Tag:2011 playoffs
Posted on: October 29, 2011 12:03 am
Edited on: October 29, 2011 12:26 am

2011 World Series best in a decade

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cardinals are the World Series champions, but for one of the few times in recent memory, baseball fans were rewarded with an exciting, entertaining World Series. Looking over the last 10 World Series, there have been some stinkers -- good storylines, but often better storylines than games. Here's looking at the last 10 World Series and ranking them by what happened on the field and on the field only, with 2011, of course, leading the way in a landslide.

1. 2011: Cardinals over Rangers in 7

MVP: David Freese
What it's remembered for: Well, we'll see -- it could be Chris Carpenter's gutty Game 7 effort, Albert Pujols' historic Game 3 performance, David Freese's Game 6 heroics, Tony La Russa's Game 5 blunders, the Cardinals' rally from being down to their last strike twice in Game 6 or even Mike Napoli's amazing series. It's probably too early to tell -- just like it's to early to tell where this one will fall in the list of all-time great series, but we do know for sure right now that it's the best we've seen in a while.

2. 2002: Angels over Giants in 7
MVP: Troy Glaus
What it's remembered for: With the Giants just eight outs from the title, manager Dusty Baker pulled Russ Ortiz with one out in the seventh after back-to-back singles. Baker handed Ortiz the game ball before sending him back to the dugout before Scott Spiezio hit a three-run homer off of Felix Rodriguez. The Angeles rallied for three more runs in the eighth inning to win 6-5 and went on to win Game 7 behind John Lackey.

3. 2003:
Marlins over Yankees in 6
MVP: Josh Beckett
What it's remembered for: Beckett started Game 6 on three days' rest and shutout the Yankees on five hits to clinch the title at Yankee Stadium.

4. 2009:
Yankees over Phillies in 6
MVP: Hideki Matsui
What it's remembered for: Long-time Yankee nemesis Pedro Martinez started Game 6 for the Phillies, but was taken out of the game after giving up four runs in the first four innings and took the loss, while Andy Pettitte recorded his record 18th career postseason victory. It was the last game Martinez would pitch in the majors.

5. 2010: Giants over Rangers in 5
MVP: Edgar Renteria
What its' remembered for: After missing most of the season with several injuries, Edgar Renteria hit a three-run home run off of Cliff Lee in the seventh inning of Game 5 that was enough for a 3-1 victory, clinching the Giants title. Renteria joined Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig to have two series-winning hits.

6. 2005: White Sox over Astros in 4
MVP: Jermaine Dye
What it's remembered for: Like the other Sox, the White version had a long drought of its own broken, but White Sox fans never really whined as much as Red Sox fans so it was less celebrated. Although the White Sox swept the series, no game was decided by more than two runs, with Scott Podsednik hitting a walk-off homer in Game 2 off of Brad Lidge after the Astros rallied to tied the game with two runs in the ninth. Podsednik hadn't hit a home run in the entire 2005 regular season, but it was his second of the postseason.

7: 2008: Phillies over Rays in 5
MVP: Cole Hamels
What it's remembered for: Rain. Game 3 was delayed for an hour and a half, while Game 5 was started on Oct. 27 and suspended in the top of the sixth inning with the score tied at 2. The game was completed two days later with the Phillies winning 4-3. It was the first suspended game in World Series history.

8. 2004:
Red Sox over Cardinals in 4
MVP: Manny Ramirez
What it's remembered for: Because the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino, the series itself is remembered more fondly than the play on the field merited. Despite Boston's complete domination of the series and an early 3-0 lead in Game 4 (to go along with the 3-0 series lead at the time), for many Red Sox fans, it wasn't until Keith Foulke flipped the ball to Doug Mientkiewicz for the final out did they believe the Red Sox would actually win the series. (There's also the whole Curt Schilling bloody sock episode that would be in this spot if it weren't for that whole curse thing).

9. 2007:
Red Sox over Rockies in 4
MVP: Mike Lowell
What it's remembered for: Dustin Pedroia led off Game 1 in Boston with a home run and the series kind of followed suit from there. Boston trailed only once in the entire series -- falling behind 1-0 in the first of Game 2, only to win that game 2-1.

10. 2006:  Cardinals over Tigers in 5
MVP: David Eckstein
What it's remembered for: How bad was this series on the field? Well, there were 12 errors committed in the five games and three of the five games featured errors by both teams. There was a game pushed back by rain and the most memorable moment was probably a guy washing his hands. In Game 2, the drama (aided by Tim McCarver's yapping) was the mystery of a mixture of dirt and rosin on Kenny Rogers' hand in the first inning. He went on to pitch eight shutout innings and allowed just two hits in the Tigers' only victory of the series.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 11:22 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 11:32 pm

Cardinals beat Rangers, win World Series


By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- For the 11th time in franchise history, the St. Louis Cardinals are World Series champions. They won Game 7 Friday night to once again secure the crown.

