NLDS GAME 4: Squirrels Find Nuts
The Cardinals rose up against the infamous Roy Oswalt, battering him for six hits and five earned runs (mostly damage inflicted by David Freese) as they tied the Phillies in the divisional series with a convincing 5-3 victory. This forces an incredible game five matchup between Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter to decide the fate of everyone involved. BRING IT ON!
STONE COLD: Easily the game four hero, David Freese looked like a possessed man out there. He went 2-3 with four RBI’s, a far cry from his dribbling output thus far in the series. His sixth inning two-run homer to dead center field was a BLAST, as well as the game winner. When this guy is healthy and on-target, he is lethal in our lineup. I hope he can bring it in game five; we need him.
RALLY MAKER: Skip Schumaker was a surprise start at second base after Ryan Theriot‘s blistering game last night. Schumaker made a genius out of Tony (since he cannot do that himself) by slicing two hits in three at bats and starting at least one rally. Schumaker’s first inning hit, an opposite-field gash, really set the tone for the game. In my mind, it reminded me of some of David Eckstein‘s heroics in the 2006 campaign. Big lift.
HAND SIGNALS: I guess Matt Holliday is okay after all. His injured hand didn’t seem to significantly affect his performance, as he went 1-3 and scored twice. I just wish that our $17 million dollar a year power hitter wasn’t reduced to hitting singles for a month, ya know?
STONEWALL JACKSON: Is there any other way to describe Edwin Jackson‘s start tonight except “typical” and “necessary”? Nobody expected Jackson to toss a no-hitter, and I’m sure many in Cardinal Nation were freaking out when he surrendered two runs on three hard-hit smashes. But in his career, Jackson typically gives up lots of runs in the first inning before settling down. And that’s exactly what happened tonight. Jackson ripped through the Phillies in the next five innings, striking out four and giving up two hits while keeping us in the game. I love this guy’s moxie; get us into the World Series, Edwin, and we’ll love you forever no matter where you go!!!
VARMIT: Is it really impossible to get a squirrel out of Busch Stadium? For the second straight night (on national television), the playoffs were interrupted by a fucking furry-tailed rat running around on the playing field. You’d think that, after last night’s interruption, the grounds crew would’ve managed to eradicate the pest. NOPE! Ya know, people across the country already think St. Louis is a town full of hicks; we don’t need to build their case for them.
HEADS UP: Albert Pujols showed off his focus and determination in the sixth. With Chase Utley on first and running, Hunter Pence grounded to Rafael Furcal, who threw to first since he didn’t have a play at second. However, Utley decided to try and take third base on the play. Fortunately Pujols saw the move, came off the bag, and made a daring throw to third to catch Utley. If he misses it, then the Phillies would’ve had first and third and a huge scoring chance that changes the entire game. A play of the game.
AMATEUR HOUR: The game’s outcome was probably decided in the first. Lance Berkman ripped an RBI double to drive in the game’s first run. But as Shane Victorino tried to field the ball and throw it in, he slipped, causing him to become the stuff of week-ending error reels as his throw bounced ridiculously into the ground. Right there we all knew the Cardinals had momentum on their side.
REVENGE: After so many ill-fated meetings, I guess it was nice to see Brad Lidge finally conquer his demons in his eighth inning confrontation with Albert Pujols. Pujols has beaten Lidge so badly over the years that the United Nations should probably send in troops when they are in the same stadium. Amnesty International should probably have a few fundraisers for Lidge’s cause, which ranks just below childhood leukemia as one of the great horrors in the universe. Red-headed stepchildren thank their gods that they are not treated the way Pujols has battered Lidge. But tonight, with the fans salivating for another humiliation, Pujols lined out to Hunter Pence. I’d say Pujols still has the advantage in this legendary matchup.
HUNTER PENCE: Is there a goofier ballplayer in the major leagues? This guy looks like the aborted offspring of a praying mantis and a turtle. His name sucks. And he kills us all the time. GO AWAY, HUNTER PENCE!
ZIPPO FROM ZEPPO: It doesn’t get any better than Marc Rzepczynski‘s vicious dissection of Ryan Howard with runners at first and third and two outs. Zeppo performed an autopsy in front of a national audience, slicing the power hitter open and cauterizing him with a nasty, unhittable fastball. This is why we traded Colby Rasmus (who?), and somewhere, deep in the bowels of Busch Stadium, John Mozeliak is petting his squirrel and giggling to himself with self-satisfied glee.
THE CLOSER: TLR needs to get it through his foggy, lead-lined head that Jason Motte is the closer for the St. Louis Cardinals. His no-doubt ninth inning was a terrifying display of unhittable 97mph fastballs. Motte is the real deal. Hopefully this shock-and-awe firepower will convince TLR to stop using him in tied or down situations like he did in the previous game. Of course, what are the chances that TLR learns anything??
PLAYER OF THE GAME: FREESE!!!!
CONCLUSION: It comes down to one monumental game. Roy Halladay versus Chris Carpenter, two of the greatest competitors in a generation. There is no greater stage, no greater glory, no greater reward. Win or die. Hopefully the Cardinals are ready to face their greatest challenge yet!!
But this says it all: