Results tagged ‘ Ballgames ’

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, I covered the single best nine-inning game I’ve ever seen in my life.

The 2004 NLCS was a better series than last year’s, no doubt about it. Start to finish, amazing baseball. But for a single game, I don’t expect to top Game 7 of the ’06 NLCS. Endy Chavez’s catch was probably the best play I’ve ever seen, and that includes Edmonds on Brad Ausmus in Game 7 in 2004. Jeff Suppan‘s escape in the next inning was huge, and IMO, as critical as any other juncture in the entire game. Molina’s home run was just stunning, and of course Wainwright’s escape in the ninth was classic baseball drama. That one will be remembered for a long time, not just in St. Louis.

Really phenomenal baseball. Sometime about the seventh inning or so, I just started saying things like, "I can’t believe I’m paid to be here."

Here’s hoping that the ALCS and/or World Series deliver some ball of that quality before October is out.

-M.

(now playing: Timbaland, Shock Value.)

We're talking about unchecked aggression here

(BTW, first of all thanks to the truly awesome Big Lebowski Quote Generator for many of my recent subject headers. Though if you click on the link, be warned that it includes some decidedly R-rated language. Anyway.)

I called Matt Holliday’s homer in the fourth tonight. Knew Micah Owings was going to make a mistake to him, and knew Holliday would pounce. And there’s a reason I was able to call it — because there’s absolutely no way Owings should still have been in the ballgame. He was clearly flagging. He’d thrown 29 pitches in the inning — twenty-nine! He’d taken a pretty good tumble on Torrealba’s ball earlier in the inning.

Oh, and it was Matt Bloody Holliday coming to the plate, only the best hitter in the stadium.

So it’s Game 4. Win or your season is done. You’ve got a very good, very deep bullpen with guys who can go more than an inning. Your starter is clearly fading and has worked extremely hard. The best hitter on either team is at the plate. It’s a two-run game and your team is still in it, but one big hit and the lead is probably too big to overcome. Why, exactly, is Owings still in the game?

(Note — Holliday is 5-for-8 against Juan Cruz, the reliever who eventually came in. So there’s that. But still.)

I like how Melvin has managed for much of the postseason. For the most part, he seems to have a grasp of the single most crucial element of postseason tactical managing — you MUST win today’s game, never mind anything after today. But I really think he dropped the ball tonight. It’s a no-tomorrow game and he didn’t seize on a chance to keep it winnable.

-M.

See you in September

The Cardinals-Cubs makeup game, following Sunday’s rainout at Wrigley, has been scheduled for Sept. 10 at 2:20 p.m CT. Thanks to cubs.com’s Carrie Muskat for the heads-up.

The Cardinals will stop in Chicago on the way from Arizona to Cincinnati. The Cubs will stop at home in between visits to Houston and Pittsburgh.

As of shortly after the game, Braden Looper sounded like it was in fact going to happen, but that he and the Cards hadn’t officially approved it. Looper is the Cards’ player rep.

-M.

The Bonds Treatment?

I’ve been waiting for a while for Albert Pujols to start getting the Barry Bonds treatment. At some point, no matter how good the rest of his team may be, I just figured that opponents would get tired of watching Pujols smack line drives around the park. Remember, way back in 2001, when Bonds first set the walk record, it happened despite the fact that there were some other very dangerous hitters in the Giants lineup.

Anyway, it may finally be happening with Pujols. With a man on third, one out and Scott Rolen on deck in a 2-0 game on Tuesday, the Brewers put up four fingers for Pujols and took their chances with Rolen. I suppose it sort of worked, depending on what your goals are. Rolen hit a sac fly to make it 3-0 Cards, but Mark Grudzielanek grounded into a force play (not a fielder’s choice; a force play) to end the inning.

It’s true that Pujols has punished the Brewers even more than other teams this year, and it’s true that the rest of the Cards’ lineup tonight (no Larry Walker, no Jim Edmonds, no Reggie Sanders) is about as unimposing as you’ll see them trot out all year. But it was definitely striking, and I wonder if it will start to happen more often. Bears watching, at least.

-M.

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