Just a few quick thoughts about both games. Both were evened up last night, which basically relegates these series to a three game winner takes all bout in Washington and New York. Lot of bats, lot of excitement, lots of Ichiro doing that ninja thing. Fortunately, though, we avoided the infield fly rule.
St. Louis 12, Washington 4
First – the Cardinals were not messing around last night. All business. From the second inning, when manager Mike Matheny pinch hit for a laboring Jaime Garcia, the Redbirds showed that they were taking game two. Add a couple innings of three run relief by the St. Louis bullpen, a spectacular catch by Jon Jay, “the Federal,” and Carlos Beltran hitting like it was 2004, and the Cardinals devised a near unbeatable equation. The middle of the Cardinals lineup still wasn’t spectacular, as leadoff hitter Jon Jay and number two man Beltran both accounted for three RBIS each, and the 3-4-5 spot only accounted for 1 on five hits. Cardinals fans would certainly like to see Matt Holliday swing the bat. This biggest Cardinal takeaway is Trevor Rosenthal, the reliever who came in to finish the game. He struck out three and allowed one hit, and all three strikeout pitches were 100 mph. He hit 101 mph on one pitch, too. The Nationals weren’t quite in shambles yesterday. Their bats were hot, as four runs in a postseason game isn’t ever “bad.” But, they left 18 on base and struck out 11 times, and Zimmerman decided that slowpitch softball was the name of his game yesterday. Game three is at one o’clock on Wednesday back in Washington.
Baltimore 3, New York 2
As far as the Yankees-Orioles, I’ve gotta think they’re going to go five games. The Orioles are scrappy, plain and simple, and I think they’re going to give the Yanks all they want and then some. I spoke with a friend on twitter about how amazing it is that Chris Davis has become a competent ballplayer. (Seriously, go look at his career arc. It’s astounding.) Another fun part of last night was Pettitte showing his old man strength. That’s two Yankees starters in two games that have gone into the ninth inning. It’s amazing, really, to see guys of such high quality just strap it on and take over. AP just needed some more run support. The Yankees played like a nerdy college freshman last night, leaving 20 on base. (Ok, so they played like me last night, whatever, just laugh at the “Can’t Close” joke and move on). They are going to have to take Baltimore more seriously. If it weren’t for two gaffes on the basepath (1 where JJ Hardy got deked by A-Rod so convincingly he didn’t run home on a groundball to the outfield and 1 where Ichiro basically did a cartwheel over an unprepared Matt Wieters to score a run), the O’s easily could have been up 4-1 instead of 3-2. The Yankees are going to have to strap it on in New York come Wednesday and not give this Baltimore team any hope if they want to advance. Game three is at 6:30 on Wednesday.
That’s it for this morning. Don’t forget – @TheDSportsRant and @spfleming on twitter for real time reactions and commercial analysis.