Tag:Octavio Dotel
Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:25 am
Edited on: October 17, 2011 3:26 am
 

NLCS MVP Freese having breakout autumn

MILWAUKEE -- The wordplay is irresistible: Mr. Freese. The Iceman. Freese It. Freese Frame.

All we need now is for Cardinals third baseman David Freese to grow into a star. And with his NL Championship Series MVP, he's taken a long leap in that direction over these past several days.

"There are a lot of guys who have talent," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said as the celebration hit full-blast in the winning clubhouse Sunday night. "To be successful in this league, you've got to be tough and you've got to have good character.

"He is very tough. He's had bad breaks with his ankle and his feet, but this guy is very tough. If he can stay healthy, he's going to be a star year-in and year-out. I'm talking about a clutch, clutch star."

That's what Freese looked like against the Brewers. He hit safely in all six games, collected multiple hits in four of them and, by the final out in Game 6, was hitting a sizzling .545 (12 for 22) with three doubles, three homers, nine RBI and six runs scored.

Though the Brewers battled and eventually cut St. Louis' lead to one run, Freese's three-run, first-inning homer against Shaun Marcum essentially put Milwaukee on life support.

For a guy who grew up not far from St. Louis, in Wildwood, Mo., it was a dream come true.

"I think not too many people get a chance to do this in their hometown," Freese said. "And it's an unbelievable feeling. To be a part of this team, this group of guys, this organization, it means a lot."

Freese, 27, batted .297 with 10 homers and 55 RBI in 97 games for the Cardinals this season. He missed 51 games after fracturing his left hand when he was hit by a pitch against Atlanta on May 1. It continued a string of bad luck for Freese, who had surgery on each ankle in 2010 -- part of the reason why he played in only 70 games in '10.

Acquired from the Padres for outfielder Jim Edmonds in December, 2007, the Cardinals have been waiting for him to blossom. And by the looks of it, he's doing so at an opportune time.

"He's an unbelievable player," reliever Octavio Dotel said. "Unbelievable. And he's going to be a real tough player for the next five, six, seven years. He's a guy you're going to see on ESPN, hear all over the radio, see on Fox Sports ... he's going to do some damage to the other teams, because he's a really, really great player."
Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:15 pm
 

La Russa, Cards bullpen blitz Brewers in Game 5

ST. LOUIS -- You won't see this often. You surely would never see this in the American League. But as Tony La Russa continues to put on a managerial clinic in this NL Championship Series, he actually, for one fleeting moment, put more trust in starter Jaime Garcia's bat than in his arm Friday night.

Yes, St. Louis' 7-1 blitz of Milwaukee, which gave the Cardinals a three-games-to-two lead in this NLCS, was a strategist's delight.

Fourth inning, La Russa called for eight-hole hitter Nick Punto to drop a sacrifice bunt to set up a one-out, second-and-third situation for Garcia. It paid off when Garcia roped an RBI ground ball to shortstop.

Fifth inning, La Russa promptly yanked Garcia with two out, two on and a three-run lead so reliever Octavio Dotel could face slugger Ryan Braun.

It was textbook when Dotel fanned Braun in what turned out to be the game-changing -- game-saving? -- at-bat. And you could see why La Russa pounced to quickly: Braun now is 2 for 10 lifetime against Dotel with eight strikeouts.

Um, that's K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K.

And Braun is probably about a month out from winning the NL MVP award this year.

Chalk up another one for the Cardinals' overpowering bullpen, whose long relief in short order quickly has become the star of this NLCS.

La Russa has managed with a sense of urgency throughout this series, but it seemed even more on display in Game 5. Easy to understand why, too: When a series is 2-2, Game 5 always is pivotal. But with this thing headed back to Milwaukee, given the way the Brewers dominate at Miller Park, it was more pivotal than usual.

Had St. Louis headed to Wisconsin having to win both games in Miller Park, well, it would have been worse than bad cheese curds for the Cards.

But now the pressure is squarely on the Brewers.

St. Louis winning one of the next two in old Milwaukee? Now, that's doable.

 
 
 
 
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