Game 2 on the road. Heavily favored NL East opponent already leads the series and seems poised to snatch total control. The Cardinals fall into an early hole and overall, the feeling shared by most Cardinals fans at this point is hopelessness. The series is basically over if they drop down 0-2.
To be clear, we’re talking about 2006.
Though I have no confirmation, at some point last night, it felt like supporters of the Cardinals might have been swept into a time warp and sent back to October 13, 2006 against the Mets. It was almost an identical scenario in New York that night.
See if this sounds familiar – Chris Carpenter looks rusty and the opposing bats tee off on him for three in the first and another one in the second. The bullpen gets called in early, shuts down the opposition and the Cardinals claw back into it, ultimately take the lead and are somehow able to sneak back to St. Louis with the series tied at one win apiece.
That’s pretty much how it unfolded at Shea in 2006. Only the bullpen arms were Randy Flores, Josh Kinney, Tyler Johnson and a kid named Adam Wainwright. The offensive heroes in what was eventually a 9-6 win, were Scott Spiezio, Juan Encarnacion and So Taguchi.
This time around it was Fernando Salas, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski, Mitchell Boggs, Arthur Rhodes and Jason Motte on the mound and Pujols, Craig, Berkman, Jay and Furcal at the plate.
In case anyone forgot about that ’06 NLCS, it took the full seven games, but the Cardinals squeaked past the Mets and eventually brought home the World Series trophy.
Unless you’re heavy into the occult, the win in Philly should offer no foreshadowing as to what will happen this year. Aside from the presence of Carpenter, Pujols and Molina in the lineup and LaRussa in the dugout, there isn’t much tangible link to the 2006 team. But what a game like last night’s can do to the confidence level within Cardinals nation certainly feels familiar. Within a few hours, everything switched from “well, this magical run was fun to watch” to “maybe they actually can win this series”.
Don’t lie, we know there was a brief mental flirtation with throwing in the towel around the 2nd inning last night. If for no other reason than to save yourself the disappointment when the game looked to be circling down the drain. No harm in that, it’s nothing a quick flashback to 2006 couldn’t cure.
Just make sure you program that time warp to drop you back off in 2011 before Tuesday night’s game.