MLB Championships: Bullpens ‘n’ Bats
On Wednesday, October 12, 2011, Yovani Gallardo and Chris Carpenter met at Busch for their highly anticipated match-up. With both aces on the mound, the game was supposed to be a classic. Well, it was, sort of…
In the first inning, neither pitcher looked sharp. Inconsistency was the order of the day. By the third inning, all the scoring was done. The Cards outlasted the Brew Crew 4-3. Kudos to both bullpens for doing their jobs.
One could see flashes of greatness from both Carpenter and Gallardo, but both threw too many pitches to stick around. A note: the Redbirds’ manager, Tony LaRussa, is really doing a juggling act with his relief pitchers. He never seems to allow the opposing hitters to get too comfortable with the same pitchers. This strategy may give St. Louis a slight edge in the series.
And, “Phat Albert”(Pujols) once again demonstrated his mastery over Milwaukee’s pitching staff. Why do the Brewers keep pitching to him?! In fact, they finally IW’d him twice on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the Brewers will throw veteran left-hander Randy Wolf against the Cardinals’ steady Kyle Lohse. The Cards, at home, seem poised to take a 3-1 lead in games, but it depends on which pitcher will have the best command.
The ALCS continued in Detroit on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, with the Tigers trying to level the series at 2 against the Rangers.
Rick Porcello, the former Seton Hall (N.J.) prep star, outpitched the Rangers’ lefty, Matt Harrison, although Harrison did manage to find some key pitches when he had to.
The Rangers’ Michael Young knocked in their 3rd run to take a 1-run lead, only to see the Tigers’ Brandon Inge jack one to left field to tie the game at 3.
Both teams played hard during the entire contest. In the top of the 11th, Mike Napoli knocked in the Rangers’ 4th run with a clutch single to center, scoring Josh Hamilton. After an intentional walk to Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz–yes, him again–powered a huge home run to the left-center field bleachers to give Texas a 7-3 lead.
Ron Washington showed his appreciation to bad base runners and dirt bags in this post game interview:
The home run came off the Tigers’ vaunted closer, Jose Valverde, and showed once again that the Rangers have the most versatile offense in the game. Cruz also had the best defensive play in the game earlier when he gunned down Miguel Cabrera on a tag-and-run from 3rd base on a laser throw from medium right field.
Neftali Feliz, the Texas closer, shut the door on the Tigers in the bottom of the 11th, sealing the 7-3 victory. The Rangers now hold a 3-1 lead in the series.
On Thursday, both teams’ aces take the mound at Comerica. Justin Verlander, widely expected to win the AL Cy Young Award for 2011, will try to stave off elimination for the Tigers. On paper, this looks like a probable Detroit victory, but C. J. Wilson, the Rangers’ left-handed ace, and his teammates, will have something to say about it. They are the hot team and will give a good accounting of themselves.
MLB championship baseball is in the air!