The last two posts were the AL & NL sides of the playoffs – this post is Topps Update but now from a World Series perspective. We’re on to game 4! This is my attempt to spice up a Series between my two least favorite teams.
Game 1 started with controversy right off the bat. The Cardinals had their ace, Adam Wainwright, on the mound.
He got into trouble in the first inning. With 2 runners on, a slow-rolling ground ball was bobbled by Pete Kozma in a hurry to turn a double play – but instead all runners were safe and Mike Napoli cleared the bases with a double three pitches later.
In the second inning, Kozma had another error on a Victorino ground ball to load the bases for a second straight frame. Dustin Pedroia singled in the next run.
And then Big Papi smashed a ball to right-center field, right about the same spot he did against the Tigers. It looked like another Grand Slam, but Carlos Beltran had other ideas, turning a homer into a sacrifice fly, but injuring his ribs in the process. He’d leave the next inning, and that was about the only thing that went right for the Cardinals all day.
Later in the game, Ortiz hit one that wasn’t catchable, and the Red Sox piled on to support Jon Lester and win, 8-1.
Game 2 starts off with one guy who isn’t on the Red Sox or Cardinals. Mo Rivera had a cameo in this World Series – he threw out the opening pitch in game 2. Enter Sandman was played in Fenway for the first time!
But the talk of the play on the field was the youngster starting for the Cardinals. Michael Wacha has had the best start of a playoff career in my lifetime. He nearly threw a no-hitter in his first start in the ALDS against the Pirates, and he won the NLCS MVP behind 2 7-inning performances where he didn’t give up a single run.
Wacha was almost as good as that, but he did have one bad pitch that Ortiz knocked over the green monster in the 6th inning. And John Lackey looked really good, and all of a sudden the Red Sox had a 2-1 lead.
But the Cardinals bounced back. Lackey let two runners on with one out in the 7th, and then Kozma and John Jay executed a double steal when Craig Breslow came in to relieve him. This time the poor fielding was on the Boston side. Breslow gave up a sacrifice fly to Matt Carpenter.
The throw home got by the catcher Saltalamacchia, and Breslow fired an errant throw to third, allowing another run to score and the Cards to take the lead. Beltran, playing with the bruised ribs from the night before, singled on the next pitch for his second hit of the game. The Cardinals never looked back and won 4-2.
Game 3 last night was started by Boston’s midseason acquisition, Jake Peavy. Peavy is a former Cy Young winner, but he’s not just lacked postseason success – he’s been downright awful in his postseason career. He wasn’t awful last night, but he wasn’t great either, giving up 7 baserunners and 2 runs in 4 innings.
The game was tied at 2 after 6 innings, but Breslow again came in and was ineffective – he’s now faced 5 batters in the World Series and gotten just 1 out, plus had the crucial throwing error in game 2. A Matt Holliday double gave the Cards a 2 run lead, but the Sox came back in the next frame to tie it up.
In the bottom of the 9th, Yadier Molina notched a single off of reliever Brandon Workman. Uehara came in and gave up a double to pinch hitter Allen Craig, and Molina was sitting at third with 1 out.
That’s where this strange series got even weirder. Craig, who hadn’t played in the 7 weeks before the World Series, came back as a DH in games 1 and 2, and probably won’t play in the field during this series. He’s got a foot injury, so he’s not the ideal baserunner in this situation.
But Molina was the winning run, so it seemed like it wouldn’t matter. Not the case. Jon Jay hit a ground ball to second, and Pedroia came home with the throw to nab Molina. Saltalamacchia threw to third to nab Craig, but Will Middlebrooks couldn’t handle the throw. Craig bolted home, but a good throw by Daniel Nava clearly beat him. However, Craig was ruled safe on an obstruction call – Middlebrooks had interfered with Craig and was awarded home plate, ending the game.
It’s probably the strangest ending of a World Series game since Babe Ruth was caught stealing to end the 7th game of the 1926 Series.
That gave the Cardinals their first World Series in the modern era (they had won a predecessor as a member of the American Association in 1886). We’ll see how the rest of this series goes – there’s a few more guys in Topps Update I haven’t featured yet.
A worn down Clay Buchholz is Boston’s starter tonight, their best hope at staving off a difficult 3-1 series deficit.
Some other guys who could have an impact on the series – Shelby Miller won 15 games this year and could be a long relief man if one of the Cardinals starters gets into trouble.
With Craig limited to pinch hit or DH roles, Matt Adams is manning first, and he’s capable of a prodigious blast if a Boston pitcher makes a mistake.
Slick fielding Stephen Drew hasn’t hit very well this postseason – if he gets out of his slump, he could help Boston get back into the Series.