Tagged: adam wainwright

Giants Vogelson Proves to be Cardinals Achilles’ Heel

“An Achilles’ heel is a deadly weakness in spite of overall strength, that can actually or potentially lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, idiomatic references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common.”  This is exactly what Giants SP Vogelson and team has been for the Cardinals ~ not only in Game 2, but in Game 6 last night.  The Giants handled the defending champions well taking the win, 6-1 and tied the series, 3-3. This was the second match-up for Cardinals SP C Carpenter and Giants SP Vogelson.

Ryan Vogelson went seven innings and had a career record nine strike-outs. Only allowing 4 hits, and one walk for a 1.29. A glimmer of hope for the Cardinals in the sixth. Beltran connected for a double, followed by Craig with a single bringing in Beltran for the Cardinal’s to put a run on the board. Their hope was soon deflated, and that was the only run the Cardinals would see for the night.

The Giants took advantage of Cardinals SP Chris Carpenter. Carpenter had returned to the line-up late in the regular season to replace the injured Jake Westbrook. He was coming back  from Tommy John surgery, had only pitched three games, 0-2/3.71 ERA in 17 innings pitched. For this series, he is 0-2 and, once again, had problems right out of the gate.  Unfortunately, he did not settle in until the third. However, the damage of the Giants offense within the first two innings let their presence be known, with one run in the first and adding four more in the second. Carpenter allowed the Giants six hits, five runs, two walks and the high note for Carpenter ~ did come out with six strike-outs before being retired after the fourth. He was not able to lead his team to the promise land.

The Cardinals looked tired, sluggish, and almost a defeatist attitude as they approached the  plate. LF Matt Holliday had been held out of the game due to lower back stiffness and replaced with Matt Carpenter in the line-up.  1B Craig was moved into LF, and M Carpenter to cover 1B. With ineffective pitching and having players in positions unfamiliar, also, added to the Cardinals frustration. They did get five hits from M Carpenter, Beltran, Craig, Descalso and Kozma but were unable to ignite anything beyond their one run.

The Giants proved, in front of their home crowd, they were just as much a “comeback” team as the Cardinals have been. Even though, we are not finished yet with series tied, 3-3, Game 7 ~ “winner take all” ~ is tonight.

There is rain in the forecast for the Bay Area today, so that could pose a possible postponement of the game.  However, it looks like the rain will settle in through tomorrow, also.  So that will remain to be seen.  Should the game be postponed and re-scheduled for Tuesday ~ that brings both teams right up to opening day for the World Series.  Granted, the Giants are at home, so no travel involved should they win.  However, should the Cardinals be victorious, travel back to St. Louis to play Wednesday. Either or ~ the Giants or the Cardinals ~ will face the well rested Detroit Tigers who took the ALCS pennant, in four games against the Yankees, adding three extra days rest, just waiting to see who their opponent will be.

For Game 7, it will be Cardinals Kyle Lohse, 16-3/2.86 against Giants Matt Cain, 16-5/2.79.  In regular season, Cain had only pitched once against the Cardinals on May 17, which the Giants won 7-5.  Lohse had never faced the Giants until postseason.  This is a rematch for the pitchers as they faced one another in Game 3, Oct 17 in St. Louis, Cardinals winning, 3-1. Lohse took the win, 1-0/1.59 against Cain, 0-1/4.05.  Out of all the SP’s for the Cardinals, I would say Lohse is their bullet currently.

It has been reported that Wainwright may be part of the Cardinals relief pitching for tonight’s game. Tim Lincecum has been added to the bullpen for the Giants.  Should that scenario become reality for the Cardinals, in the event Lohse can sustain the Giants through six or seven innings, with Wainwright in the bullpen, along with CP Jason Motte ~ could prove quite the combination.  However, the Cardinals offense has got to come alive ~ as we know they are capable of at the plate. ~ Because !! The Giants are 5-1 when scoring first in postseason play.

