ST. LOUIS, MO – Most of you tuning in today might be thinking that I am going to do nothing but gloat about my hometown’s current position in the sports world… and you’re right. The Rams managed to get Matt Schaub cheered off the field and have me giddy – at a modest 3-3 record. Granted, this may seem somewhat sad – on both accounts – but after a decade of abject failure, a 3-3 start is enough to make me start thinking a playoff berth in 2015 is an actual possibility… In other St Louis Sports News… The Blues are off to a strong start and the Red Birds are one win away from their second Fall Classic in three years. Yet, following last nights failure to close out on the road, I am holding my breath.
In the remaining games of the series, the Cards are facing an uphill battle. While they do hold home-field advantage, the two opposing pitchers might as well be Cardinal Kryptonite. Game Six sees the return of Clayton Kershaw and game seven will be the tallest Korean in the world Hyun-Jin Ryu. Both are dominate lefties and the Cardinals are well below .500 against the southpaw this year. You might even call it the southpaw jinx.
Last year in Game 5 and up an eerily similar 3-1 on the series the Cardinals made a washed-up Barry Zito look like he was back in an A’s uniform (sorry JG Clancy) and back in Cy Young mold. In this year’s Game 3, Ryu was solid – but nothing special. The Cardinals failed to work counts and take advantage of Ryu falling behind hitters. His breaking ball was consistently out of the zone but the change to the hitters was enough to stymie the lineup three times through.
When you look at the Cardinals lineup, it makes sense that left-handed pitching is their weakness. Three of the first four batters are lefties and Beltran prefers to be on the left side. The absence of Allan Craig has proven disastrous to the balance of the lineup. Without a true right-handed hitter in the first four, the best offense in baseball is putting up numbers more akin to the Houston Astros.
All things considered, the Cardinals do have a better one-two combo on the hill to finish the series. Michael Wacha has only allowed 2 runs in his last 23 innings – or something like that. Adam Wainwright is looking for another signature win or 4. When it comes to brass tacks I think the Birds will pull it out in seven, with an outside shot to take the series Friday in extra innings…. So far Mark Matheny has proven masterful when managing the bullpen and Don Mattingly is proving my mustache assertion true when it comes to decision-making.
As far as that other league goes with their DH rules, I sincerely hope that Boston wins. I want the Cardinals to have another shot at the Sox Nation. Pedro Martinez left a greasy Jheri-Curled taste in my mouth back in 2004 and the only thing that can get rid of it would be to see the Cards eating dinner after a win at the Cheers bar at Fanuel Hall.
Cookie’s Corner, tomorrow.