World Series live blog: Game Two

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. As with Game One, we asked him to put on his red cap and share his observations as he watches.

Pregame
The deep, gravelly voice that recapped last night’s game sounds like a cheap imitation of the bald movie trailer announcer from those Geico commercials a few years ago. But I’m sure it wasn’t him, because he died.

Did A.J. Pierzynski get a haircut among Games One and Two? He’s giving beard dye tips to Lance Berkman, so I think so. Between Pierzynski, Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez, there have been an unusual number of metrosexual catchers in recent years.

This is, what, the fourth time we might be seeing Albert Pujols playing his last home game in St. Louis? Of course I want him to remain a Cardinal. If he insists on surpassing Alex Rodriguez‘s deal in terms of average annual salary, which is $27.5 million, how about a seven-year, $200 million deal? That’s just over $28.6 million per season.

My stance has always been that the players should get what they can. If a guy wants the highest total dollars, who can blame him? How many of us would do the same? Does he want to stay with the team he came up with? Great. Does he want to play for a team closer to home? Fantastic. It’s a personal decision for him and his family.

Hmm, Tim McCarver looks a bit like my Dad, especially when he’s wearing glasses. (Yes, that’s four family members mentioned in this blog in two days. I’ll see if I can work some others in as we move along.)

First inning
Ken Rosenthal’s suits are much better (read: less gaudy) than Craig Sager’s, but those bowties really need to go.

Ah, a quick one-two-three inning for St. Louis. Keeping Josh Hamilton in the third spot with his groin injury and against a lefty hurler is a bad call for Texas.

Nice job by Adrian Beltre to let Jon Jay‘s bunt roll foul, patiently waiting about 85 feet for it to do so.

Second inning
The home-road splits for Jaime Garcia and Colby Lewis—Garcia with a much lower home ERA, Lewis with a significantly better mark on the road—imply a low-scoring game, but with these offenses, they sure don’t guarantee it. With the double no-hitter so far, I figure I better make the prediction sooner rather than later.

Go foul, go foul, go foul! Whew, Beltre’s rip made me just a wee bit uncomfortable.

Okay, Pierzynski’s right, Berkman’s beard does not look good. Still, as a show of solidarity with the Big Puma, I’m growing mine out, too. I think he’s ahead in gray-hair percentage. I think.

Hey, a baserunner! True, it’s only a one-out walk, but it’s something.

Yadier Molina sure can make contact, fouling off ball after ball. Well, except for high, outside pitches, apparently.

Third inning
Hint/warning/public service announcement to Cardinals pitchers: Don’t throw meatballs to the Rangers’ No. 7 hitters! They barely survived that one, as Mike Napoli scorches one right at David Freese.

I’m not sure what to make of McCarver’s advice to make your kids lefty hitters. Sure, they get the platoon advantage against the bulk of pitchers and are a few feet closer to first base, but good lefty pitchers often can neuter them. So if you’re gonna make ‘em hit lefty, make sure they get plenty of reps against southpaws.

The home plate umpire is clearly calling the location of balls, as you can hear him say, “Ball out!” and “Ball in!” You don’t hear that often.

Thank you, Joe Buck, for mentioning the double no-hitter, which always leads to the next batter breaking up the no-hitter. Too bad it goes for naught, as Rafael Furcal is stranded at second.

Fourth inning
And with a leadoff walk to Ian Kinsler, there goes Garcia’s perfect game. Don Larsen‘s singular performance remains truly unique for another day.

Would a healthy Hamilton have enough power in his swing to get that ball over the fence in left?

And there goes the no-hitter, courtesy of Michael Young. Me and my big mouth.

Beltre is a strong, strong man. He almost beheaded Kinsler with that foul shot.

And the whiff! (Followed by a big sigh of relief.)

Berkman’s lack of speed makes a close play out of what should have been an easy reached-on-error.

A very pretty double play by the Rangers.

Fifth inning
Good defensive play by the fan to protect himself and the boys with him from Nelson Cruz‘s flying bat.

A pitchers’ duel halfway through. Whoda thunk it? (Yes, I’m hoping to jinx things with the Cardinals coming up.)

Those closeup shots of Lewis—which Fox has always liked—reveal that he looks a fair amount like Chris Carpenter. Speaking of which, you’ve seen the Jayson Werth/WWE’s Edge comparison”>Jayson Werth/WWE’s Edge comparison, right?

Walking the pitcher? Oops.

Elvis Andrus with the great scoop and glove flip to prevent the game’s first run. If and when he ever robs Berkman of a hit, how much Elvis/Fat Elvis talk will there be?

Sixth inning
Getting the 6-7-8 hitters in the top of the fifth brings Lewis to the plate to lead off this inning. That’s handy, as Garcia punches him out.

Most of the time, I like Kinsler, but not tonight.

Right after the “Nikon 1″ replay of the Rangers’ middle infielders, the Cardinals turn their own twin killing.

I’ll say it again, who would have expected low-scoring games after the fireworks in both League Championship Series?

That World Series home run drought they just mentioned for the Redbirds is rather shocking. No homers in their last five-and-a-half World Series games?

Seventh inning
Freese’s postseason hitting streak stretches to 12 games. If he can stay healthy, that young man can be a top-tier third baseman.

Part-time first baseman Michael Young can’t quite snap Nick Punto‘s sharp grounder, leading to Alexi Ogando vs. Allen Craig, round two, right after this commercial break…

And Craig with the five-finger death punch again!

*Joe Distelheim just sent me this note: The announcers don’t seem to know about the legendary World Series pinch hitter Dusty Rhodes, but mention of Craig should include him:

In the first game of the 1954 World Series, Rhodes had a pinch hit home run in the bottom of the tenth inning off Bob Lemon to win the game. The next day he delivered a pinch hit single in the fifth inning and then remained in the game to play left field. In the seventh inning he hit a homer off Early Wynn to help ensure the victory.
—Cribbed from Wikipedia

Eighth inning
Tony La Russa’s match-up machinations have begun. Cat, meet mouse. Mouse, say hello to cat.

Marc Rzepczynski, whose name you can’t spell in Scrabble without a blank tile, is doing an excellent job of blanking the Rangers.

Buck and McCarver keep talking about Craig possibly playing the field in Texas, and they continue to insist he’ll play left. But why wouldn’t La Russa put him in right with Berkman at DH? I would. Sure Matt Holliday isn’t a great defender, but I don’t think Craig is, either. And as I mentioned earlier, Berkman is slow.

Pujols gives it a ride, but just short. An extra run sure would have been nice.

Mike Adams looks like a praying mantis on the mound, wiggling and wobbling before holding completely still with his arms and elbows jutting out all akimbo. (What a fun word—akimbo.)

Ninth inning
Continuing tonight’s theme, have you noticed Jason Motte looks kinda like Bruce Sutter? (Sorry, no link for this one.)

Ooh, a little duck snort to left center. And now a stolen base! Yep, an insurance run would have been really nice.

Oh, geez, Pujols fails to cut off the throw from right field after Andrus’ single, allowing Andrus to move up to second. Weak.

Man, that was a depressing top of the ninth inning. Three outs away from a 2-0 series lead. So close, but back-to-back sac flies give the Rangers the 2-1 advantage. Now it’s time to see if the Cards can answer against Neftali Feliz.

With a leadoff walk to Molina, I’m wondering if Carlos Marmol gave Feliz some closing advice.

Shouldn’t an anemic batter like Nick Punto have learned to bunt by now? I guess not.

Rally against Feliz’s heat? Nope.

Postgame
No “Happy Flight” for the Cardinals tonight. No happy flight…

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