Tagged: Lance Lynn

Barry Zito Keeps Hope Alive for the Giants in NLCS Game 5

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

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

Cardinals Start Off in the NLCS ~ Take Game One Against the Giants

With the explosive win over the Washington Nationals to advance to the NLCS, the Cardinals are beginning with determination against the San Francisco Giants.

What a performance last night ~ David Freese two run homer in the second. RBI’s by Pete Kozma and Jon Jay. Carlos Beltran adding a two run homer for his 14th HR in postseason and 32 overall.  But David Freese said it all ~ in the last game of their previous series, the Nationals were up by 6.  In last night’s game, the Cardinals were up by 6 …. proves, you must continue to play hard ~ there are no guarantees.

Both starting pitchers, Cardinals Lance Lynn and Giants Madison Bumgarner were retired early in the game … each only going 3.2 innings.  Bumgarner allowed the Cardinals their 6 runs into the top of the fourth, one walk and only two strike outs for a 14.73 on the mound last night.

Even though Lynn closed out the regular season with a record of 18-7, he was stepped down to the bullpen during the season to recapture his great pitching skills, with evidence on the mound, were in decline.  Lynn, was reinstated into the line-up to replace Jaime Garcia, who is out for the season due to surgery on his left rotator cup. As much as Bumgarner was having problems, Lynn didn’t fair too much better starting off the bottom of the fourth ~ even though prior innings he had held the Giants in check.  He allowed the Giants their four runs, one walk and only 2 strike outs, for a 9.82 for his stint on the mound.

It was the relief pitchers who came in for both teams that stopped any further damage ~ especially for the Cardinals.  Cardinals RP Mujica, who came in for the seventh inning ~ three up, three down ~ taking the win with CP Jason Motte getting his second postseason save.  Along with outstanding offense performances, the Cardinals defense held up to the test, also.

The Giants aren’t without their woes, especially at home in their AT&T Park. This is their third loss at home in postseason and have been outscored 20-6.  Some players have stated that it’s easier to play away without the pressure of the home field. Maybe this is the case for the Giants.  If that is true, will we see the Cardinals at 2-0 before returning to St. Louis and Busch Stadium. If that is the case, the Cardinals have to stand their ground with the Giants being “away”.

I believe, not only David Freese, but all the Cardinals realize ~ there are no guarantees.  At the moment, they are playing as a team ~ seemingly feeding off one another’s energy.  It was yet another exciting game ~ but a new game begins tonight and they must keep their energy going.

For tonight’s game it will be Cardinals SP Chris Carpenter who returned to the line-up, after his Tommy John’s surgery last season, the latter part of the regular season pitching three games.  “Carp” is 0-2/3.71, but don’t let that deceive you. He did have a win against the Nationals which gave the Cardinals with a 2-1 lead in that series.  Chris is improving with each time out and he’s a contender taking his work very seriously for his team ~ and, I’m sure tonight will be no exception.  He is slated to pitch against Giants Ryan Vogelsong, 14-9/3.37.

This will be our only play-off game for tonight as the Yankees ~ Tigers travel to Detroit for their game three. The Tigers gained a second game in their series by blanking the Yankees yesterday, 3-0.

And also sharing T.V. time will be the Denver Bronco’s at San Diego against the Chargers. Never a shortage of sport events to enjoy.

Have a great 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 Get Help From The Giants

Yes, the Cardinals made it in to post season playoffs with the help from the Giants defeating the LA Dodgers. The Dodgers have been threatening for the past 6 games to overtake St. Louis. And before game times yesterday, there were still five questionable endings as to who would be in the playoffs.  Not so much in the NL, but in the AL.  However, once all was done ~ the A’s, Yankees and Tigers were crowned as Champs of their respective divisions.  In the NL, really no surprises with the Nationals, Reds and Giants taking their respective division titles.

The Cardinals wrapping up their series with the Reds in Busch Stadium ~ euphoria overtook the stadium, with a win, 1-0.  Cardinals manager Matheny held out seven of the regulars. Where as Reds manager Dusty Baker played his regulars in the game. It was Cardinals SP Shelby Miller on the mound against Reds SP Bailey.  A standoff at “OK Corral”!  Until the 8th inning, with a RBI by Cardinals Matt Carpenter for the one run.  Cardinals CP Jason Motte came in for the save.  Mood point, maybe ~ but the final game of the season … now the Cardinals team and fans could truly celebrate their advancement to the playoffs.

The Cardinals travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves.  Wild Card 2.  Cardinals SP Kyle Lohse, 16-3/2.86 will be up against Braves Medlin, 10-1/1.57.  Importance = “One and done”.   The Cardinals and the Braves last meeting, May 11-13, the Braves swept the Cards in their three game series.  The Cardinals’ mindset has to be “absolute” for their payback ~ if they want to advance to defend their title … it’s a must win. Playing in the Braves home part will not make it any easier.  The Braves have been contenders throughout the season, and they too will be looking to advance.  And I’m sure Braves Chipper Jones would enjoy another try for a World Series ring.

Out West, Thursday night in their WC game, will be the Texas Rangers hosting the Baltimore Orioles at Arlington Stadium. The Rangers SP Darvish, 16-9/3.90 will be up against ~ yet TBD by the Orioles.  This will be the third season in a row the Rangers have had a chance for the World Series … is there true lucky number ~ 3.

The excitement continues into our post season ~ new teams in the mix is good to see.  To all ~ enjoy!