Hero: Have to go with Chris Carpenter here. He is 36, had already piled up 250-plus innings (regular season and postseason) on his gimpy elbow and was going on three days' rest for just the second time in his career. And the first four batters he faced? Single, walk, double, double. But that was it. Two runs. He ended up working six strong and holding down the powerful Rangers' offense. You can't say enough about the effort from the ace. Yes, that's his job. But it doesn't mean he's not the hero of Game 7.

Goat: Scott Feldman faced six batters. He walked three (one intentional, sure) and hit one with a pitch. It was just a 3-2 game before Feldman's brutal 2/3 of an inning. By the time C.J. Wilson hit a man with the bases loaded (which Feldman left him), it was 5-2 Cardinals and the feeling that the game was over had started to seep into Busch Stadium. There's a lot of blame to go around, but Feldman's debacle was the worst.

Turning point: The Rangers had all the momentum after the top of the first, but the Cardinals answered right back with two of their own in the first. And then Allen Craig hit a home run in the bottom of the third, and the Cardinals had everything under control.

It was over when ... Yadier Molina singled to tack on the sixth run. It was the bottom of the seventh, and a 6-2 lead -- combined with the general feel that it was the nail in the proverbial coffin -- appeared insurmountable. And it was.

Next: Pitchers and catchers report in mid-February. We'll also be getting free agency and trades here quite soon in the offseason. If you combine the improbable runs of the Cardinals and Rays in the regular with the great postseason -- and heart-stopping World Series -- this has to go down as one of the great seasons in recent memory. It's time to just reflect back on all the exciting baseball we saw this season, especially in the past six weeks.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 10:33 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 10:38 pm

Allen Craig robs Nelson Cruz of record

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Nelson Cruz has eight home runs this postseason, which is tied for the major-league record with Carlos Beltran and Barry Bonds. Friday night in the sixth inning, Cruz hit what could have been the record-setter. But Cardinals left fielder Allen Craig -- filling in for the injured Matt Holliday -- had other ideas.

As you can see from the picture, Craig fully extended and jumped just at the right time, hauling in Cruz's deep fly, which now simply shows on my scoresheet as a "7." Now, let's say it altogether in our best Soup Nazi voice: No record for you!

Craig is having himself quite the World Series and making a name for himself with the national audience. We'll certainly have more on him after the game, assuming the Cardinals hold onto their 5-2 lead (through 6 1/2 innings).

Follow along live on CBSportscom's GameTracker

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 9:21 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 9:35 pm

Carpenter settles in after rocky beginning


By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- We all knew Chris Carpenter had never made a start on three days' rest until Game 2 of the NLDS, and he had a bad outing. We all knew he entered Game 7 of the World Series as a 36-year-old pitcher who had thrown over 250 innings this year (regular and postseason combined). And then the first four hitters he faced reached base and the Cardinals trailed 2-0 before he even recorded an out.

Since then, however, he's settled in. Excluding those first four hitters, Carpenter has now thrown 3 2/3 innings and allowed just one hit while striking out four. He's still not as in control as usual -- two walks and a hit-by pitch so far -- but he's on short rest. That's to be expected.

It's 3-2 Cardinals, but things will likely change in a hurry. Stay tuned ...

Follow along live on CBSportscom's GameTracker

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 3:35 pm

Game 7 weather: All clear

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- The above picture was taken from the field with roughly five hours until the first pitch. So, yeah, it's a great day for baseball in St. Louis. I'm not sure the action on the field could possibly match what we've seen so far this series, but it wouldn't be surprising if we had yet another epic contest. Fortunately, the weather is not going to be part of the story.

With the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT, Weather.com says it should be about 50 degrees with a 10 percent chance of rain. The hourly forecast shows a dip down to the mid-40s and a 10 percent chance of rain throughout. Simply put, expect clear skies and a great night of uninterrupted baseball.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 2:02 pm

Matt Holliday removed from World Series roster

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals All-Star left fielder Matt Holliday will not play in Game 7 of the World Series. He's been replaced on the World Series roster by rookie Adron Chambers. Expect Allen Craig to get the start in left field for St. Louis.

Holliday said Thursday night that he was hoping to play in Game 7, but obviously things looked worse Friday when he woke up. The interesting thing here is that Thursday night Holliday's announced injury was a severely bruised right pinky finger. Friday, the Cardinals announced he's been removed from the official World Series roster due to a sprained right wrist. Still, everything could have easily happened on that one play -- when Holliday was picked off third base by Rangers catcher Mike Napoli. The biggest issue was said to be whether or not he could properly grip a bat, so obviously he can't.

If you're wondering how this move can be made right now, here's why, directly from the press release: "MLB Postseason rules provide that injured players can be replaced during the World Series if the severity of the injury, as determined by Major League Baseball, is such that it would require a disabled list assignment during the regular season."