Another consideration for the Cardinals manager Matheny, should Jon Jay remain in the lead-off position. Jay has been at bat 25 times, only 5 hits with 1 double, 3 RBI’s and only at .200 for the NLCS. Would Craig or Beltran, at this juncture, be better suited.  Jay is an excellent player for the Cardinals and had done well during regular season ~ just has not been able to “connect” at the plate to get things going for his team during this series. I have no idea if Matheny will give thought to this consideration for tonight’s game. Just seems Jay, at the moment, may be better suited a bit down the line.

“While the Giants have won five straight games facing elimination this postseason, the Cardinals have won their last six dating to last year. This is the first time the NLCS has gone seven games since 2006, when St. Louis beat the New York Mets 3-1 at Shea Stadium. Carlos Beltran, now with the Cardinals, struck out looking when Adam Wainwright froze him on a curveball.”

Last night’s game, both offensively and defensively, the Cardinals certainly didn’t display too much enthusiasm. As for the Giants ~ “they were comfortable in their own skin” ~

So to Game 7 ~ “winner take all” ~ “one and done”.  Do the Cardinals have the gumption not to be denied yet another victory.  I don’t believe the Giants will be very accommodating with the efforts they have shown.

Even so, I still believe in #12-n-12 ~ who is waiting in the wings to return to help his team.

To all ~ enjoy your games. The Chicago Bears (4-1) host the Detroit Lions (2-3) in tonight’s MNF.  First time the Lions have played at Soldier Field on a Monday night in six meetings of the two teams.  Another exciting night in sports.

Have a great day! Always ~ Elichap

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Cardinals Inch Closer To Their Second Consecutive WS Appearance.

The ‘slogan’ for the St. Louis Cardinals for the postseason is “#12 in 12”.  A friend of mine and myself have entertained ourselves with  numerology during October and if the science has anything to do with good fortune ~ last nights game for the Cardinals is an indicator. Since the chosen number for the Cardinals is “12”, in last night’s game they had 8 runs within 4 innings = ’12’ on ’12’ hits.  Just a thought, just a note this truly could be the magic number for the St. Louis team ~ winning Game 4 over the Giants, 8-3 ~ 3-1 for the series … without a rain delay.

It was Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright who helped to make a difference in last night’s game against the Giants.  He only allowed one run ~ a home run by Pence in the second ~ no walks and five strike-outs through the seventh, for 1-0/1.29.  And complimented by his team members, not only defensively but offensively, did their jobs with Holliday – 2 RBI’s, Craig – 1 RBI, Molina – 2 RBI’s, Jay – 2 RBI’s and Kozma with 1 RBI.  Cardinals bats were alive and well last night. RP Salas took over for the eighth. Still on the mound in the  ninth ~ allowed two hits ~ a double by Scutaro, and with only one out, on a 0-0 count … a two run homer by Giants Sandoval.  Salas went the two innings with only one strike-out, however no walks, also. Even though the Giants were able to add runs on the board in the ninth, Salas and the Cardinals were able to give Wainwright his win for the is series. And, handed Giants Tim Lincecum a loss.

For Giants Tim Lincecum, he had been pulled from the bullpen to the line-up. His first start in postseason and very rough road on the mound.  Which after six hits, four runs, three walks and three strike outs ~ he was retired after 4.2 innings, 0-1/5.40.  His hopes in returning the the line-up as a regular may be dim after his performance last night.  Even after being retired from duty, the Giants RP’s Kontos’ and Mota didn’t help in damage control with allowing two runs each by the Cardinals.

Have the Cardinals experienced such woes ~ yes. Example ~ pitcher Lance Lynn. He had a great start in regular season and began to falter; thus, stepped down to the bullpen to recapture his skills, brought in occasionally as relief.  He was brought back to the line-up when Jaime Garcia was placed on the DL. Slowly but surely he has begun to prove himself worthy ~ but on any given night, a pitcher can be off and only in for short innings … of which, even Cardinals SP Carpenter, Wainwright and Lohse have experienced from time to time.

I’m sure, with the talents that Lincecum possesses ~ he will not give up. However, in a key game, in a key series to take the pennant ~ his performance was of a crucial nature.

Game 5 is this evening we will see Cardinals SP Lance Lynn, 18-7/3.78 against the Giants Barry Zito, 15-8/4.15.  The last time on the mound for Lynn was against the Nationals, Oct. 8, with a win 12-4.

