October 13, 2011

Cards Take 2-1 Series Lead Over Brewers: The St. Louis Cardinals scored four first-inning runs off Milwaukee Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo and held on to win 4-3, taking a 2-1 lead in the National League Championship Series. Starter Chris Carpenter, helped by four relievers after exiting after the fifth, has tied Bob Gibson's franchise record of seven postseason wins. Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel pans Brewers manager Ron Roenicke's decision to start Mark Kotsay in center field to add some offense to the lineup. Kotsay homered, but also had a base-running lapse and fly-ball misplay. "Older, slower reflexes in such a monumental swing game pretty much get you what you deserve," Hunt writes.

posted by rcade to baseball at 08:26 AM - 15 comments

Didn't get to watch this game because the Rangers/Tigers ran so long. Has there been any demonstration of the bad blood between these teams?

posted by rcade at 11:41 AM on October 13, 2011

Not that I've seen yet, but I've been tuning in halfway through the games. I have noticed that the Brewers have an unusually high team UAR (Ugly Above Replacement).

posted by mbd1 at 11:47 AM on October 13, 2011

"You don't win like this in the postseason. This is not a series in June against the Cubs or the Astros."

When I saw the lineup posted for last night, I had to do a triple take. Kotsay in center? I understand not wanting Tony Plush on the field to face Carpenter, but you can just toss Gomez out there for his defense and put him in the 8 spot. Or for that matter, start Morgan anyway and use it as a way to get into Carpenter's head. Putting Kotsay in center in a game this important is the most boneheaded goddamn move I've seen by a manager all year.

This series is over.

Has there been any demonstration of the bad blood between these teams?

Aside from beaning Fielder after Braun's home run in Game 1, none that I've seen. Greinke claimed that Carpenter was shouting at him from the dugout during Game 1 as well, but nobody cares what Chris Carpenter has to say. And after last night, it's not like the Cardinals need to prove anything. They're going to win this series in 5 or 6 games.

posted by rocketman at 11:47 AM on October 13, 2011

Live by the sword . . . - tough to have crappy defenders in the post-season.

posted by yerfatma at 12:02 PM on October 13, 2011

No series is over at 2-1.

posted by rcade at 12:03 PM on October 13, 2011

tough to have crappy defenders in the post-season

But that's the thing: there's an elite defender in center sitting on the bench during that game. Additionally, there's someone who's at least better than Kotsay defensively AND offensively who didn't start. Gomez makes that play without even trying. Morgan likely does too.

No series is over at 2-1.

I agree, but starting Mark Kotsay in center field is like waving the white flag. Tonight we get to see the Cards lineup knock around Randy Wolf, and even if Greinke can squeak out a win in Game 5, who's going to start Game 6? Gallardo on short rest? Does that mean Kotsay starts in center again? Do we take Braun out and put Hairston in left to give the star a rest? Or do we just put Marcum out there for another round of batting practice?

It's been a nice run, but even though we probably have the talent to beat the Cardinals, we don't have the manager to make it happen. Go Rangers!

posted by rocketman at 12:13 PM on October 13, 2011

I'm rooting for Rangers-Brewers to guarantee that the World Series winner brings joy to a long-suffering fan base.

posted by rcade at 12:14 PM on October 13, 2011

I agree, but starting Mark Kotsay in center field is like waving the white flag.

I had to double-check, but I'm pretty sure that Kotsay hit a home run last night. That's what he was put in there for, and he had done well against Carpenter this year (3-for-4 with a walk and a double).

Is the difference in defense between Kotsay and Morgan really so extreme that you think giving up that run would have meant the team would have won last night (and therefore saved 3 more runs with the defensive difference)?

And before you answer, I will remind you we are talking about Nyjer Morgan.

posted by grum@work at 01:03 PM on October 13, 2011

This series is over.

Well, no, but that was a huge loss. The Brewers can slug with anybody on any given night. Pitching was never going to win the series for this team anyway, they need to hit. You just hope the pitching's not so bad that you can't overcome it with the bats. Four runs should not have been enough to sink them last night and in the third inning it didn't look like 4 would be half enough. I agree that Kotsay was a bad, and really strange, play.

Randy Wolf... I've never been more certain that I could hit a major league pitcher as when I watched his last game against Arizona. I know he has good and bad nights but his stuff, at times, just doesn't even look like it belongs in the majors.

posted by tron7 at 01:11 PM on October 13, 2011

Kotsay missed a crucial catch in center field that Morgan or Gomez probably would have made.

posted by insomnyuk at 01:14 PM on October 13, 2011

Yes, but he hit a home run. He was put in there due to his success against Carpenter (Joe Buck was talking about it right before he hit the homer); that's not a white flag.

posted by yerfatma at 01:19 PM on October 13, 2011

So it's your feeling that the home run makes up for bad outfield range and getting doubled off second with a baserunning error? Because I don't.

I get that he's had success against Carpenter, so start him in right over Corey Hart. Don't put him in a position he can't play.

posted by rocketman at 01:29 PM on October 13, 2011

Not to defend the indefensible, but Gallardo also strikes out just over a third of the batters he faces and is not an extreme flyball pitcher (just under 1:1 ratio of GB to FB this year), so the percentages may have suggested that the risk of defensive miscues in CF was outweighed by the benefit from Kotsay at the plate.

posted by holden at 02:25 PM on October 13, 2011

And Kotsay is in the lineup again tonight! I swear Ron Roenicke is *trying* to lose this series.

posted by rocketman at 04:35 PM on October 13, 2011

Like I said, you're going to have to rely on Randy Wolf to win this game for you. Wow. That didn't even look like the same pitcher as last game. Even the two home runs were good pitches, and I'm still confused as to how Holliday's swing managed to drive that ball out of the yard.

posted by tron7 at 11:45 PM on October 13, 2011

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