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Reactions: Cards Head to Texas With World Series Tied 1-1

October 21, 2011

Chris Carpenter dives into first base to secure an out in the first inning of Game One.

The Cardinals head to Arlington with the series all knotted up, after winning Game 1 by a score of 3-2 and dropping Game 2 in the final inning by the score of 2-1 . The World Series excitement is here and both teams have had their share of success.

With all of the offense expected in this series, it has been very suprising that through two games there has only been a total of 8 runs scored. But this should definitely change in the hitter friendly Rangers Ballpark.

Allen Craig is proving that he belongs as an everyday starter in the big leagues. Two nights, two clutch hits off of Ogando, one of the best relievers in the business. The Cardinals look to get a big boost in Texas with the presence of Craig’s bat in the lineup, as he will either DH or take over right field and allow Lance Berkman to DH in the American league style game.

The Cardinals starting pitching has been superb through the first two contests. Both Carp and Jaime have held the potent Rangers lineup in check. Tough luck for Jaime who went seven scoreless innings but did not receive a win.

Both managers have received their fair share of criticism. Tony LaRussa outwitted Ron Washington in Game 1. Wash didn’t utilize his two best bats off the bench, and his move of bringing in Ogando didn’t pay off (and didn’t once again in Game 2), as Craig came in cold off the Cards bench and produced the Game 1 winning RBI. Tony pushed all the right buttons with his bullpen as they did a phenomenal job of shutting the Texas hitters down.

The ninth inning was rough on Thursday night. Nothing seemed to go right for the Cardinals. It definitely was not Tony’s fault. Everyone should share the blame, and keep their heads high, because this tragic ending reminded us of how quick a game can change and how it only takes one or two mistakes to give away a game. Motte came in to try and finish the game off. A bloop single got the leadoff runner on, and that was followed up by the only solid hit of the inning. Then came the most interestingly bad play of the night. Elvis Andrus shot a ball out to Jay in centerfield. No outs. A runner, Kinsler, on second. The throw comes in a little off line as the lead runner holds up at third. And Albert Pujols, in position, fails to cut it off, allowing Andrus to coast into second.

You know the rest of the story. Tony goes to the bullpen. Rhodes gives up a fly ball. Kinsler tags and scores. Andrus tags and advances to third. Lynn comes in and gives up a fly ball. Andrus scores. Next batter, grounder to Descalso at third for the final out of the inning.

Who does the blame go to? I don’t know if there is a definite answer to this question. It’s tough to place it on Motte. Yes, he wasn’t effective. But looking at his performance, he gave up one bad pitch that was drilled for a single. Arthur Rhodes and Lance Lynn came in and sent their three batters down in order. The only problem: 2 of the outs came via fly balls that allowed the sacrifice.

In my opinion, the blame should be placed on Albert. And it’s not just for the reason you’d expect. Sure, it probably would’ve kept the score tied if he had cut of Jay’s throw from centerfield. But the ninth inning did not need to matter. Jaime Garcia pitched the game of his life. No runs, seven innings. Albert, the Cards superstar, and the rest of the NL-leading offense needed to back Jaime with more run support. It’s not like Nolan Ryan made a comeback and pitched in this game. The Cardinals simply needed to capitalize on offense. You should never expect to win a game, nonetheless a World Series game, when you score only one run.

This was a tough one to take as a die-hard Cards fan. But you’ve got to take this time to appreciate the run the hometown team has been on. No one expected the Cards to still be playing. Not even the most optimistic Cardinals fans could have honestly predicted this. If the club comes up short, we have nothing to be ashamed of.

But while we’re here, why not win it? The series has yet to be decided. Go in and make a statement in Game 3 and the momentum is back on our side.

Thanks for reading.

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