With the Detroit Tigers taking the win, 8-1, over the NY Yankees yesterday ~ the Tigers shut the Yankees down 4-0 to take the  ALCS Pennant to advancing them to the World Series.  “The Yankees failed to win a game in a postseason series for only the fifth time. They hadn’t been swept since a best-of-five ALCS against Kansas City in 1980. The last team to sweep four straight against them had been Cincinnati in the 1976 World Series.”

Should the Cardinals win the NL Pennant to face the Detroit Tigers in the World Series ~ it would be the two teams with the worst matching  W/L records at the end of 2012 regular season, in the standings, at 88-74.  The Tigers wait to see if they will be traveling to St. Louis or San Francisco as the NL team has home field advantage.

A special note for Cardinal fans ~ it is reported the FB Lance Berkman just may be ready to return should the Cardinals advance to the World Series. #12-  in 12.

To all ~ have a great day.  Always ~ Elichap

The Rally in League History ~ The Cardinals Take The Honor

I’m still a bit numb this morning, as I’m sure the Nationals and their fans are, too.  Mine comes from a dream-like state, knowing the Cardinals had it in them to overcome. For the Nationals ~ total disbelief of what transpired.  The Cardinals have proven throughout the year, the teeter-totter they were on … they would manage to come out on top. It has been proven, that when the chips were on the table and the pressure was on, the Cardinals found a way to come through with a victory.

The Nationals have been an extraordinary team throughout the season, holding the best overall W/L record in the league. They were no less in this series.  Great players ~ great fans had their back. The Cardinals and the Nationals were tied in their five game series.  Last night was the “one and done“.  Last night was the game to end one team’s season for the year.

The Nationals started off out of the gate against Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright, with one out in the mix, he allowed three runs, which included a two run homer by Zimmerman, before Wainwright ended the first. The Nationals were held to their three run lead in the second. But, started up again against Wainwright in the third ~ solo home run by Harper on a full count, then a two run homer by Morse on an 0-0 count. Cardinals Wainwright had to concede to the Nationals challenge and was retired during the third. As much as Wainwright wanted to go the distance … Cardinals bullpen definitely performed their best to keep the Nationals in check.

The Cardinals were looking at a six run deficit going into the fourth. Even though, they began making their move. Holliday doubled with a RBI to put the Cards on the board. As much as Wainwright had his pitching woes, the Nationals SP Gio Gonzalez began experiencing his own; however, only gave up one vs. six. But the fifth inning proved to be no better for Gonzalez…the Cardinals had the bases loaded and on a wild pitch, brought in second run for the Cardinals. Still in the fifth, bases loaded once again….Gonzalez walked Craig, adding yet another run cutting the Nationals lead in half. Gonzalez was retired after the fifth.

With the Nationals bullpen, the Cardinals were able to add yet another run in the seventh. The Cardinals were inching their way, inning by inning.  I believe it was in the eighth inning that really fired the Cardinals up with a home run by Descalso to bring the Cardinals within one run of the Nationals. The Nationals would not be denied with a single by Suzuki for an RBI.  Score ~ Nationals 7 – Cardinals 5

Then the unbelievable happened ~ ninth inning stretch. Nationals CP Storen had two outs on the board, two strikes ~ Descalso at the plate hits a single which deflecting off the glove of SS Desmond for a double RBI.  Game tied.  All Storen needed was one more out to give his team a chance ~ much as the night before with Werth’s walk-off homer. Cardinals Kozma was at the plate, hits a single for another double RBI to take the lead. Storen got his third out but not before damage was done.

Cardinals CP Jason Motte ~ did what he does so well and has throughout the season.  In the bottom of the ninth ~ Nationals team and fans, reality of the moment, seeing their victory slipping away ~ Motte shuts down the Nationals to giving him and his team the win, 9-7.  Cardinals still have “magic” in postseason play.

By the record book, the Cardinal’s comeback has never been achieved before. It was the largest deficit for a team to overcome and “winner take all” in postseason game.

To the Nationals ~ what a great team and will be a force next season. I don’ believe they will take this defeat lightly come next year ~ they will be on a mission.

