World Series live blog: Game One

Hardball Times copy editor Greg Simons is not one of those people the TV moguls fear will be put off by a Middle America World Series. He’s a lifelong Cardinals fan. We asked him to put on his red cap and share his observations as he watches.

Pregame
Everyone talks about how much of a jerk A.J. Pierzynski is, and I have little reason to doubt that from what I’ve read and heard. Still, he’s been pretty reasonable with his commentary.

Okay, he just picked the Rangers is six. Jerk.

I know the “Cardinals fans are the best in the world” story is old, but they were courteously cheering for the Texas players during introductions. Why didn’t Fox show Nelson Cruz, though? Was he wearing a “McCarver Sucks!” t-shirt?

Did David Freese just get a louder reception than Albert Pujols? The passing of the torch, perhaps?

I read that no umpire working the World Series has officiated more than two before. That seems like a group that’s light on experience. We’ll see if the lack of umpiring controversy continues.

Oh, good, we’ll get the same six commercials this round—over and over and over again.

First inning

Leadoff single, and Tim McCarver calls for the bunt. In the first inning! Ugh.

As my brother and nephew say, don’t run on Yady.

Wow! That was a pretty play, with Pujols tossing to Chris Carpenter, though Carp was fortunate not to get spiked. It’s amazing that we still see something new in baseball all the time.

An Austin Powers reference from Joe Buck. How timely.

Furcal stole only nine bases in the regular season? Wow, he’s slowed down. Still, I can see him coming back to St. Louis on something like a two-year, $12-14 million deal.

Another GIDP for the Cardinals. Shocking.

Second inning
These lineups are scary, with the two LCS MVPs both batting sixth. Who’s going to win the World Series MVP? Cast your vote in the comments. I’ll go out on a limb and say Pujols.

After having a nice NLCS defensively, Freese has been eaten alive by two hard shots already.

At this pace, there will be 18 double plays in the game. Place your prop bets now.

After Matt Holliday hits one right up the middle—and right to Ian Kinsler—I’m starting to think infield shifts should be banned. Of course I’m kidding, but it has to frustrating to rip one right by the pitcher’s wickets only to have the fielder right there to gobble up the ball and easily throw you out.

Ryan Howard was a senior at Lafayette High School in St. Louis when Freese was a freshmen? Well, I was a senior in high school when my wife was a freshman. Howard is a lefty, as am I; Freese is a righty, like my wife. Eerily similar, isn’t it?

Third inning
The Cardinals knocked off Philadelphia, which had a team-record 102 wins. They then defeated Milwaukee, which had a team-record 96 wins. The Rangers set a team record with 96 wins this season. Foreshadowing?

Who benefits more from the World Series DH rule—not used in the National League park, used at the American League park—the NL or the AL team? I think the AL gets the advantage. While they lose a good hitter on the road, that just puts them on par with their opposition. In AL parks, they get a thumper back, while the NL team uses a player who typically is nothing more than a bench player. Allen Craig‘s presence may be an exception this time.

I love baseball, but so far this game is doing nothing to dispute the notion that baseball can be boring.

Fourth inning
After seeing the replay from the All-Star Game, let me again say thank you, Prince Fielder and C.J. Wilson, for the NL’s home-field advantage.

McCarver mentions the infield shift against right-handed batters creates a longer throw to first. So? The hitters they’re shifting against typically aren’t burners on the basepaths.

I think the Cards should have offered Holliday six years and $100 million instead of the seven-year, $120 million contract they agreed to, but that double was worth a nice chunk of change.

Oh, and I really like Lance Berkman‘s $12 million deal for next year. Cards take a 2-0 lead!

I wonder if the 20-plus mph winds and 40-something degree temperature kept Freese’s shot to center field in the park.

See, that’s why the DH sucks. An intentional walk and a three-pitch strikeout are fascinating!

Fifth inning
As frustrating as I find Tony La Russa at times, the man will be second all-time in regular-season managerial wins next season with only 36 more victories. And with two more postseason wins, he’ll also be second all-time in that category.

