By Scott Wuerz
History -- especially recent history -- suggests that the Cardinals still have a good shot at bringing home the big trophy despite being down to the Rangers two games to one.
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They came back from being down to Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs. They overcame the fact that they didn't have the home field advantage against Milwaukee in the National League Championship Series. They can win two games at home. They’ve done it before, besting Milwaukee in games six and seven at Busch Stadium II after losing a devistating game in Milwaukee in the 1982 World Series.
But, if they wouldn't have completely abandoned their productive, team-oriented offense, they wouldn't have to go to such lengths. This World Series should already have been won by St. Louis. Worst case scenario, the Cardinals should be up three games to two, in the cat bird’s seat needing only one win in two tries on their home field.
One has to wonder how many times they can back themselves into a corner and fight their way out.
That being said, being at home is a major factor on the Cardinals' side, despite their deficit. After all, maybe the crowd will co-operate with manager Tony La Russa enough to allow his call for a certain pitcher to be heard over the bullpen phone...
Maybe I was watching a different game last night than everyone else. But I think the bullpen phone gaffe that led to La Russa allegedly getting the wrong pitcher warmed up at the wrong time had very little to do with the game six loss at Texas.
The pitcher La Russa called for shouldn't have mattered at that point. One base hit and/or a couple of sacrifice flies to take advantage of the ridiculous amount of runners the Cardinals put on base Monday would have given them more than enough offense to hold on for the win.
I know some people thing we should all just be happy that the Cardinals won the pennant and that the World Series would just be gravy on top.
While I am sure that a month or two from now I will look back on the 2011 season with fond memories of September and October, right now I’m a little too wrapped up in the moment to think about perspective.
When this series started I was all wrapped up in the feel good story that was the Cardinals' improbable come back to make the playoffs at all. But once you make the series, I pretty strongly feel that you might as well try to win the darn thing. I was at ease after the Birds split the first two games because they were so well played. But I get the sickening feeling that, after all the disrespect the Redbirds got along the way and after all the stunning comebacks, the players started to believe their own hype and that they were some sort of team of destiny.
The only reason the Birds are in this down three games to two predicament is that they took their eyes off the road. I just hope they can get out of the ditch and get the car started before the Rangers cross the finish line.