To the Cardinals ~ Congratulations on a great series, a great outcome against the “Best of the Best” Nationals in a hard fought battle. In sports ~ on any given day anything is possible …. even the unbelievable accomplishments of the Cardinals. Team effort has gotten the Cardinals to this point, but the player for last night’s game, MVP, who gets my vote is 2B Daniel Descalso.  He’s the one who got the fire started for his team.

Next stop for the Cardinals will be to face the San Francisco Giants for the NLCS series. First game will be on Sunday.  I’m sure St. Louis is still celebrating their good fortune regarding the victory of their home team.  Even though, tomorrow begins anew.

To all ~ enjoy your day.  Always, Elichap

Two In ~ Two Left To Be Decided

What a day for exciting playoff games. Yesterday, two teams advanced to the NLCS. The San Francisco Giants held on to their lead, but not without a moment in the ninth when the Cincinnati Reds looked to be making a come back with two men on and Ludwig at the plate. He hit a single to left for an RBI…cutting the Giants lead to two. Two runners on ~ but Giants CP Romo did his job and held the Reds with just one run. Giants win, 6-4. The Giants are the first team ever to have a comeback from being 0-2 and winning three straight in “away” games to take a series.

The Detroit Tigers continued their very strong play with a shutout over the Oakland A’s, 6-0. The Tigers winning pitcher and gets the shutout ~ Justin Verlander.  Justin went nine innings, only allowed four hits, had one walk and with eleven strike outs for a .56 in yesterday’s game to take the series for the Tigers.

Two games are left for today to decide who will advance to play the Giants and the Tigers. The Baltimore Orioles, once again proved their nemesis status for the Yankees, taking the win, 2-1.

The remaining pair ~ the St. Louis Cardinals against the Washington Nationals. It was a duel of the pitchers.  Both Cardinals SP Kyle Lohse and Nationals SP Ross Detwiler worked hard and kept each of their opposing teams in check. Lohse pitched through the seventh inning, allowed 2 hits, one run which was a solo home run by LaRoche in the second, walked one, with five strike outs. Detwiler was in for six. He allowed three hits, 1 run – a RBI by Cardinals Carlos Beltran in the third. Detwiler had 3 walks and two strike outs. With great defense from both teams, they helped their pitchers to hold the tie, 1-1.

The relief pitchers for the Nationals were unrelenting. The Cardinals had gone cold with seven straight strike outs into the ninth. The Nationals RP Drew Storen held the Cardinals with only one run on the board to close the top of the ninth. The Cardinals were hopeful of extra innings, bringing RP Lance Lynn to the mound.  Nationals Jayson Werth was lead-off hitter. Lynn throwing pitch after pitch to a full count, pitching total adding up to thirteen, Werth would not be denied. He connects with a perfect pitch over the plate sailing the high flier into the Nationals bullpen. The Nationals win the game with a walk-off homer by Werth, 2-1.  And with a crowd of 44,392 who had been standing and encouraging their team since the beginning of the seventh inning ~ went wild. Werth rounded the bases, index finger extended in recognition of their support for their “#1” team.

Nationals Detwiler gets the win, Storen the save. Cardinals Lance Lynn, the loss. Offensively, both teams were lacking yesterday, but all it takes is one hit to make a difference … and Werth found the one.

So it goes down to the wire showdown for our remaining four teams. For the Baltimore Orioles it will be SP Hammel, 8-6/3.43 against the NY Yankees SP C Sabathia, 15-6/3.38.

For the St. Louis Cardinals and the Nationals it will be a repeat of their first game for starting pitchers. Cardinals Adam Wainwright, 14-13/3.94 will face Gio Gonzalez, 21-8/2.89. The Nationals won that game ~ will the Cardinals have the force to comeback and change the outcome. Today is yet another “one and done” situation for the Cardinals.

Even though we have had some exciting games in the playoffs, I would like to add a special note. Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s father passed away last weekend.  My condolences and sympathies go out to Joe and the Girardi family.

To all ~ may you enjoy the games later this afternoon and evening. Who will we see on on the schedule for the NLCS seven game stretch.  Good luck to all!

