NLDS MVP (for the Dodgers) Ryan Franklin. With a special assist to Matt Holliday for dropping the last out of the game with a hot dog basket catch.
It is unbelievable that the Cardinals have absolutely stunk so much with the way they played in the second half of the season. But, frankly, they don't deserve to win by playing garbage baseball like this. They can't hit. The bullpen can't hit and now they can't freaking catch the ball?
I have really been trying to be nice this season. But this makes me absolutely sick.
George Sherrill comes in for LA and gets Yadier Molina for the first out. DeRosa singled to left center. Colby Rasmus just missed a single to left and Troy Glas flied out to the warning track. Hold on tight.
Oh, how I wish the bullpen didn't have to get involved, but Trever Miller is in there and Ryan Franklin is warming up. Miller goes full on Andre Either to lead off the inning, but comes back to get a pop-up. And hers comes the ultra shaky Ryan Franklin... To face Manny Ramirez.
Franklin got a lazy can of corn fly ball to get the second out... and it's up to James Loney to keep the Cardinals from evening the series at a game apiece. Ball one... Ball two... Strike one... Foul ball, strike two... an easy fly ball to left and Matt Holliday DROPPED IT!!!! It was a belt high looper and Holliday tried a basket catch. But it went over his glove. Juan Pierre will pinch run at second base with two outs and Casey Blake -- who hits .462 against Ryan Franklin -- at the plate.
Ball one... Strike one... checked swing called a strike, 1-2... Ball two... Foul ball, 2-2... Ball three... Foul ball, 3-2... Foul ball, 3-2... ball four... And the go ahead run is on base.
Ronnie Belliard is up with a chance to win the game witha double or better. But he hits a single against his former team and ties it. And I am pretty sure that I never want to see Ryan Franklin pitch again, contract extension or not.
He went 3-0 on the next batter, then threw a wild pitch to let the runners get to second and third. He walked Russell Martin on four straight and Mark Loretta is at the plate with no where to go. Foul ball, 0-1. And a nice fat pitch down the middle loses the game.
STL 2, LA 3.
STL 2, LA 1
Albert Pujols is leading off again. The Dodgers have gone to Jonathan Broxton early and it pays off in the form of Pujols popping out to second base. Matt Holliday swung at the first pitch he saw to ground out to short. Ryan Ludwick grounded out to short on Broxton's ninth pitch, so the Birds got no insurance and they will have their work cut out for them with the Dodgers closer returning in the ninth almost certainly.
A pop up to Colby Rasmus is the first out for the Dodgers in the eighth. Ronnie Belliard struck out looking. Russell Martin fisted a ball over the second base bag and suddenly the Dodgers have lefty slugger Jim Thome at the plate representing the go ahead run. Former Atlanta closer John Smoltz and lefty Trever Miller are warming for the Cardinals. Wainwright hits Thome -- which isn't the worst thing that could have happened. But now the tying run is in scoring position and Orlando Hudson will pinch run for Thome. Rafael Furcal, 1-for-3 is the man at the plate. Wainwright is starting to tire. He is leaving his pitches up and missing the plate. The count goes full on Furcal and the runners will be going, increasing the chance that Hudson could score from first. A walk loads the bases. A grounder to Pujols ends the inning and the Cardinals cling to a one-run lead entering the ninth.
STL 2, LA 1
Mark DeRosa led off the inning with a single. Dare I even bother to get excited about it? Rasmus rips a ball over the centerfielder's head to score the go ahead run, but he is nailed trying to go for third. I'm glad for the run. But why the bad baserunning? The Cardinals need more than two runs. And now pitcher Adam Wainwright makes the second out. Julio Lugo singled up the middle with two outs, a hit that would have driven in the third run. But, at least it will drive Clayton Kershaw from the game. Lugo stole second with a 3-1 count for Brendan Ryan and Albert Pujols lurking on deck. But Ryan flied out to center and the Cardinals could get no more.
Andre Ethier, the Dodgers hitting star thusfar in the NLDS, was retired to lead off the seventh inning for LA. Manny Ramirez just clocked Cardinals catched Yadier Molina on the head with his followthrough. Molina is already struggling with a bad leg after having a ball fouled off of it during the last week of the season. So that's not good. Kyle Lohse is warming up for the Cardinals in their bullpen, with a one-run lead and Wainwright throwing a two-hitter, I was sort of hoping Wainwright could go the distance. After a long battle, Wainwright struck out Ramirez looking with a big curve. James Loney flew out to left to end the seventh.
