NLCS GAME 6: GOOD TRIUMPHS OVER EVIL! THE CARDS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!
One of the great slugfests in playoff history occurred tonight between the National League’s two best offenses. Each team played with desperation in their eyes; they both wanted it. But the amazing, inspired Cardinals beat down the thuggish, ignorant Brewers 12-6 to maintain their improbable postseason dream – THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES! Can this really be happening??
BOOMSTICKS: I guess they had the Miller Park air conditioning blowing out tonight, because we nearly set a postseason record for home runs with six round-trippers. Series MVP David Freese started the action with a massive three run bomb in the first, and he was followed by teammates Rafael Furcal and Albert Pujols. Meanwhile, Milwaukee had leadoff homers from Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks, and Jonathan Lucroy. And those were just the home runs! Doubles were bouncing all over the field, too, to the tune of 9 extra-base hits. An incredible explosion of offense.
AT A DISCOUNT: I was hoping to finally see Edwin Jackson come up with that brilliant start he teases constantly with his stuff. However, it didn’t happen yet again. Jackson was less than commanding, pitching only two innings and giving up four runs on three homers. Awful. I wonder how many millions he’s lost with his unfocused work in this postseason so far.
RETURN OF THE CRAIGKEN: Allen Craig has been seen less than Rally Squirrel shit at Busch Stadium during this postseason. The guy who stirs the Gatorade in the dugout has been in more action than Craig, who was vitally important in the Philly series in place of an injured Matt Holliday. But Craig made his presence felt in the third, as Craig ripped a two-run single as a pinch hitter for Jackson. The Cards were only winning 7-4 at the time, well within striking distance of Milwaukee’s potent offense. Craig’s hit – the game winner – put the game away for good and seriously deflated the Brewers and their fans. RELEASE THE CRAIGKEN!
THE BIG K: There might not be a bigger moment in Fernando Salas‘ young career than his fourth inning strikeout of Corey Hart with two on and two outs and the Brewers threatening. Salas threw several great breaking balls before blasting a nasty fastball in to Hart, who foul-tipped it into Yadier Molina‘s glove. In time, Salas is going to become a monster for this team.
STABBED IN THE HEART: One of the biggest reasons why the Cardinals beat the Brewers was the pitching staff’s control of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder in the second half of the series. They apparently figured out how to pitch to these two, who form the most dangerous tandem in baseball. Braun and Fielder went a combined 0-8 with two strikeouts. Braun especially looked awful tonight, fanning pathetically against Octavio Dotel to end the seventh.
PUNTO KNOWS BEST: Our favorite little Punto bean came up with the bases loaded in the third inning. The score was just 6-4, and the Cardinals desperately needed to answer Milwaukee’s three runs in the previous inning. Punto went up there like a clueless potato and swung at the first pitch, flying out to drive in a run. While a sac fly is always appreciated, taking a fucking pitch in a bases-loaded situation is even better. Much better. But just try telling Punto that as he splashes on the aftershave and struts out of the clubhouse tonight. The guy ain’t listening, I assure you.
ALL THE RIGHT MOVES: Hand it to TLR – he played matchups brilliantly tonight, massaging his weary bullpen and coaxing them to eat the innings that Jackson choked on. Fortunately this bullpen, nearly on fumes, will have a few days to regroup and hopefully get bionic implants in their arms for the World Series.
INTENSITY: I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen Albert Pujols this focused, this resolute. While he’s been better offensively, his hits in this series have counted. Even better, he has been sacrificing his body on the altar of this postseason berth; witness his diving attempt to tag Ryan Braun out at first base in the fifth. This is a man who broke his wrist earlier this year by colliding with a runner, yet the big guy crashed into a sliding Braun while trying to make an out and hurt himself in the process. Many call Pujols out for not running out ground balls (your author being one of them), but Pujols gives 200% when it counts.
TEAM EFFORT: Tonight’s win was appropriate because the offense was balanced from top to bottom; it wasn’t just one or two guys contributing, which is how they’ve been winning all season. Seven guys had RBI’s tonight in a beautiful display of consistent and insistent offense.
FUCK TBS: The announcers for the TBS broadcast, which included Ron Darling and John Smoltz, spent the entire night hoping and praying that the Brewers would somehow come back and win this from the Cardinals. And I’m not making this up – they actually said that the Brewers needed to hold the Cards so that Milwaukee could come back and win!! What playoff broadcaster should EVER be so obviously biased on the air?? This has to be one of the worst broadcast teams I’ve ever heard on a major station. I get it – St. Louis is insignificant and the Cardinals are “hated” around baseball. But the truth is that there isn’t a better story in the postseason this year, and these morons are missing it due to their own personal preferences. AWFUL.
CRUEL PEN: As they have throughout this series, the bullpen was magnificent. They gave up two runs in seven innings (one each by Fernando Salas and Marc Rzepczynski), and struck out eight. The Brewers never had a chance.
JAY DAY: Although Jon Jay hasn’t had the greatest series at the plate, he has shined defensively throughout this incredible run. He made two awesome plays in centerfield, the last one a leaping, wall-crashing stab for the second-to-last out in the ninth. There may be more talented centerfielders out there, but Jay has played with the kind of heart and guts that Colby Rasmus never would. Anyone still bitching about the Rasmus trade?
TOUCH OF CLASS: How awesome was it to see the Cardinals players come out of the dugout to celebrate with the large throng of red-covered fans waiting in the stands?? THIS is what Cardinal Nation is all about!!!
A MESSAGE TO T-PLUSH: Enjoy watching us in the WORLD SERIES!!!
MVP: David Freese!! May you never cool off!!
PLAYER OF THE GAME: The 2011 National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
CONCLUSION: We are the National League Champions for 2011!! We’re going to the WORLD SERIES! Always remember this miraculous October in 2011, the likes of which we may never see again!!!