Tag:2011 playoffs
Posted on: October 28, 2011 3:18 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 4:25 am

Overheard: Notes, quotes from World Series Game 6

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Here are some of the post-game notes and quotes from Busch Stadium after an epic Game 6 of the World Series.

• Wrap your head around this one. Other than his historic Game 3 performance, Albert Pujols was 0-for-16 in the series until his ninth-inning double. But he did double. Still, in light of that, would Rangers manager Ron Washington have been better served to try and pitch to Pujols in the 10th inning with Berkman set to face a right-hander (the switch-hitting Berkman is a much more dangerous hitter from the left side)? I personally would have put Pujols on, but it didn't work, so Washington is sure to be second-guessed.

World Series Coverage
• Washington on being one strike away from the championship twice: "Well, you know, I understand that it's not over until you get the last out, and I was just sitting there praying that we'd get that last out, and we didn't get it. And you have to tip your hat to the Cardinals, the way they fought tonight and took the game from us."

Lance Berkman, on dreaming of coming through in a big spot in the World Series when you're a kid: "When you're a little kid and you're out there, you don't have a bunch of reporters and fans that are ready to call you a choking dog if you don't come through. (Laughter) So when you're a kid, you don't realize what a big moment that is. I'm just going to caution all little kids out there, be careful what you wish for."

• Did anyone notice none of the Rangers' three bunt attempts would have worked if Fernando Salas didn't make a throwing error?

• "If it's going to be replayed over and over again, I don't know, but it's really cool to be a part of this and to force a Game 7." -- David Freese, when told that his home run would be replayed forever.

• This is the first time since 2002 a World Series has gone all seven games. In the previous 36 instances a World Series went the distance, the home team won 19 times.

• Berkman on being one strike away from making the last out in a possible loss: "I actually felt pretty good about it because I figured I was in a no-lose situation. If you don't come through right there, it's only one at-bat and it's over with, and they might talk about it for a couple days, but it's not that big a deal. If you come through, it's the greatest, and plus you've built a little bank account of being able to come through, so that if I don't come through tomorrow I can be like, 'Well, I came through in Game 6, what do you want from me?'"

• The last time we saw a Game 6 or later walk-off home run in the World Series before Thursday night? Joe Carter in Toronto in 1993.

• The 2011 Cardinals and Rangers are now the top two teams ever in terms of postseason pitching changes. The Cardinals have the record with 71, while the Rangers are second with 65. The previous record was 62 by the 2002 Giants.

• "We'll bounce back tomorrow," Washington said. "We've been in some tough situations before. We've always responded, and I expect us to respond tomorrow." Also note the Rangers haven't lost two games in a row since August.

• The two teams combined for five errors and 23 men left on base. So, yeah, there were plenty of missed opportunities by each.

• Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on Matt Holliday's status: "Well, we thought at first he had fractured it, but I was told by the trainer later on that it's not a fracture, but I think it's swelling, and he's got a pretty good bruise there. So it may be we need to replace him for tomorrow."

• The attendance (47,325) was a Busch Stadium record. The previous record was Game 3 of the 2009 NLDS against the Dodgers.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 2:49 am
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Posted on: October 28, 2011 2:42 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 1:16 pm

Grading Game 6 of the World Series

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Wow. What a game. I'm trying to guard against hyperbole, but I feel like we just witnessed one of the greatest baseball games in World Series history -- one that will go down in history and still be talked about 30 years from now. I could easily be wrong, but that's how it feels right now. Still, time to buckle down and hand out some grades.

Baseball. That's all we need to put here. It's a sport that many people like to call boring and for some reason it's become cool for fans of other sports -- mostly football -- to constantly bash the sport. It's probably because of the "America's Pastime" moniker, but still a bit unfair to be so reviled by the people who aren't die-hard fans. Thursday night was baseball's big night. Game 6 was one for the ages. It most certainly wasn't perfect (see the D and F grades below), but in the end, this was one of the most exciting baseball games in memory, and we saw the Cardinals get within one out of being eliminated twice and still survive with the win in front of a record-setting Busch Stadium crowd. If you watched this game and weren't exhilarated, you don't have a pulse. Period.

David Freese tripled to tie the game in the ninth and then homered to win it in the 11th. So he's the hero. But, man, it was a rough night before that. We'll knock him down to a B for the awkward moment running into the rail in foul territory and the dropped pop up at third base, not to mention going 0-for-3 and leaving a pair of men on base before his huge triple in the ninth. Obviously the two huge hits erase all of that, but in looking at the whole game, I'm not going to forget the bad. He'll deal just fine a B, considering his team won and he's now etched in history.

The Rangers offense pounded out 15 hits and scored nine runs. They had two doubles and three home runs. So how can I possibly be giving them a C? Well, let's see ... they left 12 men on base. Twelve! When you get 15 hits and the Cardinals hand out five walks and three errors, you need to score more than nine runs, as weird as that sounds. It's like through six innings the Cardinals were trying to let the Rangers win and the Rangers just refused to let them. Things changed after that, but we cannot simply ignore what happened in the first half of the game.

The Cardinals' pitching and defense were sloppy early in the game. Starting pitcher Jaime Garcia didn't have his good stuff and received a quick hook. Matt Holliday made a horrible play in left field when he tried to allow Rafael Furcal to come all the way out to left field and make a catch -- then the two collided. Relief pitcher Fernando Salas air-mailed a throw to second base into center field. Freese had the aforementioned defensive gaffes. Rangers pitcher Derek Holland advanced to second on a wild pitch and then scored. Again, what the Cardinals did in the late innings more than made up for this, but it has to be a concern before Game 7.

