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For Tigers and Dodgers, injuries make you wonder what could have been

Oct 20, 2013, 12:10 AM EDT

Miguel Cabrera Getty Getty Images

Cardinals starter Michael Wacha went home with the NLCS MVP hardware, but perhaps it should have gone to Joe Kelly. Kelly started off the series by drilling shortstop Hanley Ramirez — one of the most productive players during the regular season, and a godsend to the Dodgers in the NLDS — in the ribs with a 95 MPH fastball. Tests later confirmed that Ramirez suffered a cracked rib, but he played through it for the rest of the series. He was ineffective, logging just two hits (both singles) in 19 trips to the plate.

Meanwhile, the Tigers watched a hobbled Miguel Cabrera play out the final two months of the regular season. At one point, he was in a position to take the lead in all three Triple Crown categories, but slowed by a groin injury, Chris Davis jumped far ahead in the home run race. Cabrera was able to muster just one home run in 86 plate appearances in the final month of the season. During the ALDS, he was exploited by Athletics pitching, which held him to no more than one hit per game. He hit just one home run and batted .250. In the ALCS, the Red Sox staff limited him to one or fewer hits in five of six games, and let him homer just once. Cabrera hit .273 in the series.

As both the ALCS and NLCS went six games, one has to wonder what kind of an impact a healthy Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera would have had on their teams’ respective fates. They will, unfortunately, watch the World Series from home as the Red Sox and Cardinals match up in the World Series, starting on Wednesday.

  1. janknessgv - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    And what if the Cardinals had Craig, Carpenter, Garcia, Motte, Furcal healthy? would the Dodgers have even won a game? Injuries happen to everyone. Donnie baseball affected the Cards Dodgers series much more negatively than injuries did for the dodgers.

    • Anoesis - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:15 AM

      I didn’t know any of those guys were your hottest hitters and I must have missed where Dodger pitchers drilled them all.

      • jya87 - Oct 20, 2013 at 2:34 AM

        I think the interesting thing is not so much who each team was missing, since every team has to cope with injuries during the regular season, but that you don’t expect a big injury to happen DURING the postseason.

        For that reason, a handicapped Cabrera is similar to the hobbled Ethier. Both were less than 100% when they came into the playoffs, and you expected the teams to deal with that.

        But Ramirez? After the Cards knew that Hanley was seriously hurt, their pitchers went from intentionally walking him to challenging him. Honest question: When’s the last time such a key player was hurt during the postseason?

      • fearlessleader - Oct 20, 2013 at 3:32 AM

        It seems to me that if you’re going to blame Kelly for (obviously unintentionally) hitting Hanley, you also need to blame Don Mattingly for continuing to trot out a shortstop and three-hole hitter who could neither dive for a ball nor swing a bat. There’s no way Punto could have been any less effective than Ramirez was during several of those games, yet he sat on the bench while Hanley struggled through every facet of the game.

      • eric0611 - Oct 20, 2013 at 3:59 AM

        Are you retarded? You didn’t know Craig was our hottest hitter?? He has the best batting average with runners in scoring position in history. C’mon man

      • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 20, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        I also don’t see those players on the postseason roster.

        But I do know you can’t spell Joe Kelly without J-O-K-E.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 20, 2013 at 2:11 PM

        Hi… Fartknocker…

        The Dodgers didn’t injure Allen Craig. A proper analogy would be Allen Craig : Matt Kemp.

        But being the Best Fans on the Planet doesn’t mean you can read. It’s just means that you’re so freaking awesome, and that we’re so glad you can grace us with your presence.

        Thanks, Cards fans. You ARE the best.

    • 1972batman - Oct 20, 2013 at 2:57 AM

      I don’t think Hanley’s injury had anything to do with the fact that Kershaw pitched poorly in Game 6. He pitched about as poorly as Kelly did in Game 5. It’s about being able to execute when the chips are on the table.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 20, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        Of course you don’t see how Hanley’s injury stopped the Dodgers from scoring enough runs in the first or second ballgame. Why would you? Better yet, why SHOULD you? You are, after all, THE COOLEST FUCKING FANS ON THE PLANET.

