Cheap Seats

Cardinals at Dodgers, NLDS game one

Top of the ninth:

Matt Holliday leads it off and hits a ball that wouldn't be a homer in a phone booth, popping out to second baseman Orlando Hudson. Ryan Ludwick collected his second hit on a line drive to right. He tried to move to second with the first baseman playing behind the bag. But Yadier Molina hacked away, fouling off a pair of pitches before striking out.

It's all up to Mark DeRosa to get on base for a third time and bring the tying run to the plate... He drops a ball in front of the centerfielder and makes the score 5-3. But the Cardinals only have Rick Ankiel to use as a pinch hitter. And Ankiel has struggled awfully lately.

Ankiel fould off a pitch right down the middle and then struck out looking to end the Cardinals chances and seal the 5-3 loss...

It's early in the series. But this is a game the Cardinals should have won. And now they MUST win tomorrow. Or today, I should say.

Bottom of the eighth:

Mitchell Boggs relieves for the Cardinals... Leading to speculation that John Smoltz would start a potential fourth game... One quick out, then a four-pitch walk to Casey Blake. Albert Pujols bailed out Boggs with Russell Martin at the plate with an unreal dive and throw from his ack ala the 2006 World Series... Broxton strikes out and it's the last hope for the Cardinals.

STL 2, LA 5.

Top of the eighth:

Julio Lugo made a quick out on a pop up. But Skip Schumaker got on base after being hit by a pitch. Brendan Ryan pops up to short right field, and Albert Pujols has to get on to give Matt Holliday a chance to make a game of it. But he is going to have to do it against Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton.

A one-hopper to third and Pujols is gone. And so is the scoring chance.

STL 2, LA 5

Bottom of the seventh:

Blake Hawksworth is in for the Cardinals. And like clockwork, he gives up a leadoff single... But he struck out Matt Kemp for the first out. And then, after a pop up gets JUST out of play, he walks Andre Ethier to bring up Manny Ramirez. But he gets the 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

STL 2, LA 5

Top of the seventh:

Matt Holliday leads off the inning and he draws a full count on a pitch that caused the home plate umpire to twitch but not raise his right hand. So Kuo threw a 97 mile an hour fastball right down the middle and blew him away. Ryan Ludwick grounded out Yadier Molina singled through the infield to bring up Mark DeRosa, who by my count owes the Cardinals a run or two... He singled to right and suddenly the tying run is at the plate.

Troy Glaus is called upon to pinch hit for Colby Rasmus, which gives him a huge chance to redeem a completely wasted season with one swing of the bat. WHIFF....

STL 2, LA 5.

Bottom of the sixth:

Dennys Reyes comes in to relieve Chris Carpenter and more of the same. One pitch, one double... See you Reyes. Apparenly manager Tony La Russa was unimpressed with the Cardinals lefty's 1.000 career batting average against vs. Manny Ramirez... Kyle McClellan relieves Reyes.

He does a good job with his first man, getting Ramirez to pop up to short center and keep the runner at second base with one out. But he gives up a hit to James Loney and it is first and third with one out for Casey Blake, who is 2-for3 on the night. McClellan got blake to line out for the second out, narrowly missing a double play as the runners scrambled to get back. Then he walked Ronnie Belliard to bring up Russell Martin... And McClellan hits him to give the Dodgers a three-run lead. Nice.

Jim Thome pinch hit for the Dodgers, and in comes Trever Miller, who got two quick strikes and appeared to throw a fastball by Thome at the knees. But it was called a ball by home plate umpire Dana DeMeuth, who squeezed him on another pitch to fill up the count with the bases loaded. Strike three...

STL 2, LA 5.

Top of the sixth:

It's the top of the order for the Cardinals, and the offense really needs to do something right now...

But Casey Blake dives to his right to rob Skip Schumaker for the first out. Brendan Ryan grounds out to short... And I bet Albert Pujols will see some pitches this at bat with no one on and the Dodgers enjoying a two-run lead. Unfortunately, he grounded easily to shortstop for a rare 1-2-3 inning... And, as Yogi Berra says, it's getting late early.

