Following a Saturday night of historic accomplishments from the “media mad” St. Louis Cardinals free agent to be first baseman Albert Pujols, we saw a young Texas Ranger’s lefty named Derek Holland dominate the same basic St. Louis line up which had tallied 16 runs the night before. Holland’s brilliant outing lasted 8-1/3 innings during which the “teen age looking” Holland allowed a mere 2 hits while benefiting from a Mike Napoli sixth inning three run homer on the first pitch offered him by the Cards Mitchell Boggs. Holland didn’t need that insurance but the dagger certainly seemed to take any breath of a rally from the Redbirds.
Holland, making his 11th postseason appearance and 4th start, managed to pitch past the 5th inning for the first time while making the Cardinal batters look foolish on more than a few occasions and also got some fine defense behind him as third baseman Adrian Beltre robbed Rafael Furcal of what most likely would have been a leadoff double to start this Game 4. Holland was beyond sharp in throwing 70 strikes among his 116 pitches and was the beneficiary of in my opinion, far too many Cards batters swinging at his first pitch offerings all night.
Meanwhile St. Louis starter Edwin Jackson despite surrendering 5 walks managed to return to the mound in the sixth trailing only 1-0. He then retired Beltre on a fly ball before proceeding to walk both Nelson Cruz and David Murphy leading St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa to order stall tactics’ until a reliever was ready to enter the game. Unfortunately for Cardinal Nation TLR’s selection of Mitchell Boggs for this duty proved nightmarish as the righty threw a first pitch fastball up over the plate to Napoli, whose eyes widened as he reacted by yanking the pitch 10 or so rows deep into the left field stands giving Texas a 4-0 lead which they’d carry though to even the series at 2 games apiece. Napoli as the 8th place hitter in this ridiculous DH carrying lineup finished the regular season with 30 homers in 369 at bats. In my opinion as a notorious “second guesser”, quite simply, Boggs should never have faced Napoli as the Cards are carrying noted sinkerball pitcher Jake Westbrook on the World Series roster for purportedly just this type of situation.
Maybe Texas manages to hold on for a 1-0 win, but facing a one run deficit over the final 3 innings is certainly a less daunting task than that of trailing by 4 runs.
St. Louis’ “Ace” Chris Carpenter will take the ball tonight as this “Fall Classic” heads to Game 5 tonight in Arlington trying to continue his outstanding postseason. Carpenter and his teammates will face Rangers Game 1 loser CJ Wilson hoping to bring the Redbirds home to the Gateway City up 3 games to 2 with a chance to win their eleventh World Series title in front of “some” of the “Cardinal Nation” faithful.
Stop by this blog tonight as always to join our “World Series Live In Game Chat”