Monday, October 24, 2011

10/24/11 St Louis Cardinals 2, Texas Rangers 4

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, TX
2011 World Series Game 5

His name is Mike Napoli…there should be no question as to the ‘now’ value of his signing to the Rangers this year. Jeff Mathis couldn’t do any of this.

The World Series and the Texas Rangers work things up to a feverish pitch (pun completely intended) as a game that certainly seemed within the arms (pun also intended) of the Cardinals got out of hand. In true glitzy postseason fashion, the out-of-handedness turns out to be the fault of two botched calls, but not at the hands of an umpire…

The Cardinals did their thing and scored early, putting 2 on the board in the 2nd inning thanks to a Yadier Molina single-plus-David Murphy error and a Skip Schumaker groundout. The opportunity to drive a few more nails into the coffin expired when Nick Punto flew out to LF, stranding Molina. At this time, the most memorable moment had to be when Punto appeared to attempt a Bo Jackson Bat Break in frustration, only to vacate this idea without shedding a single splinter. Punto had a reason to be slightly miffed, as he was robbed by a brilliant David Murphy catch, the kind of catch that screams of redemption after his fielding error.

Mitch Moreland broke his postseason silence with this decisively clubbed solo HR response in the 3rd. After I recovered from my awe, I felt as if now that Chris Carpenter had tasted blood, he would work even better than he had up to this point, in this game. Adrian Beltre, after nearly striking out “on his knee” earlier, dismissed the taste of blood with a solo shot of his own in the 6th inning, again “on his knee,” and tying the game at 2 apiece.

Napoli seals the deal in the 8th, with a 2-RBI double off Marc Rzepczynski. Napoli is an OPS beast, and he loves pitches up in the zone. With all the strategy behind intentional walks and Pujols (who was intentionally walked 3 times during this contest), you’d think that TLR would consider offering Napoli free passes…pitching to him just isn’t working out.

Botched calls seemed to prevent the Cardinals from responding to the Rangers offense. I’m not a fan of isolating one event in a game (or even two) as a ‘turning point,’ each failed opportunity expires to present another opportunity. However, the two celebrated botched calls extended a postseason focus on communication issues that didn’t doom the Cardinals in this game, but they certainly didn’t help a bunch.

The first of these was a failed hit-and-run that was put on by Albert Pujols in the 7th, with Allen Craig caught at 2nd base on the play. Craig was caught again in Pujols’ next at-bat.

Then there was the call for Motte in the 8th…the Bullpen phone story is high baseball comedy at its finest…I must admit, I knew nothing of this until the next morning, when some of my associates thought it would be comical to outfit my cube with cans attached to strings; before I had a chance to watch the post-game press conference.

At best, this incident alone has led to a resurgence of phone humor, something I explicitly adore. I mean, I work with phones all day long…as a baseball fan on top of this, my cup definitely runneth over.

This image was originally posted by Big League Stew blogger Rob Iracane, and represents the best of the barbs out there so far…

SCOREKEEPER’S NOTE: Lance Berkman’s game-ending dribble ball was scored as a “dropped third strike” K, PO 2-3.

Rangers lead the Series 3-2

He said WHAT?!? Click on this link to see Tim McCarver’s Quote of the Game

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