The narrative: the return of the designated hitter in a noted bandbox brought back the offense. Funny, crappy pitching always seems to have that effect, no matter the setting.
Also: Albert Pujols.
It was briefly interesting to see how twice-bitten Rangers reliever would approach Allan Craig, should they meet tonight.
Craig burned Ogando by shooting down-and-away fastballs into right field in both Game One and Two. Tonight, Ogando took a different tack. Soft away, soft away, soft away, soft away, finally hard down and away. Pretty much the same pitch he hit the first two at bats but much better set-up tonight. Good work from Ogando, staving off death for one entire batter.
At which point Albert Pujols did something violent and unseemly (via @AnswerDave).
Getting Blanked’s only fully endorsed player twitter feed chimes in with a patented self-deprecating nod to his rocky stint as a Texas Ranger in reaction to Albert Pujol ensuring Brad Lidge jolts awake tonight, drenched in cold sweat.
Pujols smashed two more home runs off Darren Oliver and Mike Gonzalez, becoming only the third man to hit three home runs in a World Series game. He also amassed the most total bases (14) in a single World Series game, mere hours after the “Albert’s choking/Albert’s due” narratives reached escape velocity.
Not only did Albert Pujol’s incredible performance rescue his team when they needed him most (see below), it also rescued the aftermath of this game from another endless round of calls for video replay. A clearly blown call at first base gave the Cardinals free outs and they capitalized, taking on four extra runs and a boatload of pitches to Matt Harrison’s arm.
The Cardinals offense went to work, turning this one isn’t a laugher. The need for replay is obvious but hopefully that debate can re-open anew in the off-season, with real results. No need for a ultimately futile debate to take away from the World freaking Series.
The Anatomy Of Underwhelming Stuff
It might seem hard to believe but Kyle Lohse and Matt Harrison started this game for the Cardinals and Rangers respectively. Neither man was particularly good and, out of what amounts to little more than desperation, tried getting guile alone.
Struggling to find the zone or command their pitches with any kind of consistency, Lohse and Harrison consistently pitched backwards, throwing change ups and assorted soft stuff in fastball counts an a regular basis. Lohse threw offspeed stuff exclusively when behind 2-0 and 3-1 as well. An excellent weapon in the right hands, the Game Three starters just fell behind farther and got hit harder. Lohse only earned four swinging strikes (5%) while Harrison didn’t fare too badly, missing seven bats out of seventy-one offerings.
Not a great night for pitchers. Or umpires. Or fans of sub-four hour games. But a great night for Albert Pujols and people who like to make “QUESTION THAT!” jokes.
The Most Important Play Of The Game
The Albert Pujols murderation of a brutal Alexi Ogando fastball was the biggest play of the night, increasing the Cardinals probability of winning by over 15%, putting the Cards up 11-6 and destroying the will to live of Rangers fans the world over. Note: there are very few Rangers fans the world over.
The Biggest Disappointment Of The Game
Matt Holliday’s first career catch-and-throw double play, gunning Mike Napoli down at the plate, reduced the Rangers winning percentage by 13%. A fair question to ask is why send Napoli on that play after you held him on a the previous single. Which pretty much answers itself, when you really think about it.
Michael Young – flipping the narrative on the narrative flippers! Two reasonably-sized hits came amidst the usual torrent of hatred that follows Young everywhere he goes.
That said: how bad a first baseman must Michael Young be that Mike Napoli needs to play first base?
Grounding in double plays yet leading the league in runs. Hmm. Aren’t double plays the enemy of offense in all its forms? Also, doesn’t TLR coach his way out of countless double plays by starting runners and bunting and all that good stuff? Today is a very confusing day.
Ian Kinsler wins the Chase Utley Annual Award given to the stat nerd’s darling who makes a few crucial errors, forever casting doubt on the validity of UZR and the like.
There is no excuse for rich guys like Joe Torre to be out in public looking like anything less than a rich guy. Tailor that suit, bro.
The irrepressible Bubba Prog, delivers this sweet example of ad hoc fandom. “What??? They are too the same thing!”
We’re all quick to kill the umps when they make a mistake but the very same umpire made an incredible call just one half inning earlier on the Yadier Molina snap throw attempt on Ian Kinsler. Which one is the blind squirrel and which one is the nut?