Talk baseball all season long with SI.com's Jacob Luft in Baseball Chatter, a journal for hot topic debates, Sabermetric ramblings and reader-driven discussions.
10/21/2006 11:55:00 PM
Game 1 Grades
The Cardinals shattered the Tigers' dream of a World Series sweep in Game 1.
St. Louis Cardinals
Rookie Anthony Reyes struggled this season, but it wasn't for a lack of talent. He's a big-time prospect who has dominated at every level of the minor leagues. He harnessed that talent tonight in shutting down the Tigers. The big adjustment after allowing a run in the first inning was to rely more on his fastball since Detroit was sitting on his change. Now Tony La Russa can feel good about bringing Reyes back for Game 5 and keeping his big three -- Chris Carpenter, Jeff Weaver and Jeff Suppan -- on regular rest. Grade: A
Reyes only left the relievers one inning of work, and Braden Looper got through the ninth unscathed. Grade: A
Offense Scott Rolen appears to be healthy again, or at least close to it. His second-inning home run tied the score at 1 and took some momentum away from the Tigers. Albert Pujols' two-run homer was the biggest hit of the game, and it came after yet another key hit by Yadier Molina started the rally. Grade: A
Rolen's glovework is still shaky, as evidenced by his error in the ninth. Juan Encarnacion bobbled a ball in the first inning but it didn't come back to haunt them. Otherwise, the Cardinals were solid-if-unspectacular in the field. Grade: C
La Russa showed he hasn't forgotten how to manage in the AL, where you have to ride a hot pitcher as long as you can, leaving Reyes in all the way into the ninth. This lineup works a lot better with whiffmeister Preston Wilson on the bench instead of the No. 2 slot. I like Chris Duncan in there against righties and hopefully La Russa will use So Taguchi as his No. 2 hitter against Kenny Rogers in Game 2. Grade: A
Starting pitching Justin Verlander's curveball was working but he got hurt with his high fastball all night, which wasn't high enough or fast enough to get by the Cardinals. (Speaking of which, was FOX's radar gun busted? They didn't clock a pitch above 90 mph all night, and we know Verlander can hit triple digits.) His lack of experience betrayed him in the pivotal Pujols at-bat in the third inning. Given the edict by his manager to pitch around him, Verlander missed his spot and ended up grooving a fastball to the best hitter in the game. The result: two-run home run. Grade: C-
The two inherited runners that scored were huge, but you can't blame Jason Grilli for that. Brandon Inge blew the play by throwing wildly to home plate on Encarnacion's grounder to third. Overall, five relievers combined to allow two hits, zero runs. Grade: A
Are the hackers back? The Tigers walked only once in this game after showing a newfound dose of plate discipline during the AL playoffs. In fairness, it's got to be tough to hit after a week off. The timing just can't be right. Grade: C
See above. Inge's misplays in the sixth inning -- the throwing error and then interfering with baserunner Rolen -- allowed the Cardinals to blow the game open. Just prior to that, Verlander's errant pickoff throw to first put Pujols on third base with nobody out, setting up the three-run inning. Grade: D
Allowing Verlander to pitch to Pujols with a base open in the third is the hot topic of second-guessers in this game, but I didn't have that big of a problem with it. Jim Leyland trusted Verlander to pitch carefully to Pujols and the kid just vapor locked. It happens. The move I would question is starting Verlander in Game 1 in the first place. The week off afforded Leyland the luxury of using any of his fearsome foursome and he chose the one with the least experience. I understand he wants Rogers to pitch two games at home by going in Games 2 and 6, but it's the first game and I'd want my best man on the mound regardless of what will happen five days later. Grade: C
Jacob Luft, I like the fact you gave the Cards a chance in this series unlike so many of your co-workers and so called baseball experts wrote them off, as they had in every series will once again be left there to look foolish. To Tom Verducci, I dont want to hear anything you have to say until after the postseason and you write your year end report, where an apology to all of Cardinal nation is included!! You analysis up until has been so far off im starting to think they are paying you to look dumb. You've given the Cards no respect before this series or leading up to it (in previous series). Iam a Card fan living near Detroit and I recently heard you on a local radio station and once again you had no problem ripping my Cards and saying they had no chance and might take it to 5 games with Carp only winning. Well sir you were wrong once again, since when were the Tigers this unreal team? I live there and saw them play all year, there free swingers with no hitters like Beltran, Delgado and Reyes etc and the weak Card rotation like you claim had little problems with them. Then you try to rip on their everyday lineup and their hitters and talked about how the mets pitchers sucked and they couldnt hit them and the tigers got 4 hall of famers the way you make it sound, well Tom, if you watch the Cards their a great fastball hitting team again proved that tonight, Edmonds, Duncan, Wilson, Pujols are all hitters who struggle more with offspeads and breaking balls, the tigers however throw alot of heat. But like i said no articles about how the Tigers lost this world series, and gave it to the Cards, because Tom, my friend, the Tigers didnt lose it you were just wrong all along....GO CARDS
Oh and Albert Chen, your just like that USA today writer who had the Tigers in 3, you can have fun apologzing along with Verducci after the series is over. You too should hold a press conference and talk about all that you were wrong on this post season...GO CARDS
thank god the honeymoon you sports writers were having with jim leyland is coming to an end. hopefully. jim leyland is bad where it counts- on the field (Neifi Perez, Carlos Guillen batting 5th, pitching to Pujols with 1B open...). off the field, who cares? a manager has to keep egos on check off the field and not be Dusty Baker (or JLeyland) on the field. other than that, they're irrelevant. the cards won because they pitched and hit well. end of story. girardi for MOTY.
