Tagged: Matt Holliday

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 Giants Put The Cardinals in a Cage

As baseball goes and especially for the Cardinals ~ as hot as they were Sunday night, stone cold in last night’s game.  And the Giants ~ take the win, 7-1, to tie the series.

In the top of the first ~ it was Cardinals Matt Holliday that really got the Giants and fans all fired up. Just the spark they needed to forge forward.  In an attempt to break-up a double play off a hit by Craig, Holliday slid into second.  However, his slide was over the bag and right into Giants 2B Scutaro, who was downed sustaining injury to his upper left leg. Holliday was watching over his shoulder at first base when he began his slide not hitting the dirt before the bag, causing a collision that many wanted called as illegal….but wasn’t.  This started the fire for San Francisco.  And, Scutaro would prove to be an important factor later in the game for the Giants.

For Cardinals SP Carpenter, the bottom of the first told the story for the rest of the night for his stint on the mound. Giants Angel Pagan, lead-off hitter, no outs on a 1-2 count, hits one out of the park over right field.  That got the crowd into it early.  Carpenter was having a tough time finding his comfort zone that would cause havoc for the Giants batters.  Just was not there last night for short innings.  But before damage was done for Carpenter, the Giants take their first postseason lead at home which helped to break a three game losing streak on home turf.

Carpenter was retired after the fourth. He allowed six hits for five runs, gave up two walks and only one strike out for a 4.50/ERA. Carpenter’s performance fell short of what he wanted to accomplish ~ just as much as Wainwright’s the night before. Both Cardinal pitchers are contenders, team players ~ satisfaction in only going short innings is just is not acceptable to them. Even though, they both will re-group, work harder to be a help to their team in the near future.

The Cardinals pitching has been on a “wing and prayer” all season with injuries of one pitcher, or another.  A bullpen that has been lacking at times. But, they have come this far….their season is not finished yet.

It was Giants SP Vogelsong who had a great night, comfortable and unrelenting on the mound.  He went for seven very strong innings only allowing four hits. Chris Carpenter, for a moment, worked the bat against his adversary. He hit a double off Vogelsong for a single RBI in the second for the Cardinals to see their only run and tie in the game. Vogelsong gave up two walks and had four strike outs for an 1.29/ERA.  He held the Cardinals in check to be the first of the Giants’ starters to make it through six innings this postseason. “This was his first career postseason win.”

In both Sunday’s game and last night, the fourth seems to the magic inning when runs add up on the board. As the Cardinals had done on Sunday, it was no different for the Giants in last nights match-up. And, Cardinals Chris Carpenter felt the pangs of seeing the game slip away from him.

Giants Crawford was safe at first on an error by Carpenter with an RBI. Scutaro, who was injured in the first, came to the plate for a single for a two run RBI. Pagan scored on an error by Holliday. Now the Giants held the lead, 5 -1, which the Cardinals were not able to overcome.  In the eighth ~ former Cardinal Theriot hit a single off Cardinal RP Miller for a two run RBI which pretty much “sealed the deal” for the Giants.

Giants Marco Scutaro left the dugout in the fifth, x-rays proved negative to any major injury…but he will likely have a very healthy “contusion” to contend with.  However, happy that’s all he sustained.  Baseball can be hard hitting ~ that’s part of the sport.  We don’t see as much of that today as we have in years/seasons of old. Even though … Scutaro proved to be an intricate part of the Giants victory before leaving the game.

The two teams travel to St Louis’ Busch Stadium where the Cardinals will host the Giants. Tied in the series ~ which we have seen the Cardinals in this position before.  But the Giants were given an edge with their recent victory.  So the “teeter-totter” days for the Cardinals have to be discarded if they want to seriously stay in this race.

The Tigers and the Yankees will resume their series today, now in Detroit.  Without Derek Jeters, will the Yankees be able to overcome the Tiger’s who hold a 2-0 edge for the ALCS.  For today’s game it will be Yankees SP Phil Hughes against the very strong Tigers SP Justin Verlander.  I would say Hughes is going to have to give the performance of his season/postseason for the Yankees to have a chance in this race.

To all ~ have a great day.  Those Bronco fans out there … continue to enjoy their comeback win over the Chargers! Now that was Sweet!!  Yes … not so much a Bronco’s fan, as I am a Peyton Manning fan!!  “)

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