STL 2, LA 4.

Bottom of the fifth:

Bottom third of the order for Chris Carpenter, whose first pitch of the inning is his 80th of the game. And his third pitch of the inning is a leadoff single for Ronnie Belliard...

He then walked the next batter to bring pinch hitter Juan Pierre to the plate and Pierre sacrificed when Yadier Molina fumbled the foot-long bunt. Rafael Furcal is up with two runners in scoring position and the middle of the order threatening behind him. He hit a long sacrifice fly to right field after fouling off several pitches to double the Dodgers lead. Ryan Ludwick snares a fly to right to end the inning and the Dodgers latest threat.

STL 2, LA 4

Top of the fifth:

The good news is that the Cardinals are in the Dodgers bullpen. The bad news is that the Dodgers will soon be in the Cardinals bullpen.

Yadier Molina fought of Jeff Weaver's best efforts to give him a leadoff walk before DeRosa hit a hard grounder to second base. Colby Rasmus doubled to right to bring Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter to the plate... How about some of that home run action from his last start? No such luck. He struck out. Let's just hope he has a couple more shut out innings left in him...

STL 2, LA 3

Bottom of the fourth:

Rafaeal Furcal tried the old Baltimore chop to start the fourth for the home team but was handled on a good play by Mark DeRosa at third. Brendan Ryan handled Matt Kemp on a grounder in the hole at short and Andre Ethier grounded a ball deep to Skip Schumaker who was unable to throw the runner out by the seat of his pants. What looked like an easy inning fell apart when Manny Ramirez hit a double down the left field line...

James Loney, with runners at second and third and two out, walked to load them up. And here comes Casey Blake with two hits already on the night... He hit a hard liner to right... to Ryan Ludwick to end the inning and tie the number of runners stranded by each team at nine.

STL 2, LA 3

Top of the Fourth:

Colby Rasmus lead off with a walk after working the count full and helping to build up Dodgers starter Randy Wolf's pitch count. Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter got the bunt down on his second chance of the game to give Skip Schumaker a runner in scoring position. Skippy fisted one just inside the third base bag to drive Rasmus home to cut the deficit to 3-2 and then got into second base with the heart of the order coming up...

Warming up in the Dodgers bullpen is another familiar face. It's 2006 Cardinals World Series hero Jeff Weaver...

Ryan popped up on the infield to bring Albert Pujols back to the plate with the tying run in scoring position and two outs... And the Dodgers are going to walk him again. Three at bats and one pitch in the strike zone so far. Holliday has to make the Dodgers pay this time.

Holliday took a huge cut on the first pitch and came up with nothing but air. He fouled off the second to get in an 0-2 hole... He got the count to 1-2 and then was hit on the forearm with a pitch to load the bases for Ryan Ludwick.

There goes Wolf after only three and 2/3 innings pitched and in comes Weaver... Ludwick hit a fly to left that was JUST foul that would have cleared the bases. But he grounded the next pitch weakly to the pitcher and the Cardinals have now stranded NINE baserunners.

STL 2, LA 3

Bottom of the third:

Chris Carpenter had Dodgers leadoff man Andre Ethier in a hole before hitting him on the toe with a breaking ball in front of Manny Ramirez.

Ramirez walked to make it first and second with no one out, and the Cardinals are really living dangerously... James Loney just missed a pitch that he hit a long way to right field for a flyout. Ethier moved up to third, but Manny Ramirez couldn't carry all that hair to second base, keeping the double play in order.

Carpenter got a ground ball that DeRosa made a nice diving stop to field. Then he threw it 20 feet high over second base and into right field to allow another run to score and runners to be on first and second with one out for Ronnie Belliard. In the first, DeRosa had his had stepped on at first base. It was bad enough to draw blood... I wonder if that affected the throw...