So Anthony Reyes outpitches Justin Verlander. Has anything in this postseason made any sense at all? This game makes me feel better about my prediction of Cardinals in 5 just because that's the way this postseason has gone.
i'm a rockies fan...hold your condolences please...but i don't understand the experts in this series. detroit was swept by the royals...at home...the last weekend of the regular season. This isn't the '27 Yankees for god's sake. Are the Cardinals great? Not by any means...mediocre pitching with mediocre hitting, but the Tigers have young, inxeperienced pitching, with impatient hitting...I just don't see why everyone jumped on the Tigers? Just because they beat the Yankees and swept the ALCS? On paper, yes, the Tigers look better but not to the degree that the media has portrayed it. As a fan with no rooting interest, I hope this baby is a good serie and goes seven, I just don't understand the Tiger love-fest.
The reason why the Cardinals are where they are is because they are tough and play with heart. Im a huge Cardinals fan and follow them religiously. I know how good this team is and any analyst should know that when the Cardinals are healthy and play to their potential they are as good or better than any team in the major league. However, I dont expect any SI writer to know anything about the Cardinals because they are too busy hanging out on the east coast to even know the midwest exists. But that is besides the point, I like being an underdog. Detroit has all the pressure and we are out their just having fun.
JL; I take my hat off to you; it took a lot of courage for you to swalllow some of your dribble about the Cardinals and having a change of hart. I like your "report card" method; if you had used it earlier, perhaps reality would have dawned earlier on you; that is how the Cards have been playing this post season. The Mets offense was awasome during the season; IMO, better than Detroit's. Yet, for the exception of one game, the Cards pitchers subdued it;that fact should have been a BIG hint, to any expert, of things to come for this Series. I predicted the Saint Louis in 6 games; but, I am also having a change of harts; I smell a sweep!
Let me first say, the detroit tigers are a team that has flourished into one of the best teams in MLB and being a cardinals fan I do live the realization that they statiscally are a better team, but after tonights game you cannot discount the cardies one bit. We came out like a team who hasn't lost a game in the nlcs/nlds...as a matter of fact, you wouldn't think we played as bad as we did the second half of the season. Regardless this will be a great series and lord knows, I want the cardies all the way. But as shown tonight, detroits pitching really is talented and we have a tough few games ahead
Tigers in 3! Tigers in 4. Sportswriters with these predictions should hang it up and let more realistic Sportswriters have a chance to use the available newsprint and airwaves to keep fans interested in the series. Who pays these guys to come up with this stuff? Any 3rd grader can do as well.
LaRussa gets an A, huh? Tell me, what the hell did he do that was so great? "He rode his starting pitching into the ninth"? Who wouldn't have? Reyes was lights out 2-8. Give me a break...win or lose, La Russa is still the most overrated manager in the game right now. It's easy to look good when you team scores many runs and your pitching allows few.
Jacob, I think it says a lot that the VAST majority of your readers, as well as the VAST majority of Cardinals fans, cannot form sentences. These are the kind of readers you attract; are you concerned about that? My God, are these the most uneducated people writing these responses or what? It's called puncutation, people. Go back to fourth grade and learn about it, please.
Who was the USA Today columnist who predicted the Tigers in three?? I would like to email him to find out if he was ignorant of the Series format of best four of seven, or was he trying to be overly confident and arrogant??
Oh give me friggin break...one win and your crowning the cards??? Who damn near lost the division??? Wahahaha...it will just make the eventual loss that much sweeter to watch, knowing all you dumb bird fans are sitting at home crying in your crappy bud beer cans.
Anonymous @ 9:44 am, remind us who actually did lose their division at the end of the season. Nice argument. We are finally able to look at some parity in the journalistic ranks now, your analysis excluded.
I hope all of you in the media keep picking the Tigers in 5 now. As a Cardinal fan I can't wait to hear you all figure out what happened after we are World Champions. It's nice being the underdog. We have no pressure tonight in game 2. You think the Tigers and their fan's are listening to all the so called experts still? Ha, Ha.
Last night showed that the Cardinals are pros, and the Tigers are not. They're young and skilled, but on the other hand, the Cards play with intelligence and patience, which allows them to utilize their strengths and minimize their deficiencies. Their recent Series experience is also key. Detroit seems to just be happy to be there, in a lot of ways.
please tell albert chen to put off writing articles until the world sereis is over. he makes a prediction and than after that game he always changes his prediction. hes such an idiot; just realize that your wrong and live up to it you coward.