        There. I wrote it extra big for your obviously poor eyesight.

    • gibbyfan - Oct 20, 2013 at 7:25 AM

      You Have got to be kidding Bill —The record will show that the Cardinal suffered horrendous injuries not only for the series but many for the entir eor most of the year. Carpenter might have been their ace–a cy young award winner……..garcia their number 3 guy in the rotation, furcal their starting a ss and good one both offensively and defensively, Craig was indeed their hottest hitter and if you look at the stats he was right up ther ewith Hanley…..they lost their closer and then the next two guys in line to be closer both melted down………………I mean all year long their overcomin ginjuries was a significant story–apparently neither you or several of your readers was aware

    • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 20, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      You obviously fail to see the difference between a cracked rib on the clean-up hitter of a 25 man squad and the injuries of folks not on your 25 man postseason roster. But it’s okay, because you’re one of the best fans ever. You rock, and the rest of the world, with its stinking factual actualities, pales in comparison to you being a winner, no debate about it.

      It’s true; I’ve seen the light. I now wake up every morning and thank God for the sanctity of the St. Louis Cardinals.

      • fearlessleader - Oct 20, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        Talk amongst yourselves. I’ll give you a topic: Koufaxmitzvah’s recent spate of unnecessarily dickish comments are not worthy of the name “Koufax” or the word “mitzvah.” Discuss.

      • jrfstl - Oct 20, 2013 at 5:29 PM

        Stinking factual actuality #1: Koufaxmitzvah’s been abducted and replaced with a peevish 12-year-old prick.

  2. jcmeyer10 - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    What’s funny is if the Red Sox had a lack of injuries (Bailey, Miller, etc.) who knows if they would have gotten to the World Series. Funny stuff.

    • thekingdave - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:40 AM

      Yeah, I’m giggling like a prepubescent school girl.

    • aceshigh11 - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:30 AM


      I mean…it’s beyond weird. If Hanrahan and/or Bailey managed to stay healthy, the Sox are watching the ALCS from their couches this year, guaranteed.

      I don’t wish injuries on anyone, but there’s no denying that Koji was a gift from the baseball gods.

      (not to take anything away from the rest of this team, which has been AMAZING all year)

  3. riverace19 - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:57 AM

    This is a dumb article. Miggy can’t get guys out in the 7th inning and beyond even at his finest.

  4. cadillacjosh - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    Not having a healthy Matt Kemp was pretty big for the Dodgers, too.

  5. cabrera24 - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    Last thing I wanna hear is the word “injuries” . Prince fielder didn’t do nothing ….. What else is new ?

    • aceshigh11 - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:40 AM

      Well Papi didn’t do anything aside from his grand slam…sole hit in the series I believe.

      It was a BIG one though…something Fielder couldn’t do.

  6. Anoesis - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    With Kemp out and Either off (way off), Ramirez was the offense’s spark plug. Kelly and Greg Gibson should be co-MVPs for Cards.

  7. sisisisisisisi - Oct 20, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    Someone please tell me what has Kemp done the last 2 years for the Dodgers beside a regular to the DL

    He’s a non-factor healthy or not

    • mkprz - Oct 20, 2013 at 2:56 AM

      He is a $20,000,000 pair of continual crutches

  8. acdc84 - Oct 20, 2013 at 2:47 AM

    Most definately, Kelly was the MVP in that series for good reason, cuz taking out the other teams’ best player with a cheap inside pitch in the first inning of the first game proved invaluable. If Danny Green had “accidentally” dove at Lebron’s knee in game 1 of the Finals, or if Aldon Smith had “mistakenly” dove at Flacco’s knee in the first quarter of the SB, we very well might have had different NBA Finals and Superbowl Champs! Fortunately the Spurs and 49ers stayed classy, DIDN’T take cheap shots, and lost but lost with class. Win or lose, u can’t accuse the cardinals of being classy as their entire plan to win was based on injuring their opponent’s very best hitter and avoiding MLB’s best second half star…

    • fearlessleader - Oct 20, 2013 at 3:35 AM

      Yes, yes, if it helps you sleep at night, dear.

