NLCS GAME 3: Wet Wild Win
In the midst of a torrential downpour, the Cardinals provided thunder in the form of a lightning-in-a-bottle last-minute replacement for Carlos Beltran named Matt Carpenter. His two-run homer, combined with an insurmountable wall of stellar pitching, firmly held the Giants down despite a three hour rain delay. The Cardinals took Game Three by the score of 3-1, taking a 2-1 series lead in an evenly-matched NLCS.
BATTLER: Kyle Lohse delivered just the kind of big-game start that the Cardinals sorely needed. Lohse followed several aborted, disappointing starts from the staff with a solid 5.2 inning start – not great, of course, but credit the Giants for staying on Lohse and hacking at him for seven hits and a run. Lohse twirled through trouble like a fly avoiding raindrops (another rain reference!). Hopefully the rest of the starters can follow Lohse’s example and turn in some quality starts against these Giants.
LOOMING PROBLEM: Although Lohse provided more innings tonight, Matheny still needed to use the bullpen a lot as well. The rain only exacerbated the problem. How much longer can we keep sticking our hand into the fire before we get burned?
UH OH: With the offense largely in a funk in this postseason, seeing Carlos Beltran go down with something called a ”knee strain” is troubling indeed. We desperately need the greatest postseason player in baseball history right now. Get well quickly, Carlos!!
LAWLESS PRINCIPLE: I was watching the game at a bar when Carlos Beltran was removed after the first inning and replaced with Matt Carpenter. I muttered to a friend that Carpenter would probably hit a home run, recalling the times when goofy moves involving minor players like Tom Lawless paid off in similar fashion. Two innings later, Carpenter came up with Jon Jay on first and slapped a two-run homer down the line for a quick 2-1 lead. I wish I would’ve had enough confidence in my intuition to put money down on that one!
CREW MAKES THE CUT: Just a huge “NICE JOB” to the grounds crew at Busch Stadium. Enough rain fell on the field to make Noah nervous, but the skilled grounds crew managed to whip the field into playable shape in no time. Awesome work!
DRUNKS: After a three-hour rain delay, the crowds returned to Busch Stadium from Mike Shannon’s Bar and Grill much, um, happier and louder than before. St. Louisans love their beer, and if the sounds of the final innings were any indication, they had more than the usual amount tonight! Rain? WHAT RAIN?
RISKY BUSINESS: Matheny’s choice to use Jason Motte for a two-run save could have critical ramifications in this series. Given that our starters have struggled with innings, the bullpen is getting used excessively. Using Motte for two innings limits what you can do with him in the next two games. Will this two-inning stint affect the rest of the series? We shall see.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Carpenter for his homer, as well as his clutch performance all around while subbing for Beltran in an emergency.
CONCLUSION: After the disaster of Game Two, the Cardinals really needed to come out and make a statement to the Giants. That’s exactly what happened. The pitching (especially from the bullpen) was excellent, and we produced enough offense to take a series lead. Huge win!