Tagged: Matt Cain

Giants Prove Larger Than The “Bird”

My congratulations go out to the San Francisco Giants to overcome a 3-1 series deficit to take the NLCS Championship 2012.  Now … a days rest for the team, and a day to celebrate for the fans, to prepare for the incoming Detroit Tigers for the World Series.  I believe this is a “first” in MLB-NLCS postseason play for a team to comeback three games for “winner take all”.  So on two levels ~ the Giants have much to celebrate.

The Cardinals downfall, as it were, was not taking Game 4 at home. These past two games, being in AT&T Park ~ their hearts were just not in it. One could just tell by their demeanor first facing Giants Vogelsong, then Matt Cain … forces that were too strong for them to play good ball against. The outcome was “just not in the Cards”.  However, the Cardinals came a long way to achieve the position in which they ended their season. Manager Matheny and team can be proud of their accomplishments for the 2012 season ~ by far, nothing to be ashamed about. It is what it is and now to see the NL San Francisco Giants take on the Detroit Tigers, who are coming off five days of rest as they travel today to the West coast.

As much as it was Giants Vogelsong’s great pitching efforts in Game 6 ~ Matt Cain did what he needed to do last night in Game 7 with an added touch shutting out the Cardinals, 9-0.  No, Cain did not go seven innings, only 5.2. Even though, he only allow the Cardinals five hits, gave them a walk, along with four strike-outs. The relief pitchers held right with Cain’s efforts holding the Cardinals with only two additional hits ~ but all held them to no runs.

The Giants swatted Cardinals SP Lohse around as much as they had SP Chris Carpenter the night before.  Lohse was retired after two+ innings, followed by Joe Kelly who was just as ineffective on the mound. The Giants at bat, once again striking in the first inning taking a 1-0 lead. Seemed like a carbon-copy game of the night before. Obviously, the Giants didn’t stop there with a total of five runs against Lohse, adding four more against the Cardinals relief. They had a team effort at the plate with RBI’s by the “Panda” Sandoval, Cain, Pence (2), Crawford, Pagan, and Huff.  They added a run on an error by CF John Jay and Belt had a solo home run in the eighth.

The Giants simply ~ outplayed the Cardinals in the last three games. I believe they were “hungrier” for a championship and it showed in their execution not only at the plate, but defensively.  They are contenders, as they have proven.

Now to face Detroit. Will be interesting to see if the Giants retain their strength and intensity. Tigers SP Justin Verlander, 17-8/2.64 is scheduled for Games 1 and 5 for the World Series.  He is the Tigers’ bullet on the mound. At present, the Giants have not posted who will begin this series.  We know it won’t be Vogelsong or Cain for Game 1, possibly Bumgarner, 16-4/3.37….or Zito 15-8/4.15.  But who will be the chosen Giants’ SP for Game 5.  And, will the Giants manager Bruce Bochy hold with the line-up he scheduled for the NLCS to face the Tigers.

To both the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants congratulations on making the 2012 World Series. For tomorrow ~ let the games begin.

To the fans of each ~ enjoy your respective teams … win, lose or draw ~ quite the feat to be two of the best.

On a personal note ~ my interest now can fully be on the Chicago Bears who beat the Detroit Lions last night, 13-7 … even with Lion’s Suh trying his best to take out Bears QB Cutler.  Reportedly, bruised Cutler’s ribs … but stayed in the game to guide the Bears to a win.  This was the first, in six meetings of the teams, to play at Soldier field for Monday Night Football.  The Bears now go to 5-1, reducing the Lions to 2-4.  Next on the Bears schedule, they will host Carolina on Sunday.

Life is good.  In baseball, I’m sure we will see movement of players as it seems more common for the sport …. planning to boost one’s team to get ready for next season.

To all ~ have a great day.  Always ~ Elichap

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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

Rain Didn’t Bother The St. Louis Cardinals

Game 3 of the NLCS got underway on time yesterday afternoon ~ with the known forecast of severe weather heading towards St. Louis.  Predicted not to hit the area until late afternoon.  Busch Stadium was full to the brim and the white “terrible towels” waving by enthusiastic Cardinal fans ~ with rain gear stowed just in case.

