NLCS GAME 1: Dr. Strangemove (Or, How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Hate TLR)
The Milwaukee Brewers put their money where their mouth is, crushing the Cardinals 9-6 on three booming home runs surrendered by an ineffective head-case Jaime Garcia and his retarded manager. The Brewers take a 1-0 lead in the best of seven NLCS.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: I had a bad feeling going into today’s game with Jaime Garcia on the mound. Garcia easily had the worst splits on the road, and his tender disposition seemed to indicate that it might be best to limit his exposure in this high-pressure situation. But I forgot something: TLR always knows best. So TLR put Garcia out there, and he was particularly bad. Did he ever record an out?? The box score says he did, but it sure didn’t feel like it: four innings, six runs, three homers, and three walks. OUCH! Thanks, Jaime! You’re the best!
BENCH HOLLIDAY: Yeah, I realize that Matt Holliday drove in a run in the first on a dinky hit off the bat handle. SO? He struck out twice on balls in the dirt, and has generally looked ineffective since returning from his injury. Is he really okay? Perhaps I’m being unreasonable here, but I’d rather have a healthy Allen Craig in there instead of an injured, flailing Holliday. Did we learn nothing from the Scott Rolen situation in 2006?
BURNING ICE: It’s a little frustrating when David Freese represents your best power option, but at least he’s doing something! Freese crushed yet another opposite-field home run in the fourth to give the Cards their last, short-lived lead of the game.
TLR IS AN IDIOT (TO THE POWER OF INFINITY): So in the fifth inning Garcia, who has struggled mightily the entire game, surrenders a single to Corey Hart and a double to Jerry Hairston with the Cardinals holding a precarious 5-2 lead. Right-handed Ryan Braun is coming up. What would YOU do in this situation? Most people with even a passing understanding of the game would bring in Octavio Dotel, who was warming in the bullpen. But you’re not Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa!! TLR sits on his hands and allows Garcia to pitch to the Brewers’ best hitter, who clubs a tee-ball pitch to right field for a two-run ground rule double! LA-FUCKING-GENIUS!
TLR IS STILL MOST CERTAINLY AN IDIOT: After Braun crushed Garcia’s fattest pitch to pull the Brewers to within a run and the dangerous Prince Fielder coming up, you’d think TLR would pull Garcia then, right? WRONG, you poor, non-Hall of Famer! TLR again lets Garcia pitch, and Fielder pulverizes the first offering for a two-run homer to put the Brewers ahead for good! What a brilliant strategy! What amazing insight by the world’s greatest baseball legend! Even though the Brewers scored six in the inning to take control of the game, Fielder’s homer had one positive aspect: it finally convinced TLR that maybe Garcia was done for the day. Ya think so, LaGenius??
HEARTBREAK DOTEL: After Garcia shit himself on national television and TLR (finally) wiped his ass, Octavio Dotel came on to halt the Brewers. This should’ve been relatively simple considering that Fielder had just cleared the bases. But Dotel let them back in!! After getting Rickie Weeks to ground back to the mound, Dotel tosses a changeup into the dirt in front of first base for an error. This left the door open for the pesky clutch hitter Yuniesky Betancourt, who ripped a two-run homer for the game-winner. The 2011 Cardinal bullpen must be the most infuriatingly inconsistent group ever assembled on a team where the pitching coach avoided a heart attack.
HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT?? If Albert Pujols thinks he deserves $30 million a year, he needs to look across the diamond and watch the clutch hitting by Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. Players paid that kind of money need to come through when their team desperately needs them, as the Cardinals did in the seventh with runners at first and third with no outs. Unlike Fielder and Braun, Pujols completely failed in this important situation by grounding into a double play. Hey Albert, we aren’t paying you to hit doubles with the bases empty!!
ANOTHER THING ABOUT PUJOLS: Did you see him attempt to stop that Dotel toss in the dirt?? Actually, you couldn’t have seen it, because Albert didn’t even try! He looked like an arthritic 70 year-old man moving underwater! Hey, look everybody! Mr. Magoo is playing first for the Cardinals!! Compare that non-play to the diving stop Fielder made later in the game; it’s night and day in terms of physicality as well as desire. Again, I would say that Pujols’ price is dropping steadily by the inning these days.
NOT-SO-FUN FACT: Since September 22nd, the Cardinals’ Big Three of Pujols, Holliday, and Lance Berkman have exactly one home run (Berkman’s homer in the first game against Philly). Holliday hasn’t hit one since September 6th. Now, I’m not suggesting that home runs should be their only contribution, but it’s a big reason why they’re in the heart of this lineup. They aren’t driving the ball. This cannot continue if this team has any hope of defeating a Brewers lineup like this one.
PUNTO WATCH: Our favorite little gremlin made his second pinch-hitting appearance of the postseason and struck out again. YAY! This time he didn’t even swing the bat! EVEN BETTER!
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Freese.
GOAT: (tie) TLR and Garcia.
CONCLUSION: Well, that could’ve been better! This game was like a diorama of the worst aspects of the 2011 season: atrocious managing, double plays, limp-wristed starting pitching, and a bullpen meltdown. It was all rolled together into one neat little package, like a diaper with the foulest green baby shit in it. Like the disastrous first game of the NLDS against the Phillies, we need to just throw this one in the trash and forget about it.