The Rangers made mistakes, too. Michael Young had two pretty bad errors. Elvis Andrus uncharacteristically played a sure third out into a single when he hesitated on a grounder off Daniel Descalso's bat. Alexi Ogando walked the only two hitters he faced. And we can't be sure that Nelson Cruz could have caught Freese's triple, but he really looked lost out there. For a team that prides itself on defense, we've seen an awful lot of defensive miscues this series.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 2:07 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 4:26 am

Carpenter not named starter, but he's most likely

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- After the Cardinals' thrilling Game 6 victory over the Rangers, they'll have little time to celebrate. Game 7 starts roughly 19 1/2 hours after Game 6 ended. So the focus immediately shifts to the final game of the World Series, and whether or not Tony La Russa is going to bring back ace Chris Carpenter. As things stood after the game, there was no official word just yet.

"I just barely started to think about tomorrow, but actually it'll be fun to think about it now because there is a Game 7," La Russa said. (I) might just roll Jake (Westbrook) back out there, who knows."

It's pretty doubtful La Russa is seriously considering Westbrook. The other options as Game 7 starter would be Kyle Lohse and Edwin Jackson. Jackson's a much better bet than Lohse, but it just feels like a sure bet Carpenter is going to go -- even if he wouldn't say so either.

World Series Coverage
"We'll see what happens," he said in the locker room after the game. "It's not my choice, it's theirs."

Carpenter has already told reporters he's ready to start if called upon and he said that he would prepare all day Friday as if he is the starter.

This may be a situation where the decision has already been made and the Cardinals just didn't feel like telling anyone or wanted to allow the Game 6 heroics of David Freese, Lance Berkman and more to be the story.

During the regular season, Carpenter pitched on four days' rest 18 times, five days' rest 14 times and six days' rest once. He made zero starts on three days' rest. He did make his first start of this postseason on three days' rest, Game 2 of the NLDS versus the Phillies. He lasted only three innings that game, giving up five hits and four earned runs while walking three. And the Phillies offense is far inferior to the Rangers.

Then again, if your other options are Jackson and Lohse, don't you just roll the dice with Carpenter instead? I would. And it's pretty likely La Russa will, too.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 2:09 am

Cardinals win amazing Game 6 of World Series

David Freese

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- The never-say-die Cardinals have done it again. They came back from a two-run deficit with their backs against the wall not once, but twice. First in the bottom of the ninth inning, and then again in the bottom of the 10th. It was an amazing game, one that will go down in history.

Hero: David Freese came through with the two biggest hits of the game -- a tying triple in the ninth and the game-winning bomb in the 11th. Is there any question who the hero is?

Goat: I'm going with Neftali Feliz and Nelson Cruz. Feliz shouldn't have gotten himself in trouble in the ninth and Cruz needs a better effort on that Freese double. He probably could have caught it, and if he did, the Rangers would be celebrating a championship right now.

Turning point: Wow, I really have to pick one? I'd say the second time the Cardinals tied it. Once, the Rangers bounced back immediately, but it had to be demoralizing to the Rangers that it happened two consecutive innings.

It was over when ... Freese hit the homer. Obviously.

Next: This one was so fun, let's do it again, Friday night at 7:05 p.m. CT in St. Louis. The winner takes the World Series championship.

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Posted on: October 27, 2011 9:28 pm

Napoli badly turns ankle, stays in game

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Rangers catcher Mike Napoli tied the World Series record for catchers with his 10th RBI of the series in the top of the fourth inning Thursday night in Game 6. But two hitters later, Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis laid down a bunt and Cardinals pitcher Fernando Salas threw the ball into center field. In the meantime, Napoli badly turned his left ankle.

If a badly hyperextended ankle will make you sick, don't look below (GIF courtesy of GIFULMINATION.com)

The tough Rangers' catcher stayed in the game, further adding to his ever-building stardom this postseason.

Follow along live on CBSportscom's GameTracker

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Posted on: October 27, 2011 9:09 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 9:15 pm

Short leash for Garcia in Game 6

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- After just three innings, Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia is done. He threw 59 pitches, giving up five hits, two walks and two earned runs. He has now been replaced by Fernando Salas with the game tied, 2-2.

It's not a huge shock that Cardinals manager Tony La Russa went to his bullpen. He has starting pitchers Kyle Lohse and Edwin Jackson down in the bullpen and his ballclub will lose the World Series with a loss Thursday night. So he's not messing around.

The Cardinals have already set the postseason record for pitching changes -- this was the 66th, and the previous record was 62 -- so Game 6 might just put that thing out of reach.

Follow along live on CBSportscom's GameTracker

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Posted on: October 27, 2011 6:00 pm

La Russa cracks another joke to press

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has been animated and, frankly, pretty funny for the overwhelming majority of the World Series. He continued the theme Thursday afternoon, before a crucial Game 6.

In looking back on the Cardinals' season, losing ace Adam Wainwright for the season back in February was a devastating blow, yet here they are in the World Series, two games away from a World Championship. A reporter asked La Russa what if he heard, back in late February, that his team would be in Game 6 of the World Series. His reply?

"I would have kissed your butt at home plate (on) opening day."

It brought the house down. Again. As Gregg Doyel wrote earlier this series, the La Russa we've seen in press conferences for the World Series is a totally different version. He's just enjoying himself, and in past years that didn't always seem the case, at least not outwardly. This La Russa is relaxed. He's cracking jokes in the dugout to reporters during batting practice. He's laughing during press conferences.

"We've had a lot of fun," he said.

Evidently that's what happens when you get to the World Series without your ace.

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