NLCS GAME 3: Embarrassment Of Glitches
The Cardinals decided to play their worst game of the season at the worst possible time. With ace Adam Wainwright commanding the hill, the Cardinals had every chance to take a commanding 3-0 lead over the Dodgers in the best-of-seven NLCS. Instead, they played a game so riddled with mental and physical mistakes that stroke victims were shaking their heads in shame. On a national stage, the season determined with every play, the Keystone Kardinals stumbled and bumbled to an embarrassing 3-0 loss. They still (somehow) have a 2-1 series lead, but it suddenly feels like it’s in mortal danger.
UNDESERVED LOSS: The boxscore will say that Wainwright lost tonight’s game. However, he did everything he could to pitch around the catastrophic defensive misplays behind him. A starter who gives up six “hits” and two earned runs should have a chance to win. Unfortunately, Waino was undone by a lethal combination of brain-dead defense and a complete offensive blackout. He might be the ace of the staff, but he’s not Jesus resurrecting the dead. Heartbreaking.
AWAY WITH JAY: It was enough that Jon Jay has spent virtually the entire postseason in some sort of somnambulistic funk, swinging at high balls and running up a spicy .130 batting average. That kind of ineffectiveness apparently wasn’t enough for Jay, who misplayed EVERY SINGLE BALL THAT CAME NEAR HIM. In the first inning, Jay leisurely loped in from center and allowed a ball to drop in over the desperately-outstretched glove of Matt Carpenter (it was Jay’s ball, but he Holliday’d it). In the fourth, Jay pulled up and let a fly ball by Mark Ellis drop in for a double (and, eventually, a run). In the fifth, Jay missed a catch on a deep fly ball by A.J. Ellis, instead crashing into the center field wall and then stumbling around in the outfield like a punch-drunk boxer. Later, Jay decides to dive late on a liner by Carl Crawford, which falls in for a single (he later scored on another misplay – see below). Oh, and did I mention that Jay left two runners on base, getting his sole hit of the night with the bases empty? Horrific. Jay needs to sit his big, voluptuous ass on the bench until he can focus on the game at hand.
MORE MISPLAYS: After David Freese (hitting .200) singled to lead off the fifth, he pulled up with a right calf strain. This gave Mike Matheny an early excuse to pull his favorite move, the ol’ Daniel Descalso-for-Freese defensive substitution. Descalso found himself on second after Matt Adams (hitting .100) singled. FINALLY! A RALLY! Then comes Jay, who (of course) swings at a pitch above his ears and pops the ball into left field. Descalso, thinking about who knows what, takes off for third on the hit, and is easily doubled off of second. RALLY OVER!
In the eighth, with rookie Kolten Wong installed at second, the Dodgers had runners on first and second with one out. Hanley Ramirez bloops a single over Wong’s head. Wong slides around the ball, corrals it, and fires to second base. Of course, Wong SHOULD’VE thrown the ball home to prevent the runner rounding third to score. The relay to the plate was late (but close), surrendering a third Dodger run and sealing the Cardinals’ fate.
DEAD WOOD: Nobody expected the Cardinals to score 15 runs a game like they did against the chaff of the National League. However, must they be THIS anemic at the plate?? Here is the fearsome lineup employed by Matheny, followed by their fearsome NLCS averages:
- Matt Carpenter (.182)
- Carlos Beltran (.182)
- Matt Holliday (.000)
- Yadier Molina (.273)
- David Freese (.125)
- Matt Adams (.100)
- Jon Jay (.100)
- Pete Kozma (.000)
This isn’t Murderer’s Row … it’s Murdered Row.
More things to ponder:
- Our “cleanup hitter” Adams has TWO RBIs in the postseason, and has just TWO extra-base hits (one HR)! Adams has as many strikeouts as hits.
- Matt Holliday is hitting .188 in October, with one HR and 2 RBIs.
- After an okay NLDS, Beltran is hitting at the same pace, but with less authority (slugging .375 in NLCS)
- After hitting .188 in the NLDS, Freese is hitting .125 in the NLCS.
- Kozma sucks.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Wainwright is the only player worth mentioning.
CONCLUSION: I hope the team can forget this game and move on. They looked confused and disoriented tonight. I’ve seen tranquilized rhinos tumbling down a hill move with more focus and coordination. Someone watching this team for the first time tonight would swear that this was a Japanese baseball team playing their first game back on Earth after a season in zero gravity. Hopefully these guys will go back to their hotels after a solid meal, pull out the Major League Baseball Handbook, study certain parts of it carefully, and come back out tomorrow without embarrassing themselves like this again. Tonight’s exhibition was like a three-hour highlight reel of Holliday getting hit in the nutsack with a baseball OVER and OVER and OVER again.