 AM

        Yes, that is the rule. If it is a ground ball it merely has to cross over any part of the bag. Where the ball first hits is irrelevant. For that matter, where the ball lands after crossing the bag is irrelevant. It is all about where the ball is as it crosses over first/third base. In this instance, the ball clearly was over the first base after taking that gigantic hop. It was a fair ball and beyond dispute.

      • anxovies - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:58 AM

        Correct. Always has been.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:55 PM

        The bag is in fair terroritory. If the ball passes over the bag, it has to be fair. Nothing else matters.

    • anxovies - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:06 PM

      It’s real simple, if the ball touches the ground anywhere, fair or foul, and then goes over 1st base in fair territory, it is a fair ball (even if it hooks and lands back in foul territory). If it first touches the ground after passing 1B and lands in foul territory, it is a foul ball.

  5. gmsingh - Oct 20, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    There’s no room in sabermetrics for “magicians”.

  6. browngoat25 - Oct 20, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    A request for a rule clarification: If a ball crosses the bag in fair territory, but lands foul (imagine a hooking line drive), is it a fair ball?

    • anythingbutyanks - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      If the first contact of the ball with the ground (or other object) is foul and beyond first or third bases, the ball is foul.

    • buddaley - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:30 AM

      If it is a hooking line drive, it is foul.

      In this case, the ball acted in ways that seem as if 2 opposite rules apply. It never hit fair before crossing the base. Had it never hit the ground, that would make it foul.

      But it also hit the ground once, albeit foul, and then crossed the bag fair and landed fair. That suggests it should be fair.

      But as it never rolled into fair territory before the bag, and only hit the ground foul before landing fair beyond the base, what is it? I think fair but need to check the rule book to be certain.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:53 AM

        Don’t bother checking the rule book…..when it is a ground ball it is all about where the ball is as it crosses first/third base. If it crosses any portion of the base it is fair. Everything else is irrelevant. Hell, the ball could first hit foul bounce in the air over first base then get blown by a gust of wind and land in foul territory and it was still be a fair ball.

  7. stlouis1baseball - Oct 20, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Haven’t seen anyone mention this…but what about that B.B. Yadi threw in the 1st to get Kinsler by about 4 feet? Talk about setting the tone. Then Carp dives for A.P’s lollipop of a throw and makes an unbelievalbe play to get Andrus at 1st. Top of the 6th (2 outs with a guy on 3rd)…A.P. saves a run by robbing Michael Young of a base hit. And Carp (who has one of the best hooks in the game)…only throws 7 of them with the weather being like it is (couldn’t really feel the seams on the ball). He pretty much threw all cutters and sinkers. To battle…battle…battle…without having his best stuff. As a Cardinals fan..you come to expect that out of him. Just a great all around game by the Cardinals! At this point…they haven’t done ANYTHING yet. They gotta’ get 3 more wins then we can talk about accomplishments. But so far…so good. Go Cardinals!

    • spudchukar - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      Yep, those plays had to get the jitters out and established a real momentum. Plus now Carp still has the “yellow-hammer” up his sleeve. When we have Furcal and Punto in the line-up, and up until last night the excellent play at 3B by Freese, we become a very good defensive infield, which goes unnoticed. Not a bad tag by Punto on the hit and run too.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 20, 2011 at 1:57 PM

        It would be nice if TLR moved Freese back to the freaking dirt. I mean…playing even with the bag would be nice. Come on…he could have fielded Beltre’s first shot down the line (and almost did playing in stinking bunt position).

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