Cards, Tigers In The Catbird Seats

Cards, Tigers In The Catbird Seats
I can’t recall, ever, two 1-0 games on the same day in the history of the League Championship Series. Yes, we know that we are in a (post-PED) Pitchers’ Era, but still, this is something we haven’t seen before. As Jack Brickhouse, the former Chicago Cubs broadcaster used to say, “You see something new at the ballpark everyday.” It may be a truism, but for people who maintain that baseball is boring it is something that can always be pointed out.

Another truism is that in a seven-game series you aren’t behind until you’ve lost at home. For the Los Angeles Dodgers, who started Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw at St. Louis and came out 0-2, that’s not exactly true. The Dodgers are behind. The Cardinals have this series firmly in hand.

The Boston Red Sox, of course, cannot dispute the fact. They are behind, having lost 1-0 to the Detroit Tigers in Game 1, managing only one hit against Anibal Sanchez and a bevy of relievers. Sanchez exited after six innings, having thrown 113 pitches, walking six while striking out twelve, but allowing no hits. No pitcher has ever gone so far in a post-season game without surrendering a hit and been pulled, but after escaping a jam, Anibal was gassed and Jim Leyland, the Detroit manager, made the right call. The Tigers bullpen was stout and now the Red Sox are staring down the barrel of a loaded gun with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander poised to pounce on them.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, Donnie Baseball, suffered through a season of doubt early in the year when speculation was rampant that he would be replaced. Then Yaseil Puig appeared, and the Dodgers went on a remarkable run cruising to the National League West title. After dispatching the Atlanta Braves, the Dodgers offered their two Cy Young Award winners, Greinke and Kershaw, while the Cardinals responded with youngsters Joe Kelly and Michael Wacha. Mattingly made several decisions that did not pan out in Game 1, a 3-2 13-inning loss, principally pinch-running Dee Gordon for his best RBI-man, Adrian Gonzalez. He has been roundly criticized for this, but when your players don’t execute, you don’t look good. A quick exit for Dem Bums in this series and odds increase greatly that Mattingly will not return for 2014. As for the Cardinals, their organizational luster is undimmed: Wacha was picked in 2012 with the compensatory selection the St. Louis received when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim signed Albert Pujols.

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