Carpenter struck out Belliard and then Russell Martin walks to load the bases and bring pitcher Randy Wolf to the plate. Carpenter is working on his own 30-pitch inning and already announcers on TBS are wondering if St. Louis has lost the massive edge it had with its superior top two starters. Wolf popped it up to Brendan Ryan to limit the damage...

STL 1, LA 3

Top of the third:

Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Ryan Ludwick coming up... time to get some offense going...

But Pujols swung at the first pitch and easily grounded out. Matt Holliday finally took the bat off his shoulder, swinging at the first pitch, and he rifled it for a single to right. Ludwick walked to push the tying run to second base. I wonder why manager Tony LaRussa put Yadier Molina in the fifth spot since he is a walking double play. Holliday apparently thought Molina's long drive to right field was going to get over Andre Ethier's head because he didn't tag up and move to third. Ludwick probably could have made it to second, the ball was so deep and the outfielder had to go back to get it... It didn't matter, though. Mark DeRosa hit a hard grounder to short to force out Ludwick.

The Cardinals have left six runners on base and just aren't living up to their offensive potential.

STL 1, LA 2

Bottom of the second:

Chris Carpenter got two easy outs. But he was ripped into the right field corner by Rafael Furcal for a triple to give the Dodgers another scoring chance. But this time around he struck out Matt Kemp with a curve... It's been his most consistent pitch up to this point...

STL 1, LA 2.

Top of the second:

While the Cardinals didn't put as big of a dent in the scoreboard as they might have in the first, they forced Randy Wolf to throw well over 30 pitches and they need to keep giving him a workout.

Mark DeRosa built a 2-0 count and then drove a single to left field. (Why couldn't Yadi have struck out? It would be 3-2 St. Louis...) Colby Rasmus, a .160 hitter against lefties, milked eight pitches before lining out to third base. It sounded like his bat broke, otherwise it might have sailed over Casey Blake's head for a double... Chris Carpenter struck out, unable to advance DeRosa to second. Schumaker singled to left and DeRosa had to stop at second, bringing Brendan Ryan back to the dish with two outs and the tying run at second base... Ryan flew out to the left field warning track and Albert Pujols will unfortunately bat in the third with the bases empty.

STL 1, LA 2.

Bottom of the first:

Chris Carpenter came into the game 5-0 against LA lifetime, but promptly gave up a hit to leadoff batter Rafael Furcal. Matt Kemp then homered into the centerfield stands to capitalize on St. Louis' scoring woes and take a 2-1 lead. it was the first longball Carp has given up in 11 starts.

It looked like the Cardinals starter settled down with two quick hits of the Dodgers third and fourth place hitters. But James Loney hit a hard single on another ball left over the center of the plate. And Casey Blake got a pitch over the center of the plate which he hit for the fourth safety Carpenter gave up in the first frame. Not good...

Ronnie Belliard struck out to end the first...

STL 1, LA 2

Top of the first:

The Cardinals couldn't have scripted it any better, loading the bases with no one out in the first innings... So how Matt Holliday could have stood there and watched three strikes is beyond me.

After Skip Schumaker walked and Brendan Ryan doulbled to start the inning, Albert Pujols was intentionally walked and Holliday came to the plate with a chance to give Chris Carpenter a lead to defend. At this point, the only goal was to get out front. So to be passive and let a scoring chance slip away is unbelievable. I'm not asking for the world. A sacrifice fly would be nice, though.

Ryan Ludwick started attacking immediately and quickly got himself into a 1-2 hole. He fouled off several pitches, often expanding the strike zone high. But he laid off a high curveball to even the count 2-2 and eventually blooped home a run with a single in front of the centerfielder and just beyond the glove of former Cardinals second baseman Ronnie Beliard to make it 1-0 Cardinals.

Yadier Molina came to the plate 1-for-15 this season with the bases loaded and he hacked himself into a two strike count before hitting an easy grounder up the middle for a tailor-made double play. The Cardinals grabbed the lead. But they should have scored two or three runs, not just one.

STL 1, LA 0