Blog Entry

Holland pitches Rangers into a World Series tie

Posted on: October 23, 2011 11:14 pm

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- The Cardinals are on a World Series record-grabbing binge.

One night after the Albert Pujols Show, starting pitcher Edwin Jackson threw a few balls for the ages. And a few more. And a few more. ...

Jackson walked seven Texas Rangers, tying Wild Bill Hallahan (Game 2, 1931) for the most walks ever by a Cardinals starter in a World Series game. The main problem: Two of those walks came directly in front of Mike Napoli in the sixth inning, Jackson's parting gifts to reliever Mitchell Boggs.

How did that go? Napoli drilled the very first pitch from Boggs deep over the left-field fence for a three-run jack, the final touch on Texas' 4-0 two-step evening this series at 2-2 heading into a pivotal Game 5 featuring the two clubs' aces, Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals vs. Texas' C.J. Wilson.

Derek Holland gave Texas what it needed nearly as much as rain over the summer: A starter who went deep into a game and gave the bullpen a chance to kick up its cleats and relax.

Holland just missed firing World Series' first complete-game shutout since Josh Beckett clinched the title for the Marlins over the New York Yankees in Game 6 in 2003. Manager Ron Washington hooked him with one out in the ninth after he walked Rafael Furcal, in favor of closer Neftali Feliz.

As it was, Holland became the first World Series pitcher to last at least 8 1/3 innings and surrender no more than two hits since Greg Maddux in Game 1 in 1995.

It could not have come at a better time. There are growing questions regarding whether Alexi Ogando, Darren Oliver and Co. are threadbare given how much Washington had to rely on them during an ALCS in which Rangers starters didn't earn a win. Holland's eight innings were a godsend.

Also a godsend: Holland holding Pujols to two ground balls and a harmless foul to first base.

That's where things get especially interesting as this series steams into it's final two or three games: For all we heard about Pujols and his record 14 total bases in Game 3, his other three games have been exceptionally ... silent.

Fact is, despite his outburst Saturday, Pujols is hitless in three of four games during this World Series. He was hit by a pitch and intentionally walked in Game 1, but that's it.

Just as Texas needed a starting pitcher -- and now needs a couple beyond Holland -- to move into position to win the state's first-ever World Series, the Cardinals cannot go it with Pujols alone. Matt Holliday, in particular, has been quiet behind Pujols: He's hitting .143 (2 for 14) with three walks and three strikeouts.

Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: October 24, 2011 12:53 pm

Holland pitches Rangers into a World Series tie

Huh?  Texas scored 4 total runs in games 1 & 2 with Carpenter and Garcia on the mound (2 vs. Carpenter and 0 vs. Garcia).  That's who the Redbirds have going in game 5 & 6.  Is the Texas line-up solid?  Absolutely.  But that solid offense sure was shut down by Carpenter and Garcia.  Potential means nothing.  Performance means everything.  SO FAR, that "superior" Texas offense didn't do squat against Carp and Garcia.  That may change, it may not.  But calling them "superior" to the next two Cards pitchers has no basis in fact, only in "potential".

The key tonight is not going to be Carpenter.  He's a bulldog.  The x-factor tonight is Wilson.  Is he the pitcher that he was during the regular season?  Or will he continue to struggle in the playoffs.  THAT is the big question.  People say pitching at home is a huge boost---he's given up 8 earned runs in 9 2/3 innings at home during the playoffs.  That won't get it done.  But if pitches like he did for most of the season, the Rangers will be in good shape.  After all, everyone knows how the Cards struggle against left-handed pitchers.

That all said, I still think this series goes the distance.  Both of these teams have a great deal of talent, and both teams are resilient.  The Cards brushed off a game 2 blown save by pounding out 16 runs in game 3, and then the Rangers come right back and shut the Cards out in a game 4 masterpiece by Holland.  Whoever loses tonight (in my humble opinion) will come back and find a way to win game 6 on Wednesday in St. Louis.

I think most fans of baseball (regardless of routing interest) are seeing what I'm seeing----two very good and evenly matched teams fighting it out for the World Series title.  Can a baseball fan ask for anything more than that? 

Since: May 13, 2011
Posted on: October 24, 2011 12:10 am

Holland pitches Rangers into a World Series tie

Haha. Texas's bats are still superior enough to St. Louis's pitching that they will win the series. No doubt. Rangers have waaay more depth. No winning club should start Nick Punto in the World Series.

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: October 24, 2011 12:06 am

Holland pitches Rangers into a World Series tie

It will be enjoyable to see you eat those words. It ain't over yet.

Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: October 23, 2011 11:43 pm

Holland pitches Rangers into a World Series tie

Apart from ONE HISTORIC GAME, Pujols has literally done nothing in 3 World Series (much like Holliday, the lamest clean up hitter the Cards have ever sent to the plate).  I really wanted the Cards to beat Texas in Texas to quell the whining about the NL's homefield advantage which definitely now looks like will be the deciding factor in this series.

At least the Cardinal fans get to see the series win on their own turf. 

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