STL 2, LA 1
Albert Pujols leads it off for the Cardinals with a 3-1 single. Unbelievably, Matt Holliday continutes to be ice cold with a pop-up to first for the initial out. A wild pitch moved Pujols to second base. Ryan Ludwick may have got the largest reaction from an umpire in the history of the game without being called out on strikes. But he hit the next pitch to third baseman Casey Black on a clothesline. Yadier Molina hit a sinking liner to center ... and again they strand a runner in scoring position. Make your tee times, if you're going to play like this, boys.
Russell Martin led off for the Dodgers with a hard-hit out to center. Clayton Kershaw hit a bleeder up the middle, but Julio Lugo went far to his right and made an off-balance throw to record the second out. Rafael Furcal hit a lazy fly to right that Ryan Ludwick apparently lost in the sun for a single. Brendan Ryan gets the forceout by an eyelash to end the inning.
STL 1, LA 1
Colby Rasmus singled to lead off the inning after a lengthy at bat. Adam Wainwright sacrificed him to second base to put the go ahead run in scoring position with one out and the top of the order coming up. Julio Lugo struck out for the second out and Brendan Ryan stands between the Cardinals and another runner left in scoring position. ... And he strikes out...
Wainwright was brilliant again in the Dodgers half of the inning. Here comes the heart of the order. Time to do something. Anything!
STL 1, LA 1
The Cardinals 5, 6 and 7 hitters went in order in the fourth, ending the inning on nine pitches with a pop up off the bat of Mark DeRosa. The Cardinals really need to make the rookie Kershaw work. He walked 91 hitters over the course of the regular season and will issue free passes if the St. Louis batters would let him.
In the Dodgers half of the inning, Rafael Furcal grounded out easily to first baseman Albert Pujols. Matt Kemp whiffed on Adam Wainwrights' trademark big 12-to-6 curveball but Andre Ethier hit a two run homer to left centerfield to tie the game. Manny Ramirez grounded out to Pujols to end the inning.
STL 1, LA 1
Adam Wainwright did his job, forcing Clayton Kershaw to throw him nine pitches before flying out. Julio Lugo then jumped on a pitch and hit a double on the right field foul line... Dodgers third sacker Casey Blake made a good pick of Brendan Ryan's hopping grounder to record the second out and Albert Pujols was AGAIN intentionally walked. I have to say, with home much hotter Matt Holliday was than Pujols in the second half, that i can't believe managers continue to walk Albert to to get to him. I know they say you don't let the guy with the big paycheck beat you. But Holliday isn't exactly a pauper. It works again, however, as Holliday grounds out to third and the inning is over and the runners left on base are starting to pile up again.
Ryan Ludwick former Cardinals second baseman Ronnie Belliard, laying out to snare a line drive in the right field corner that seemed to have extra bases written all over it. Russell Martin grounded out to shortstop Brendan Ryan for the second out. Pitcher Clayton Kershaw flew out to deep right to end the third inning.
STL 1, LA 0
Welcome to the party, Matt Holliday. The Cardinals sluggng outfielder, who had a crummy St. Louis post season debut, homered in his first at bat in game two. Ryan Ludwick followed with a dribbler to third to get on base. Yadier Molina blooped a dying quail to left centerfield to put two on base with no one out. Mark DeRosa struck out on a shoulder high fastball for the first out, then Colby Rasmus hit an easy double play ball to end the inning. That hurts to bring the pitcher up in the top of the inning, and I wonder if the Cardinals would have been better off with Skip Schumaker in center instead of a rookie.
Adam Wainwright remained unblemished after two. He's got good command. Hopefully he'll get some run support and the Cardinals can even this up and bring it back to St. Louis is good shape.
STL 1, LA 0
The Cardinals have surprisingly switched things up at the top of the order, moving Julio Lugo to the leadoff spot and sitting lefty Skip Schumaker against Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw.
Why? Because Schumaker was arguably the Birds hottest hitter in game one against lefty Randy Wolf...
It made no difference, however. The Cardinals went easily in the first. Fortunately St. Louis Starter Adam Wainwright was able to match the feat and keep the game scoreless after one frame.
STL 0, LA 0