Play ball! (Postseason style)

Nevermind that the Cardinals won yesterday's opening game of their NLDS series against the San Diego Padres. Forget that they jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, which Reggie Sanders doubled with a grand slam in the fifth inning. Regardless of the fact that Chris Carpenter pitched six brilliant innings and shut down the opposing hitters, the true achilles heel of this St. Louis team became quite evident after Carpenter's exit.

Comfortably leading 8-0, the Cardinals bullpen promptly gave up a run in the seventh, a run in the eighth, and three runs in the ninth, before closer Jason Isringhausen got the final two outs, preserving a shouldn't-have-been-so-close 8-5 victory.

I know, I know, they won and that's all that matters, but that bullpen still worries me. One of the best in the league all season long, but they lose Al Reyes right before the playoffs start, and they just kind of fell apart. I'm just hoping that Mark Mulder can go eight innings in tomorrow's game, leaving less chance for a bullpen meltdown.

In other news, the hated Yankees beat the Angels in Anaheim, which doesn't bode well for the Angels. They had their best pitcher going, Cy Young candidate Bartolo Colon, and he gave up four runs, which was just enough for Mike Mussina and the Yankee bullpen.

And in the Battle of the Soxes, Chicago beat the everloving crap out of Boston, and all the blame can't be heaped onto Matt Clement (Boston's starter)'s shoulders. Sure, he gave up eight runs in less than four innings, but the Red Sox bullpen gave up six runs the rest of the game, while the White Sox pitchers gave up a mere two. Methinks the Red Sox blew their wad last year. The deal with the devil is coming due. I wouldn't be surprised if they got swept out of the playoffs.

The other National League series just got underway today. Houston at Atlanta. This could be an interesting one. The Astros have great starting pitching and an awesome closer, but they have difficulty in scoring many runs. Conversely, Atlanta has no problem with scoring, but their starting pitching consists of just two proven big game bulldogs, Tim Hudson and John Smoltz, and their bullpen has been pretty shaky all year long. The Braves need to get to Houston's middle relief and do some damage before Brad Lidge comes out of the 'pen, otherwise I'm not sure their own bullpen can keep a game close or hold a small lead.

Should be an interesting postseason. If I had to choose right now, I'd go with the St. Louis Cardinals (yes, I'm biased. What of it?) and the Chicago White Sox (or New York Yankees - hard to argue against that offense) to represent the NL and AL, respectively, in the World Series.


Boston Jen said...

SO I have this theory that all the people of Massachusetts prayed so hard for the Red Sox to win last year that they were willing to let Bush win the election. That was the trade-off: Red Sox win, Kerry loses. This year they'll just have to go back to sucking (that is, in the postseason).

1031 said...

That's pretty selfish of New Englanders, to make a deal with the devil like that. Is a Red Sox World Series championship really worth this second Bush term we're mired in? They really should have thought it through before signing on the dotted line. I mean, what about the rest of us? They sacrificed an entire country just so they could party in Southie?

That being said, it appears that Boston will soon be swept out of the postseason. I'm not sure if even Schilling's bloody sock can pull out a win Friday night.

ppzesspj - the only sound that can come out of a gossip columnist's mouth after hearing that Katie Holmes is pregnant. And that Tom Cruise is the father. That means they had sex! Eeewwwww.

Jen said...

Go Cards! They're my boys and I hope they can bring a final WS to Busch. The grand old place deserves to go out in style. (Not to mention I've been wearing the heck out of my Cards jersey - not an easy task here in Astros country - and I haven't removed my Cards rally bracelet all season).

fhpoixwh - french sushi.. with wasabi, evidently.

1031 said...

Today was definitely a great game. I felt quite relieved that Mulder pitched so well, and the bullpen, too.

One game to go, then bring on the Astros...or Braves...that series is going five, that's all I know.

I would be wearing my Cards jersey, but it says "McGwire" on the back, and I feel kinda ashamed of it now. I need to get me a Pujols jersey.

bezmpnp - the sound of a high-90s fastball buzzing past your ear