One good thing about last night’s game for the Cardinals against the Giants in Game 5, they remain in the lead for the series, 3-2. That would be the only positive the Cardinals were able to walk away with after Giants SP Barry Rito did an excellent job shutting them down, 5-0.
And, for Tim Lincecum ~ you have nothing to feel bad about, except maybe, walking away without a tied series after Thursday’s game. In comparison to the performance of Cardinals SP Lance Lynn, in last night’s game ~ a bad night happens.
As fired up and “on” as the Cardinals were in Game 4, there was no evidence of that even with seven hits by the Cardinals in last night’s Game 5. Giants Barry Rito made sure six runners on were left stranded. With Giants CP Sergio Romo taking care of the seventh. Rito put up great numbers for his win and a shutout ~ going 7.2 innings, with six hits, obviously no runs, one walk and six strike-outs for an 0.00/ERA for the night.
On the flip-side of the coin, Cardinals SP Lance Lynn was smacked by the strong offense of the Giants. Lynn had struck out five of the first ten batters through the third. His undoing came in the fourth when he made a toss on a possible force-out which deflected off the second-base bag, paving the way for the Giants’ fourth giving up four unearned runs with RBI’s by Pence, Crawford and Zito off four hits. He allowed two walks, but did have six strike-outs to his credit. Lynn was retired after 3.2 innings with a 4.91. The Cardinals bullpen were doing their best to hold the Giants at four runs ~ waiting for their offense to ignite. Down to the eighth with RP Boggs on the mound, facing lead-off batter Pablo Sandoval at the plate on a full count, gave Sandoval a pitch to connect with for a solo home run.
However, Giants Barry Zito has experienced his woes on the mound as well. This was his first postseason win since 2006. “Zito was left off the postseason roster when the Giants won the 2010 World Series because he had pitched so ineffectively. He started Game 4 of the division series against the Reds earlier in this year’s playoffs and lasted only 2 2-3 innings.” I don’t believe there are any pitchers who have been without games they would really like to forget. But for all intent and purpose ~ Zito did very well for his team last night, not only on the mound … but at the plate as well.
In last night’s line-up for the Cardinals, manager Matheny placed RF Carlos Beltran back in their active roster. Beltran had not been in the line-up since after the first inning of Wednesday’s game. He had been placed on the day-to-day DL due to a strained left knee. Matt Carpenter had been his replacement and made quite a difference for the Cardinals. With wanting to take the win, close this series out at home, take the pennant … the question will always be ~ why? Beltran could have had an extra day’s rest … in the event of a win = an additional four days rest for Beltran to be ready to face the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.
Matt Carpenter had been key player both offensively and defensively in Games 3 and 4. We know Beltran has proven to be a very valuable player for the Cardinals, but it takes a team effort to win. The team seemingly had a fire going with M. Carpenter in the line-up … why change a good combination for this one game. Now …. had Beltran been able to hit a double, triple or home run to get runs on the board and the Cardinals had taken the win ~ the decision would have been viewed as excellent planning. But they didn’t see such an outcome. With M. Carpenter in the line-up ~ the outcome of last night’s game could not have been any worse, but certainly could have been a positive difference. So why change a very good mix for one game as important as this one. However, it is what it was ~ the Cardinals just could not seal the deal.
Now the Cardinals travel back to San Francisco for Game 6 on Sunday. It will be a re-match with Cardinals SP Chris Carpenter, 0-1/4.50 against Giants Ryan Vogelson, 1-0/1.29. They faced one another in Game 2, Oct. 15th, with Carpenter only going 4 innings in that game. Vogelson pitched a complete game for the Giants to take the win, 7-1, which tied the series at that point.
Once again, the Cardinals face the possible “one and done” situation away from home should the Giants take Game 6 to tie the series. Of course, the Giants will be looking at the same, should they do so ~ however, the Giants sit in that position currently with the Cardinals lead in the series.
The Cardinals have overcome such a situation winning over the Braves and the Nationals on the road. The Giants lost their first two games against the Reds at home, but came back to take 3 straight on the road to advance them to the NLCS. We will have to wait to see if the Giants continue to win at AT&T Park … or will the road game for the Cardinals be to their benefit. Aaaah ~ just have to love baseball for all it’s possibilities.
Until tomorrow ~ college football is in abundance today. Enjoy your respective teams … and good luck to all.
Have a great day! Always ~ Elichap