It’s hard to put into words the excitement we are all feeling right now, but I’ll try. Adam Wainwright didn’t have his best stuff, or close to it, but it didn’t matter. The 2012 St. Louis Cardinals are heading to the NLCS after a historic comeback, but even that doesn’t begin to tell the story. No team has ever come back from a 6-0 deficit or larger in a do or die game in the history of baseball to win it. I had my doubts like all of my friends over at Cards Talk. After Wainwright gave up 6 runs early, it just didn’t seem like the magic of 2011 was going to continue. Matt Holliday drove in the first run, but I still didn’t feel it. When the score got to 6-3, it started getting real.
The Cardinals continued to battle, chipping away at the lead. 6-1, 6-3, 6-4, 6-5 and then Jason Motte came in and gave up a run in the 8th to make it 7-5. Carlos Beltran doubled to start the 9th, and hope was still alive. To think that with 2 outs it was still going to happen was difficult, but then I remembered what many of us noticed in game 3, when Davey Johnson used Drew Storen in a 8-0 Cards win. This ended up being Storen’s third game in a row, a guy coming back from injury, and his arm must have felt like a limp noodle. I brought it up yesterday, and will never understand what Johnson was thinking. His pitches started to sail, and his delivery was off to say the least. Still, the Cards had to battle. Storen was trying to hit the corners, but Jim Joyce wasn’t there to save him or the Nationals this time by giving them another 4 inches off the plate.
To be honest, I thought Skip Schumaker deserved more playing time down the stretch at 2B, but Daniel Descalso is cool under pressure, and I’m happy to be wrong. You can add David Freese and Yadier Molina to that list of keeping their cool under pressure, who both walked ahead of Descalso to give him a chance. Another inch to the left and Ian Desmond makes the play, maybe. That was a rocket off DD’s bat, and Mike Matheny’s decision to pinch run for Molina with Adron Chambers, who scored the tying run, was just another reason why Matheny was always the right man for the job. Pete Kozma delivered in the clutch to give the Cards the lead, and the rest is history.
This team is doing something most of us have never seen in our lifetimes, and there’s not enough words to tell the story right. The Cards are celebrating, but it will be all business Sunday in San Francisco. I’ll give a preview to the series, but it appears from the few tweets from the Cards and Giants that the rotations will be as follows:
I hope to be proven wrong in that I think the Cards should go with Shelby Miller to start Game 1. The league hasn’t seen him, and if there ever was a stadium to start a rookie, I think it’s in San Fran. I can see why Matheny will go with Lynn instead for obvious reasons of not wanting to put too much pressure on Miller, but he’s been lights out for 3 months in the minors and again when called up. Lynn hasn’t been sharp in the postseason, but the Giants don’t exactly have a threatening lineup. I have confidence in Matheny, as we all should.
That’s it for now. This is a special team, and I really hope to see a Cards/Yankees WS. I have tried to stay away from talking about Albert Pujols this year, but even though he’s probably more than happy counting his stacks of cash, there has to be a part of him that hates this ride the Cards are on without him. I take pleasure in that, and many of my friends do as well. Check back Sunday for a series preview!