WORLD SERIES GAME 4: Derek And The Dominoes
It was all Derek Holland in game four. The 25 year old lefthander twirled a masterful, commanding performance, toppling the Cardinals without much of a threat as the Rangers won 4-0 and tied the World Series at two games a piece.
PORN STACHE: Holland was remarkable tonight. He pounded 96 mph fastballs high and in, and mixed it with a nasty inside slider and a swooping curve. He did what the best pitchers have always done – establish the inside half of the plate, and then work the umpire out until he starts giving those inside strikes. The Cardinals hitters were off-balance all night. The only problem I have with Holland (other than beating us) is that grotesque, pathetic moustache, which makes him look like the perviest teen-aged vagrant.
FUCK RON KULPA: Even though Holland did a great job of working the inside corner, home plate umpire Ron Kulpa made it easier with a strike zone that better resembled a zip code. Kulpa was the umpire who botched the call at first base the night before that led to four Cardinals runs. Cards fans were cheering for Kulpa and making excuses for him last night (“we deserve that bad call to make up for ’85!”), but tonight they were bellyaching about the terrible strike zone. YOU CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS, GUYS. For me, I just wish that an umpire wouldn’t have such an effect on such an important Series, and Kulpa’s fingerprints are, unfortunately, all over this showdown.
JACKSON OFF: The linescore will say that Edwin Jackson only gave up three runs and struck out three, which seems pretty decent considering that he’s a home run pitcher tossing in the game’s best home run stadium. But Jackson’s linescore also includes SEVEN WALKS, and Jackson had to pitch around trouble constantly before it finally found him in the sixth. However, given how Holland was pitching, Jackson never had much of a chance to win this one even if he had pitched well.
JAY GO AWAY: How much longer can TLR justify the use of Jon Jay in this lineup when Skip Schumaker – a better situational hitter with a better arm – is sitting on the bench hand cleared to play? Jay is hitting just .167 since the third week in September. When TLR took Jay out for Schumaker in the eighth, it was a relief akin to Dr. Kervorkian putting someone out of their misery. Maybe Jay needs to take a day off, shave that Chia Pet afro, and get his head in order.
BAD CALL: For whatever reason, TLR decided to take Jackson out of the game after he walked two runners in the sixth and bring in Mitchell Boggs. Even though Boggs rebounded from a terrible August, he’s not a good choice in this situation given his 40% fly ball rate and slow delivery to the plate. Frankly, I was surprised that TLR didn’t call on Jake Westbrook here in light of Westy’s team-leading ground ball rate and well-rested condition. Oh well … I guess hindsight is indeed 20/20.
BOGGHOUSE: If TLR despised Boggs before, he really hates him now. Boggs grooved a big fat high fastball to fat high fastball hitter Mike Napoli with two on, and Napoli hacked it over the wall for a three run homer that really stuck the final dagger into the Cardinals. Boggs pitched well afterwards, but the damage was more than done.
BACK ON HOLLIDAY: Matt Holliday had a blistering NLCS, but other than that, he’s been pretty frustrating to watch. In the entire postseason, Holliday is batting .280 (which is okay) with more strikeouts (7) than RBI’s (5). He really failed tonight with one of his worst at bats of the postseason in the ninth, when, with two runners on and two outs, Holliday worked a count to 3-0 before allowing Neftali Feliz to strike him out. I’ve never seen a player who can run hot and cold so quickly like Holliday.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Lance Berkman, the only one who seemed to have a clue about how to hit the brilliant Holland tonight.
CONCLUSION: Hey, sometimes a pitcher crafts a terrific and commanding start. There isn’t much any team can do when it happens, as the Cardinals demonstrated against Holland tonight. As TLR said in the postgame, you tip your hat to your opponent and prepare for tomorrow.