Tagged: Pete Kozma

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

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