Cardinals SP Kyle Lohse was up against the Giants SP Matt Cain. Tough adversaries on the mound.  Both held for two scoreless innings – until the until the third with the Giants scoring first with a ground out by Sandoval and Pagan able to put a run on the board.

For the Cardinals, it was Matt Carpenter who was, in my mind, the MVP in the game. Beltran was held out of the game after the first inning due to a strained left knee which occurred running out a double play. In the third, manager Matheny replaced Beltran with M Carpenter in the line-up.  John Jay, lead-off batter had a single, but was able to advance to second on a pick-off error by Cain. Then, it was showtime for Matt Carpenter coming to the plate. This was Carpenter’s first appearance in the NLCS. With little time to think, once again he faced Cain on the mound. Carpenter had been strong against Cain in regular season hitting four for four singles. The count was 0-2 in Cain’s favor, but Carpenter would not be denied. On 2-2 count, Carpenter connected with a hanging slider for a two run homer. The Cardinals were now in the lead, 2-1.

Both pitchers had their problems on the mound, even though Cain went longer than Lohse. Cardinals Kyle Lohse was retired after 5 2/3 innings with two runners on, two outs on the board. With Giants Pagan next at the plate, manager Matheny brought in RP Rosenthal. Pagan hit a grounder for a fielder’s choice and Cain was out at second. Rosenthal left the two runners stranded, holding the Cardinals with the lead. Between Cardinals RP Mujica and Boggs, they were able to keep the Giants at one run through the sixth and seventh innings.

The storm front was approaching and rain beginning to fall in the seventh ~ with looming reports of the front moving closer with 60 mph winds and severe lightning in a nearby county. Cain had the bases loaded, with two outs. Cardinals Shane Robinson was up to bat.  He grounded out with a RBI to give the Cardinals another run, now a 2 run lead. Cardinals Kozma and Descalso advanced.  Cain was retired and  “game delay” was called, bringing the tarp out  just moments before the major portion of the severe storm hit.

In postseason play, game in progress, play is resumed no matter how long it takes for a weather front to move through. After a 3 hour and 28 minute delay, the tarp was removed ~ with large puddles still standing the corner of the right field track ~ the game resumed. Cardinals CP Motte came in for the eighth – 3 up, 3 down and only nine pitches.  He also squashed any hopes for the Giants in the ninth.  Approximately, 23 minutes after the delay ~ the Cardinals take the win, 3-1 and a 2-1 lead for the series. A win for Lohse, and once again, a save for Jason Motte.

As much as the Giants ended their losing streak at home with their win to tie the series, the Cardinals were able to end another stat for the Giants.  Their loss last night ended a six game winning streak on the road. And, it was Matt Cain’s second loss for postseason play.

It was a great afternoon into the night for the Cardinals and fans alike. A great day for Matt Carpenter ~ not only to help our his team, but his mom and dad were in the stands. Beginning their trip at 2:30 yesterday morning, they had driven 9 1/2 hours to watch the game, unknowing that their son would be placed in the line-up. And what a performance they were able to see by their son. Matt knocking the ball out of the park to take the lead over the Giants. For mom and dad, his team and fans alike ~ he made them all proud. For himself ~ “this is what you train for … a player does what he can to help out”. And, that he did.

As the front moved towards the Detroit area late afternoon/early evening ~ the ALCS Game 4 for the Tigers and the Yankees scheduled to begin at 7:00 CST ~ was postponed until this afternoon.

Even though the major cold front moved through the area last night, there is still a 50% chance of rain in the St. Louis area for tonight with temps a bit cooler than the 71 degrees of yesterday.  With that possibility, will managers Matheny and Bochy reconsider their starting pitchers for tonight. Slated is Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright (14-13/3.94) and Giants SP Tim Lincecum (10-15/5.18). Or, will they stay the course and not worry about the weather forecast.

Also, this evening we have the NFL Thursday Night game kicking off Week 7. The Seattle Seahawks, coming off a win this past weekend, playing in San Francisco  against the 49er’s, who lost their home game Sunday.  Both teams are at 4-2.

To all ~ enjoy the games.  Always ~ Elichap