Ouch! Mike Napoli with a two-run bomb into the right field seats to knot the score, 2-2. Do you think the Angels regret dealing him to Toronto to get Vernon Wells? Ditto for the Blue Jays, who sent him to Texas for Frank Francisco. But, hey, LA still has Jeff Mathis as its catcher.

McCarver just said switch hitters have longer at-bats versus given pitchers than same-handed batters. Anyone have data to support/refute that?

As Pujols is intentionally walked, I’m reminded of the graphic they would show at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium back in the ’90s, when the video board was made up of white light bulbs. It was a ghost with the warning phrase, “Walks Will Haunt!”

Another double play. I guess that IBB wasn’t so scary after all.

Sixth inning
Okay, a sac bunt in the sixth inning of a tie game—as the Rangers just executed—is a bit more understandable, but only a bit.

These two 3-1 putouts by Pujols and Carpenter are worthy of a Rick Flair “Woo!”

Will Fox overuse its new thermal camera? Does a bear $#!^ in the woods?

Freese with a one-out double to the right-center field gap. I know no one wants to hear about someone else’s fantasy baseball team, but I have Freese next year for a buck. I’m developing a man-crush.

A wild pitch moves Freese to third. Jeff Mathis would have blocked that ball.

As Molina was about to strike out, Napoli stood up, signaling a very high pitch. It’s tough to watch that develop and realize the batter has no idea the pitch is going to come in at eye level. And it’s even tougher to see him swing at it.

I like NL ball. Carp pitched well, but La Russa is forced to pinch-hit for him with a two-out scoring opportunity staring him in the face. I agree with the decision, but will it work out?

The “Jennie-O Call to the Bullpen?” Good grief, what trivial event won’t some company sponsor? And what company won’t MLB take money from?

Once again, a demonstration that baseball is a game of inches, as Allen Craig’s pinch-hit single falls just outside Nelson Cruz‘s reach, driving in the go-ahead run. Maybe La Russa is a genius, after all. Buck and McCarver are spot on in observing that the ball hitting Cruz on the leg as it dropped saved at least one run.

Seventh inning
The St. Louis relief pitcher wheels are in motion, as Fernando Salas departs after one-third of an inning and two baserunners allowed. Marc Rzepczynski, with the toughest name to spell since Mark Grudzielanek, comes on.

Despite gaining the platoon advantage with back-to-back pinch-hitters, Texas can not capitalize. I’m going to buy a new vanity license plate that says TLR RULZ.

Eighth inning
Dotel gets two quick outs. No, I don’t miss Colby Rasmus. Why do you ask?

Arthur Rhodes has become the definitive LOOGY, and he did his job again tonight. Like Bengie Molina last year, he’s guaranteed to get a World Series champion ring.

After Berkman’s infield single, McCarver gets his sole desire fulfilled, as Daniel Descalsodrops down a sac bunt.

Hey, where’s the Rally Squirrel?

Ninth inning
Have you read that Jason Motte can’t see? Kinda scary to step into the batter’s box against someone who doesn’t know where he’s throwing it.

And the thermal camera proves nearly useful. I thought the ball hit Beltre’s foot, but I’m not going to argue too vigorously.

And Motte continues his domination at the end of games. Cards are up, one game to none.

Postgame
With little more excitement than a late-season Tuesday night game between the Astros and Nationals, St. Louis edges Texas, 3-2, in Game One. While there were plenty of relievers used again, the offenses that put up 27 runs combined in their LCS-clinching games were held mostly silent.

Sometimes you get thunder and lighting, sometimes you get drizzle. Tonight was literally and figuratively a night of drizzle. But Cardinals fans—like me—will take it.

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Comments

  1. Duane said...

    Hi Southpaw,

    It is interesting that I remembered the thread on the DH during the game last night.  There was example #1 as to why I don’t like the NL rules.  I almost got sick when I watched Carpenter swing at those three pitches.  It was even worse for me to watch lit’le Nickie Punto (former Twin) get an intentional pass.  In the AL there would have at least been a player who knows how to use the “Stick.”

    I did enjoy your blog and hope that you write again tonight.  I am also cheering for the Cards as is Preacher. (who else!)

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