Holliday is hitting .158 with no RBI this World Series, though he has drawn enough walks to rack up a .385 on-base percentage and five runs scored. Craig is 4-for-15 (.267), but those four hits were all huge. He has two home runs and two go-ahead, RBI singles. Chambers is nothing more than bench depth at this point.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 1:03 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 4:42 pm

World Series Game 6 dominates in TV ratings

By Evan Brunell

World Series Game 6 crushed its competition in the rating. The ratings for Thursday night showed that 21.1 million people tuned into the game between the Rangers and Cardinals, with extra innings drawing 25.2 million viewers. That allowed Fox to win the nightly rating sweepstakes, and in convincing fashion But the good news doesn't stop there for baseball. It also dominated in the coveted ages 18-49 demographic, pulling in at least a 5.9 rating.

The 9.3 household rating average for the Series to date is 11 percent higher than 2010's series putting the Rangers against the Giants, even though San Francisco has twice as many homes as St. Louis. In the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, a 47.1 household rating was recorded, the highest ever for a MLB game in the area. Over 80 percent of TVs in St. Louis and Dallas were tuned to the game for extra innings.

In light of a Game 7, CBS has pulled its shows of CSI: NY, Blue Bloods and A Gifted Man from the lineup as so not to go up head-to-head to the game. NBC is also considering pulling its TV lineup, which includes the season premiere of Chuck and series premiere of Grimm, but is unlikely to do given the amount of promotion that went into having these shows premiere on Oct. 28.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 28, 2011 4:04 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 4:02 pm

World Series Game 7: Harrison in spotlight

By Matt Snyder

Rangers at Cardinals, 7:05 p.m. CT, Busch Stadium, St. Louis. Series is tied, 3-3.

ST. LOUIS -- While there is rightfully plenty of focus on the Cardinals' Game 7 starter -- it's Chris Carpenter, even though the Cardinals wouldn't say anything on record Thursday night -- I've gotten a good chuckle out of the public reaction to Rangers manager Ron Washington naming Matt Harrison the Game 7 starter.

World Series Coverage
Remember back to before Game 4 of this series. Washington was said by many to be making a mistake in letting Derek Holland start, considering Holland was abysmal in the ALCS. And Holland went out and handcuffed the Cardinals for 8 1/3 innings. So now Washington is being questioned for using Holland in Game 6 in relief and going with Matt Harrison as the Game 7 starter. It's amazing how short-term memories rule the day.

Let us also realize Harrison wasn't that far from having a much better outing in Game 3. He was the victim of bad defense and a botched call in the top of the fourth inning when everything came unraveled. It's entirely possible that if Ron Kulpa made the correct call at first base and the defense was perfect behind him that Harrison comes away with a win.

With a 3.39 regular-season ERA, Harrison is no slouch. Plus, Holland will surely be in relief again -- he did a good job in relief in Game 6 after Alexi Ogando's pathetic effort. It would be foolish to count the Rangers out and it would be incredibly short-sighted to question Washington's decision on a Game 7 starter.

Then again, don't you have to like the Cardinals' chances when simply looking at Carpenter vs. Harrison?


Carpenter vs. Rangers:
In 13 innings this World Series, Carpenter has allowed 11 hits, four earned runs and three walks while striking out eight. He has been susceptible to the longball, as he's coughed up three homers. Both Adrian Beltre (4-for-8 with a home run) and Mike Napoli (4-for-8 with two home runs) have hit Carpenter well. Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young (all hitting .167 off Carpenter) do not.

Harrison vs. Cardinals: All we have to go on was Game 3, and it was bad. Harrison was roughed up for five runs (three earned) on six hits in just 3 2/3 innings. The Rangers' pitchers would allow 16 runs in that game. There's no question the result was bad, but -- as stated above -- we have to keep it in context. The only Cardinals player who has more than one career hit off Harrison doesn't even play (Gerald Laird). Allen Craig has homered off Harrison while David Freese has doubled, otherwise it's just a bunch of three at-bat samples with a single or walk mixed in. There really isn't much to draw from.


Rangers Cardinals
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Ian Kinsler 2B 1 Ryan Theriot 2B
2 Elvis Andrus SS 2 Allen Craig LF
3 Josh Hamilton CF 3 Albert Pujols 1B
4 Michael Young 1B 4 Lance Berkman RF
5 Adrian Beltre 3B 5 David Freese 3B
6 Nelson Cruz RF 6 Yadier Molina C
7 Mike Napoli C 7 Rafael Furcal SS
8 David Murphy LF 8 Skip Schumaker CF
9 Matt Harrison LHP 9 Chris Carpenter RHP


• The Rangers have still not lost back-to-back games since August, but the Cardinals have refused elimination even under the most dire circumstances. Game 7 will mark the ultimate test and something absolutely will give. It's just a question of which team does so.

• Carpenter was hit pretty hard in his only other start on three days' rest: Game 2 of the NLDS against the Phillies and it's worth noting the Rangers have a much better offense than Philly.

• Rangers ace C.J. Wilson will be available out of the bullpen, just as Holland should be as well. For the Cardinals, expect Edwin Jackson and Kyle Lohse to be available if need be -- this time with their arms, not just bats. 

Matt Holliday is done, but Cruz and Napoli are both playing. It will be most interesting to see how Napoli's ankle will react after being hyperextended?

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com