Always, Elichap

Cardinals Had A Field Day

The St. Louis Cardinals hosting the Washington Nationals ~ first game of their series last night.  What a game for the Cards and their fans.  It was a hit fest and a walk in the park.

The Nationals took the lead with a RBI by LaRoche off Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright. Nationals SP Edwin Jackson took the mound and the Cards showed no mercy in the bottom of the first. The Cardinals put up 5 RBI’s in the first by Craig, Molina, Beltran, Descalso and Kozma. At the close of the  first inning ~ the Nat’s were looking at a 5-1 deficit. Wainwright did his job in the second to hold the lead. Then to add “salt to the wound” for Jackson in the second ~ the Cardinals did not let up. Matt Holliday and Allen Craig added two more RBI’s with Yadier Molina getting a two run homer pushing his HR record to 22. Cardinals now with a healthy lead, 9-1. It was not a night that the Nationals SP Edwin Jackson wants to remember … or repeat.  He was stepped down with only 1.1 innings pitched allowing 6 hits, 9 runs with one unearned, adding 4 walks and he had no strike outs.

The packed stadium* was estatic with their home team taking over the game from the NL East leaders.  However, the game quieted to the normal up at bat and out, until the 8th inning with Nationals CP Gonzales taking the mound. Once again the Cardinals kicked in gear with 3 hits and adding 3 runs ~ RBI by Matt Carpenter and a two run homer by Shane Robinson.

Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright had a very good night, only allowing the Nat’s 5 hits, 1 run, with 1 walk and 5 strike outs.  The Nationals did add one more run with a homer by Bernadina on a 1-1 count off Cardinals RP Joe Kelly in the top of the seventh.  Even though, the Cardinals took full advantage of the Nat’s bullpen taking the win, 12-2.

Even with the loss for the Nationals ~ they hold steady with their lead by four over the Braves in their division. The NY Mets handed the Braves a loss, 3-1.  With the LA Dodgers shutting out the Rockies, 8-0, the Cardinals still hold a 3 game lead for the WC2 position. The Brewers who made a excellent charge for a WC position, but with a loss to the Astros, 7-6, are now five behind the Cardinals. So as it goes in baseball ~ it is what it was and today is a brand new day.

In second game with the Nationals, it will be Cardinals SP Kyle Lohse, 16-3/2.77 up against the Nationals SP Zimmerman, 12-8/2.90.  With only five games remaining in our regular season ~ keeping the mindset and nose to the grindstone is of the up-most importance coming down the stretch.

A special note and congratulations to Cincinnati Reds SP Homer Bailey. He added his name to this season’s no-hitter list being the seventh to do so. They are in a series against the Pirates. Bailey only had 1 walk and added 10 strike outs to his stats against 27 at bats for the Pirates yesterday.  The Reds won, 1-0.  Even though, the Pirates did well to hold the Reds to only one run.  That in itself is quite a feat.

*The fans broke a record ~ as of last night’s game, over 3 million! have attended the Cardinals games at Busch Stadium.

To all ~ enjoy your games.  Have a great day!  Always, Elichap

Baseball Fans ~ Six Games Left

Post season play is right around the corner ~ the race for the playoffs is still very close in the AL and pretty much decided in NL.

In the AL, the Yankees hold a slim margin over the Orioles, only by 1, in the East division. In the West division, the Rangers seem to be holding steady with a four game lead over the A’s. But it is the Central division which has taken a turn.  Will the White Sox be able to regroup and once again take over the number one spot in the standings.  The Tigers have been playing strong ball and have moved into sole possession of first by two games over the White Sox. It has been such a great season for the Chicago’s White Sox under new management and would certainly be a shame to see them ousted.  At this point,   the White Sox sit 6 behind the Orioles and the A’s for a WC2 spot.  With the Rays and the Angels tied at 2 games out for the WC2 ~ they are looking to eliminate the White Sox from post season.  Nothing in stone as of yet for the AL.

In the NL, the division winners are the Reds in the Central, the Giants in the West ~ however, no decision … other than “yes” they are in the play-offs for the East division, between the Nationals and the Braves.  The Braves are only four games out….with six games left to play ~ this could be a very interesting race down the pipeline.