    • eric0611 - Oct 20, 2013 at 4:04 AM

      How many players have been hit by a pitch and not been injured?? 99% is the answer so give me a break on Kelly intentionally injuring Ramirez, that’s absolutely ridiculous.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Oct 20, 2013 at 2:14 PM

        But Puig flipping his bat is worthy of your scorn.

        Thank Goodness. Because with you being the best and all, I’d hate for you to be considered stupid or just plain wrong.

  9. mkprz - Oct 20, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    Young pitchers are trying to establish their “territory.” That their aren’t afraid to go toe-yo-toe with the best of them
    Trying to show those hitters that they can back them up or even hit them. A little “chin music.”
    it’s like a little “Chicken Hawk” proving to the league that they aren’ afraid to go toe-to-toe with the best.
    It’s part of the initiation.
    He hit him intentionally, but I’m sure he never thought it was going to break a rib, but it was no accident.
    Maybe one day you’ll get to talk to some retired Major League pitcher and hear the truth.
    Its like when one of your guys gets hit, you hit their guy.

  10. nandeezy33 - Oct 20, 2013 at 4:39 AM

    When did “intentional” become throwing and inside pitch in a 1-2 count, runner on first and 2 out? It clearly got away from him.

    Now if LaRussa was still managing, then perhaps you may have a ring to your tone when you say “classless” and “intentional”.

    Face it. Kershaw couldn’t step up his game. Puig couldn’t be mature for one month( while also severely lacking baseball fundamentals). And Mattingly out coached himself. He should’ve sat back and let Matheny make himself look bad. He was on the cusp. (Thanks for the bail out)

    • mkprz - Oct 21, 2013 at 2:08 AM

      A 1-2 count means nothing if you can take the Dodgers’ best batter out of the game, maybe two games.
      It worked, 1-2 count and all.

  11. deborahagriffin - Oct 20, 2013 at 7:12 AM

    as Lisa explained I am alarmed that some people can make $4548 in 4 weeks on the computer. get more ———————-www.bay96 com

  12. db1001 - Oct 20, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    baseballs not about the team thats better, its about the team that wins.

  13. creek0512 - Oct 20, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    No doubt Hanley would have hit a 10 run homer to win game six had he been healthy.

  14. thesportsjudge - Oct 20, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    If I had won $100 miillion when I was 18, I never would have had to work, but that DIDN’T happen, so I don’t waste my time wondering “What if”.

    Regarding Cabrera, maybe, just maybe they should have rested him before the playoffs.

  15. Carl Hancock - Oct 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    What if? Who cares about what if because it doesn’t matter. All that matters is what is. But I guess you needed something to write about. What if you didn’t ask what if?

  16. nandeezy33 - Oct 21, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    Wtf is up with these snippy dodger fan comments????
    All if you want to harass us cardinal fans for being “best in baseball” or “purposely injuring your best player”. Dudes!!!! Let these guys play the frickin series out!!!

    They did. And two glaring issues stood out to me….

    Your CyYoung pitcher, Mr soon to be $300mil richer pitcher did not step up when it mattered most. Yet again another LA team is about to blow some money.

    And Dodger fans praised and Worshiped a 22 year old rookie. A player who lacks fundamentals, maturity, and respect. I will assume your veterans of the team and a HOF baseball player/coach “tried” to teach him lessons. But it was obvious he does his own thing.

    Three games stand out to me as to why the dodgers lost. Get over yourself and pray that one lives up to his contract and the other quickly learns to play baseball

    • mkprz - Oct 21, 2013 at 2:06 AM

      Here is what happened…the Cardinals beat the Dodgers, and that is it.
      Better luck next time.
      Go Dodgers.
      Cardinals, beat the Red Sox!!!

  17. mkprz - Oct 21, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    I love my Dodgers, but what “could have been” was a better manager.
    Sorry Donny, you were out coached and you made bad decisions for your team.

  18. mkprz - Oct 21, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    My Dodgers lost and that sucks, but it was about who was better when it counted.
    Sadly, we just could not do it with all we had.
    The Cardinals beat us. Simple as that.
    Go National League and beat the Sox.

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