Always, Elichap

The Cardinals Are Inching Along – Steady As They Go

The Cardinals have won four of their last six games.  They split their previous four game series with the Dodgers and have taken the first two games of three from the Astros. In last night’s game, Cardinals SP Lance Lynn had another great night on the mound. Even better than his last appearance with his shutout last night in his 6.1 innings ~ only allowing the Astros 3 hits and struck out five at the plate.  With help from the offense ~ a two run homer by David Freese, solo home run by Yadier Molina, giving each their 20th this season. Cardinals added RBI’s from Matt Holliday and Allen Craig.  Lynn gets his 16th win and CP Jason Motte got his 37th save, 5-0 win over the Astros. This puts the Cardinals two ahead of the Dodgers, and holding the Brewers at 2.5 for the WC #2.

This afternoon’s game will wrap-up their short home stand with Cardinals SP Jamie Garcia, 4-7/4.24 against the Astros Bud Norris, 5-12/4.24.  Norris has been effective against the Cardinals, so we will see how the Cards handle their nemesis.

Tomorrow will begin with the Cardinals back on the road for six games before finishing their season at home for six hosting the Nationals, followed by the Reds.  Tomorrow at Wrigley field to face the Cubs will be SP Chris Carpenter’s debut this season. The “Carp” is returning from his lengthy rehab from his Tommy John’s surgery.  What a welcome this will be for the Cardinals … timing is perfect with a mild slump in recent games for the pitching line-up. I hope he does well on the mound, but more importantly ~ very nice to have him back and exciting to see him pitch again.  He will be up against Cubs Chris Volstad, 3-10/6.26.  As much as the Cardinals have had their pitching woes…so have the Cubs.  However….the rivalry between the two teams lives on ~ so the Cardinals can not take them for granted even with their record at 58-91.

The storm front that hit the Chicago area Monday which the Cubs playing the Pirates opted to play after an approximate four hour delay ~ moved to the East coast by Tuesday.  The Nationals, Yankees and the Mets had their games postponed. Since the Mets – Phillies played Monday, their make-up game will be today.   Double-headers were scheduled yesterday for both the Nationals – Dodgers, who split, and the Yankees – Blue Jays…Yanks winning both their games. All will play today to end their respective three game series.

On the heels of the Yankees, the Orioles sit a bare .5 behind in the AL East. The Orioles are leading the WC race in the AL along with the Oakland A’s. LA Angels are 3.5 games behind with the Tigers sitting at 5.  Even though … The A’s are only 4 games out of the AL West leader, the Rangers.  Tigers even closer to the White Sox, who are leading the AL Central, only by two games. There still are interesting possibilities that could occur within the 13 games left to be played.

In the NL, the Nationals – East, Reds – Central and the Giants – West …. have nothing to really be concerned about with all teams playing well right now.  Even though, the Nationals want to keep heads up ~ the Braves are only 5 games back.

We have a solid schedule to be played in the next 13 days ~ who will be “on first”.

To all ~ enjoy.  Always, Elichap

Cardinals ~ Never Lose Hope, Wait Another Day for The Chicago Bears

As the NL wild card race heats up, with the LA Dodgers sitting one behind the St Louis Cardinals prior to last night’s game…followed by the Pirates, Brewers and the Phillies in the hunt.

The Cardinals are playing the Dodgers with the first of a four game series won by the Cardinals, 2-1.  Their win saves their lead in the race, but still by a slim margin. Nothing to be comfortable with, yet.

The pitching of both teams … pretty evenly matched. Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn was moved back into their line-up.  With waning pitching performance by the starting pitchers, Lynn was reinstated from the bullpen to replace SP Jake Westbrook, who is the day-to-day DL with a strained right oblique.  Lynn has had his pitching woes as well in recent outings.  However, he did his job last night on the mound ~ kept the Dodgers to 5 hits, allowed 1 earned run on a RBI by A. Gonzalez in the first, but settled in and had seven strike-outs through his six innings.

Dodgers SP J. Beckett, for his 5.1 innings ~ allowed 7 hits, 1 run on Schumaker’s RBI in the second, and had 6 strike outs.  Game tied 1-1, RP Paco Rodriguez followed Beckett giving up the leading run for the Cardinals, with a RBI by Craig in the seventh.

Cardinals RP’s Mujica, Boggs and CP Jason Motte did an excellent job in holding the Dodgers to their one run….giving Lynn (15-7) the win and Motte his 34th save.  Dodgers P Rodriguez (0-1) for the loss.

The Cardinals put their team 2 ahead of the Dodgers with the win, Pirates at 3, Brewers 3.5 and the Phillies at 4.  Now is the time for St Louis to increase their lead even more over the Dodgers…keeping those in the hunt at bay. For tonight’s game, it will be Cardinals SP Joe Kelly (5-6/3.51) against the Dodgers Chris Capuano (11-10/3.59).

Other teams of interest … both the Orioles and Yankees won, keeping the AL East division tie going.  The Chicago White Sox were looking to take two of their four game series against the Detroit Tigers in their final game yesterday, but the game was postponed. The WS sit only one ahead of the Tigers in the AL Central … the make-up game is scheduled for Sept. 17th, this coming Monday afternoon in Chicago. In the AL West, the Rangers lost to the Indians. However the A’s lost to the LA Angels….so the Rangers still remain three up on the A’s.

Very few baseball teams played yesterday, which is not uncommon for a Thursday. Since our NFL season has begun…we will have a few more Thursday night games to watch.  And last night’s match between the rivals of the Chicago Bears vs. the Green Bay Packers ~ still leaves the Pack with a 5-0 lead over the Bears in their last five games … and still the Bears have not won a night game against the Pack since 1991!  No…Bear fans did not walk away with bragging rights as Green Bay won, 23-10. The Packers definitely closed the “eye-of-needle” for Cutler last night, as much as the Bears offensive line did little to protect him. It is what it was. However ~ they will meet again….but the Bears have a lot of improving to do.

To all ~ enjoy your day right into the weekend.  Always ~ Elichap