The Cardinals are sitting in the WC2 seat ~ 3 ahead of the Dodgers, 4 ahead of the Brewers. The Nationals have a stake and the Cardinals must keep their noses to the grindstone to claim their post season position.  So, in the next three games to be played … the Cardinals host the Nationals at Busch Stadium.  The games are equally important for both.  It’s going to be a showdown for sure.  The first game tonight, it will be Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright, 13-13/4.02 against Nationals SP Edwin Jackson, 9-10/3.77.  The Cardinals had yesterday off, so hoping this gave them time to keep their mindset for strong play not only defensively, but offense is a must.  The Nationals have been a nemesis for the Cards ~ along with the Nationals CP Chapman.  Cardinals CP Motte has done extremely well this season and expect him to rise to the occasion.

To all ~ enjoy your games.  Always ~ Elichap

R.A. Dickey Again ~ Shuts The Door on the Cardinals.

On June 2nd, the Cardinals were in New York for a four game series.  They faced Mets SP R.A. Dickey for the first time.  Dickey proved his power over the Cards with a shutout, 5-0, in his complete game only allowing 7 hits with adding 9 strike outs to his stats.

In yesterday’s game ~ Dickey did not pitch a complete game nor was it a shutout.  Dickey allowed eight hits, but the Cardinals could only put two runs on the board during his 6.2 innings.   However, the Mets offense, which included a three run homer by Ike Davis, was more than helpful yesterday for Dickey.  The Mets took the win, 6-2, and kept the Cardinals from a sweep in their three game series.  The Mets did most of their damage off of Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (13-12), who allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings.  Even though Wainwright was not at the top of his pitching game ~ he gave the Cardinals their first score with a home run off Dickey in the third inning.

Dickey has become the first to reach 18 wins in the league for this season, and the first since 1990 for the Mets.  During that season, two Mets SP’s Frank Viola (20-12) and Dwight Gooden (19-7) reached that level during that season.  He has five more starts and hopeful to reach 20….and with his finesse, I’m sure he will accomplish his goal.  R. A. is in the running for this season’s Cy Young Award.

Wrapping up the series with the Mets, the Cardinals will host the Milwaukee Brewer’s in Busch Stadium with a three game series beginning tomorrow.  In their last meeting in Milwaukee, the Cardinals managed one of their very few sweeps of the season.   Cardinals SP Kyle Lohse (14-2/2.81) is scheduled against Brewer’s Yovani Gallarrdo (14-8/3.79).

With 25 games left to play ~ In the NL, the Atlanta Braves (77-60) and the St. Louis Cardinals (74-63) still are holding the Wild Card positions with the LA Dodgers (73-65) and Pittsburgh Pirates (72-64) tied at 1.5 behind.   In the AL race … the Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland A’s, both (76-60) hold the Wild Card positions, followed by the Tampa Bay Rays (75-62) at 1.5 and the LA Angels (74-63) at 2.5.

The Cardinals still have a lot a work ahead of them. Of late, their starting pitcher’s have been less effective and the offense in general has been unable to back them up.  Their concentration has to stay on the Wild Card bid.  For the moment, the Cardinals need to forget about closing the gap on the NL Central leader, Cincinnati Reds who have an 8.5 game lead (83-55).  The Reds have been playing very strong ball, and unless they hit a major speed-bump, are they going to let up.  The Cardinals need to step up to the plate and take the games they are capable of winning.  Strong mind-set is needed between now and the end of the season.  Their last six games at home on the schedule, Sept 28-30 the Nationals. Oct. 1-3, they will host the Reds ~ then they will have to be absolute and commanding.

All in all ~ baseball outcomes are not in stone.  There is much to be done, and much to overcome for many teams….one game at a time.

For all ~ enjoy your day as well as your games.  Off the cuff ~ a surprise ending for the NY Giants in the season opener last night against the Dallas Cowboys.  The Cowboys rode right over the Giants with a win, 24-17.  So it begins ~ and NFL Sunday just a few short days away!!

Always, Elichap