What a game. I love game 7s. As nerve-wracking as they are, there's nothin' like them in sports. Tied at one going into the 9th inning. Yadier Molina, the St. Louis catcher who hit .216 during the regular season, hits a two-run homer and Adam Wainwright, a 25-year-old kid who became the team's closer the last week of September, strikes out Carlos Beltran, who has owned the Cardinals in the postseason (7 HR and 9 RBI in 14 career LCS games against St. Louis), with a wicked curveball with the bases loaded and two out in the 9th.
Wow. I didn't think I was going to get this excited about the game until that last inning when my leg started rapidly jittering up and down like Thumper. Who knew? Who freakin' knew? The Cardinals limped into the postseason with a horrible September, winning just 83 games, but that was enough to win the weak NL Central. The Mets were hot all season, owning the NL East wire-to-wire, and finishing with 97 wins. Both teams were pretty banged up coming into this series, but the Mets seemed to have this sense of destiny about them since the All-Star break, that they were supposed to get to the World Series. Hell, I even picked them to get to the Series. Just goes to show, when the calender flips to October, it's all up for grabs.
The Detroit Tigers will have had a week to rest and rejuvenate when the World Series kicks off Saturday night. They have an imposing stable of arms in the starting rotation and some killer heat in the bullpen. The Cardinals have got to be exhausted after these seven games against the Mets. The rotation is going to be a mess, and the lineup will still be banged up, but hey, except for Jeff Suppan (NLCS MVP - 15 innings pitched, one earned run) and Yadier Molina (.348 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI), they weren't all that hot the past week and a half, so why should the World Series be any different.
To be honest, I'll be happy if the Cardinals win at least one game in the Series. Winning the whole thing would be nice, don't get me wrong, but the NL has been swept the past two years (the Cardinals by Boston in '04 and the Astros by the White Sox in '05) and it'd be really nice if they could just win a game or two.
Tony La Russa and Jim Leyland, the managers of the Cardinals and Tigers, respectively, are really good friends. They started out together with the White Sox in the early '80s. After Leyland stopped managing a few years ago he became a scout for the Cardinals. It's going to be a lot of fun watching these two old war horses going head-to-head in a seven-game series.
Wow. I still can't believe the Cardinals are going back to the World Series (against Detroit no less, a team that lost 119 games three years ago). It's almost unreal. My heart says Cards in seven; my head says Tigers in five or six.
But hey, it's October. To quote the inimitable Yogi Berra, "it ain't over 'til it's over."