Thursday, October 08, 2009

NLDS Game 2 Recap - Dodgers Get Early Holliday Present

It's been a number of hours since the ninth inning unfolded, which is enough time to reflect. It looked, on the replay, like Holliday lost the ball as it descended. He said as much after the game. I haven't played a lot of baseball recently, but I still play a LOT of softball, and I can completely understand what Holliday went through. When a ball gets lost in the lights or in the sun, you put your glove up where you think the ball is going to come down and hope it lands in your glove.

Most of the post game reaction around the Cardinal blogs and sites I frequent focused in on Holliday's failure to catch that ball. And make no mistake, it was a big play. But it wasn't the only play that led to the 3-2 loss.

- After Holliday's HR, Ludwick and Molina singled. But DeRosa struck out and Rasmus hit into a double play to end the threat.

- Again numerous runners left on base. St Louis was oh for nine with runners in scoring position.

- Rasmus getting thrown out at third in the seventh. Yes, he was being aggressive, and yes Loney made a great play to cut the throw off and nail Rasmus at third. But there was no one out when Rasmus rapped the double - why try to take the extra base, with Wainwright on deck? One, Adam would probably be asked to sacrifice and get Rasmus to third. Two, even if he can't get Rasmus over, Rasmus is one of the fastest men on the roster; I still feel good about my chances.

Now, it's impossible to predict how the rest of that inning would have played out, but just for argument's sake. Wainwright sacrifices Rasmus to third. Torre, who's watched Wainwright manhandle his lineup, brings the infield in. Lugo's single scores Rasmus to give St Louis a 3-1 lead. Inning develops from there.

- Then we get to the ninth. Even after Holliday muffed the ball, there were still 2 outs, and the Cardinals still had the lead. But the Cardinals self-destructed. Give Blake credit for the nine-pitch at bat that turned into a walk. Franklin lays a pitch in to Belliard who sends it back up the middle. The passed ball. The walk to Martin. The Loretta jam job hit. Ball Game.

St Louis had, arguably, two of the best 3 pitchers in the NL this season. They lost both games with those guys on the mound. It's a huge hill they have to climb now.

Let me leave you with some hope. On October 11, 1985, the Cardinals flew back to St Louis down 0-2 to the Dodgers. They had played poorly in the first two games, and looked dead in the water. They came back to win all their home games and the series. That's what this team needs to do.

Colleen Dominguez reported on SportsCenter (at 2214 Thursday night) that Adam Wainwright said, "If anyone thinks this series is over - think again." Enough said.

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