I should start by noting that yesterday (Thursday) before Game 4, I ripped on Pudge, Polanco and Granderson and reserved special condemnation for Sean Casey, whom I described as hitting like a 1970s shortstop. Naturally, Casey had three hits last night, including a homerun and two RBI.
8:55 - Early in the game, Buck says “Not much was made of the Sean Casey deal with the Pirates, but you get a great glove guy who’s a life-time .300 hitter.” Oy gevult. It’s true that Casey is a lifetime .300 hitter, but he’s only had one good offensive year in the past five.
9:01 - In the early going – Weaver looks incredible – four strike outs in the first five outs. What the heck?!
9:10 - With Edmonds up in the third, and Pujols on first, Pujols is sent on a full count. Pujols is slow, Edmonds strikes out a lot, Verlander is a strike out pitcher and Irod is behind the plate. You’re begging to run into an out here. Announcers are just loathe to criticize veteran managers like Leyland, LaRussa and, as I wrote about earlier in the playoffs, Joe Torre.
9:36 – Man, Sean Casey is making me look bad – his two-run shot in the fourth gives Detroit 2-1 lead after a bad error by Chris Duncan in right.
9:48 – another Tigers’ pitcher has thrown a ball away. This time, it’s Verlander who, with runners on first and second and one out, in the bottom of the fourth, fielded a Jeff Weaver bunt and airmailed it into left field. McCarver described this as an easy play, maybe even a double play, but I’m baffled that McCarver had nothing critical to say about Verlander’s decision, when he was all over Zumaya for his decision in Game three. Even though, with one out, Verlander’s going to third was a more questionable move, than Zumaya’s going to third with first and second and nobody out.
10:12 – Chris Duncan makes another error (now, they’re calling it a double) – but Buck and McCarver are right – it was a shot from Casey, but a ball that should be caught, and credit to McCarver and Buck for noting that Duncan could have been replaced after the 4th inning. McCarver says: “he shouldn’t be in there.” Irod strikes out; threat averted. Boy, is Rodriguez becoming easy to pitch to.
10:30 – More than once in this World Series, McCarver has referred to Cards’ catcher Yadier Molina as “perhaps the slowest base runner in the National League.” Which had me wondering: why don’t we know the speed of major league players, like we do 40-yard dash times in football? Since the bases are ninety feet apart, what about knowing 30-yard, or 60-yard times? McCarver may be right, but we should be able to know that.
11:15 – Ninth inning. Sean Casey doubles (did I mention how bad he’s made me look last night and tonight?). Tigers trail 4-2. Leyland pinch runs for him with Ramon Santiago. I am shocked. Casey’s run means nothing – only the tying run matters in the ninth inning. It takes a minute – but, McCarver picks up on it, and then notes, after Placido Polanco walks to put the tying run on base, that there’s really no one left to pinch run, and now it matters.
11:20 – Wainwright fans Inge to end it. No World Champion in Major League history won fewer games than this year’s Cardinals. It’s an incredible run, actually, accomplished without their closer (Isringhausen), who missed the entire post-season and a key starter (Mark Mulder). Also incredible is that other than to criticize the decision to pinch run for the wrong guy in the ninth inning, McCarver barely said a word during the final frame.
In fact, I’d say we had fewer antics from Buck and McCarver this post-season than we’ve had in a long time.
11:45 – David Eckstein, with nine hits including innumerable clutch ones in the past three games, is named the series MVP. Of his six hits in the final two games, at least three should have been caught by the Tigers. Their defense, and not only their errors, was critical to their losing this series.
FOX points out that La Russa becomes the second manager ever to win a World Title in both leagues, after Sparky Anderson. But, I can’t think of another manager who’s won titles with any two teams. La Russa’s an idiosyncratic manager, but he’s got a hell of a resume at this point, having won eleven division titles (starting with the 1983 Chicago White Sox), five league championships, and two world titles.
FOX’s Jeanne Zelasko, during the post-game trophy presentation, kept repeating, for the benefit of the crowd, “How does that sound? St. Louis Cardinals, World Champions.” Brutal.
For the most part during the game, FOX did a better job than it usually does of staying out of its own way. Too bad that didn’t carry over to the post game.