JoeSportsFan World Series Recap: Game 5

25
Oct
2011

50 Word Recap
The Cardinals couldn’t hit with RISP, voluntarily gave up two innings worth of outs, wasted a solid Chris Carpenter start, told everyone that their bullpen phone broke and it sort of made sense.  That’s how frustrating the 4-2 loss was. Now they come back home on the brink of elimination.

The Right Knee Says it All
For fans watching the game, the right knees of Nick Punto and Adrian Beltre symbolized exactly what was going through our all of our heads.

Cardinals fans were inching closer towards breaking something out of frustration after repeatedly watching their team miss opportunities to build a lead, while Rangers fans were genuflecting to their offensive firepower after they wiped out a 2-0 lead with two swings – one by Mitch Moreland and this one by Beltre – before Mike Napoli finished things off with an 8th inning double.

 

Tim McCarver’s Out of Context Quote of the Day
“Ron Washington at the press conference last night said that he told Derek Holland to get on his knees if he wanted to stay in the game” – Tim McCarver

Um, Tim, you realize that telling someone to get on their knees can be construed as…you know what, we’re not touching that one.  Clean it up, McCarver.

Top 5 Most Bizarre Managerial Decisions of the Night
It was a difficult task for anyone to keep up with whatever was bouncing around in Tony LaRussa’s head last night.  Even those who support LaRussa’s constant tinkering had to be increasingly confused by what they saw.  Today we break down the top five most bizarre decisions he made, and trust us, it wasn’t easy whittling this list down:

5.) Allen Craig’s Sacrifice
You’ve got a quality hitter at the plate with no outs and Furcal on second base.  It’s the 3rd inning up 2-0 and a chance to open this game up with the meat of the lineup waiting.  So what does Tony do?  Tells Allen Craig to bunt.  If it’s the 9th inning of a tie game, then it’s a decision you can defend.  In the 3rd inning it looks desperate. Of course the Cardinals ended the threat by grounding into a double play with Furcal still at third.

No, there was no guarantee that Craig would have advanced Furcal if he was allowed to swing, but the inning goes from potential breakout to playing for one run by the sacrifice.  In a night that was full of wasted outs for the Cardinals this was the most inexplicable.

4.) Ryan Theriot Sacrifice
Another sacrifice bunt, this time more justified as it was the 8th inning of a tie game and, with Yadier Molina on base, you need to get him as close to home as possible considering him running reminds you of watching a Mack truck headed up a steep incline.

But for some completely random reason, Tony yanks centerfielder Skip Schumaker for pinch hitter Ryan Theriot only to have Theriot bunt.  Wastes two players for what should be a routine play.  Just doesn’t compute.

3.) Allen Craig caught stealing 
The explanation has varied from a missed sign by Craig, to a hit-and-run called by Pujols, but either way, a relatively slow runner taking off from first with no outs and the best hitter in the league at the plate is mind boggling.  Craig was thrown out by five feet and suddenly a promising inning became bases empty, one out.

If Craig doesn’t get thrown out, he scores on Holliday’s double.  Instead the double pushed Pujols to third, and, after a Lance Berkman walk, was ultimately followed by a bases loaded flyout by Freese to end the threat.  It may not have been called by Tony, we don’t know, but when it happened, people watching on TV were left looking around the room for an explanation.

2.) Allen Craig caught stealing again
First time was clearly a missed sign of some sort, so there’s no way they’d try it again would they?  Not in the 9th inning with Pujols again at the plate, this time as the tying run, right?  RIGHT?

Well, at least this time we know it came from the bench.  We’re supposing that in LaRussa’s panic not to watch Pujols ground into a double play, they proactively caused the same result by watching Albert strike out proceeded by Craig once again being hosed by five feet.

Game.

1.) Rzepczynski pitches to Napoli
As ridiculous as it sounds, LaRussa’s “the bullpen didn’t hear me on the phone” excuse that is being floated is really the only one that makes any sense.  It wreaks of a cover-up, but how else can you explain Lance Lynn strolling in from the bullpen after Rzepczynski gave up the go-ahead double, only to issue an intentional walk and promptly head to the dugout?

The real question was whether the bullpen mix up led to Rzepczynski pitching to Mike Napoli – who crushes lefthanders – or whether Jason Motte would have come in to put out the fire.  That’s not beyond Tony, who has had confidence in Scrabble all postseason.

Anyway you look at it, it blew up in the Cardinals faces and put them one game away from losing the World Series in Busch Stadium.

We All Felt This Way, Tony

FoxSports.com’s Puntastic Headline of the Night

A little more subtly placed this time on FoxSports.com, but they still didn’t have any issues coming up with a snapper based on the bullpen phone controversy:

As a bonus, they even threw in a little play-on-words in the column teaser.  Bullpen leaves St. Louis “hung up”.  Because that’s what you used to do with old phones, kids. 

What We’re Looking Forward Too Wednesday
In Game 2, the Cardinals bats took the night off and wasted an excellent start by Jaime Garcia.  Same story last night as Carpenter went seven innings with only two runs allowed.  So now we’re back to Garcia.  He’s at home, the backs are against the wall again and all we want is a Game 7.

That’s not asking too much is it?

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