"Interfering" with the baserunner? Inge had to be eight feet from the basepath! Where was he supposed to go -- the dugout? What grade would you give the umps? I'm thinking a D+ for that call alone (although the strike zones seemed very consistent). Note that I say this as an Orioles fan, with no dog in this -- or any other fight -- for a long, LONG time.
Umm buddy, did you hit your head on the arch? "Nice argument." It wasn't an argument. You did almost (in typical cardinals fashion) choke. That fact doesn't change simply because the tigers did lose the division...guess what, they won the wild card, and hmmm would the cardinals have done that had they choked like usual? Nope. Like I say, the eventual cardinal choke will be that much sweeter.
Well, this idiot from Detroit who keeps talking about punctuation and letting division leads slip is both missing the point and a giant tool, Oh, wait? that should have been a "." I can't figure out puncuation, I'm sorry$ The point is - that the national media should not have been so bold as to sarcastically pick the Tigers in 3. Let me ask this: Does crow taste at all like chicken* er, I mean "?"
Boy, some of the anger towards the Cards' fans (see comments from 9:01, 9:04 and 9:44) are surprising. All of a sudden, even the fans (not just the sports' "analysts") are ripping on good ol' midwestern, podunk baseball junkies who only have the most esteemed MLB history outside of Bronx, NY. I don't see why everyone and their mother outside of Cards' country thought the Redbirds would be outplayed. Is a lineup filled with .250 hitting free hackers supposed to remain hot after cooling off for 6 days when faced with a very good pitching performance? And if my fantasy baseball memory serves me correctly, I seem to remember Verlander getting his a.. handed to him many, many times come the last couple of months of the regular season. I'm thankful that he had about a week to rest in order to allow him to get his velocity up to 90 mph.
Why doesn't anyone outside of St. Louis realize that it was the Tigers who got lucky by getting hot in NY and maintaining that to get to the W.S. And the Cardinals don't have a "mediocre" lineup. The Cards have an above average lineup marked with good role players who know how to handle a bat (something someone, namely a manager, should teach some of the young Tigers how to do), power (see Pujols, Edmonds, Rolen 2004), and defense with Gold Glove caliber players at 1st, CF, C, 3B. As for the pitching, well, that's what we actually try to do. We don't just show up and start throwing 1,000 mph, even though that should do the job most of the time. Does anyone think the Tigers' lineup is more fearsome than the Mets'? Hmmm...Jose Reyes, LoDuca, Beltran, Delgado, Wright, Green versus somebody, somebody, somebody, somebody, Pudge, somebody, somebody. I wish the analysts would just shut up. And YOU-Cardinal haters...why not try keeping your mouths shut until you have as many or more pennants or championships as us!
Sportswriters get paid to inform and give their export opinions so I'm surprised at how short their memory is when it comes to this series. It seems as if they have done very little homework on the clubs involved (especially the Cardinals) perhaps because the teams don’t reside on the east coast. Regardless of the how series goes, the St. Louis Cardinals have experienced a successful run over the following fours years. ’02 – 97 wins, ’03 – 85 wins, ’04 – 105 wins, ’05- 100 wins. I don’t think there are many teams that can match that kind of success over the same time span. In early June, the Cardinals had the second best record in baseball only behind Detroit at a .642 winning percentage. At this pace they would had finished the season with 104 wins but everyone in Cardinal Nation knows the reason this didn’t happen. From midseason thru the end they lost the services of Pujols, Rolen, Eckstein, Edmonds, and completely lost Mulder their No. 2 starter. For the most part, these four are the reason for the successful run over the last four years so it shouldn’t be shocking that the Cardinals are playing like a .642 club again with the heart of their lineup back in service.
You guys are hysterical. One game and you're ready to hand the Cardinals the trophy? Hmm...sounds very similar to what happened in the Yankees' series. Do you remember that? Yankees beat the Tigers rather handily in Game 1 and everyone starts talking about who they would rather face in the ALCS.
The Tigers looked predictably rusty following a week off while the Cardinals looked sharp as they should following their series. Yet some of you claim the Tigers got lucky against the Yankees? They shut them out for 19+ consecutive innings! Do you really think the Yanks forgot how to play baseball? And last I checked, the Yanks line-up was considerably stronger than the Mets.
This series is far from over and will probably go at least 6 if not the full 7 games. The best team will win no doubt...but who that is has yet to be determined. I just warn all Cards fans out there...don't make the Yankee mistake and start planning your party, otherwise you may be tasting tears (like the Yanks/Mets fans).
Respect given or taken, if the Cardinals can push this to a game seven Detroit will lose. But if the Tigers can get it back together, just as they did against the Yankees, then all the limping will start up again in LaRussa's bandaged lineup. The key is for Detroit's pitching to realize that you can't throw heat all night against a team whose roster includes Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, Eckstein and the like. And Detroit's hitting needs to be smart and timely. These Cards aren't the fat and unmotivated New York Yankees: they've had their former 100 win arrogance wiped out before, by Boston and Houston. They are a tougher, grittier bunch, enjoying the very underdog role that the Tigers rode to this point. You aren't the Underdog anymore, Detroit, you're the Dog now. And you better start playing like it before the Cardinals take another big bite of flesh out of the Cinderella dream.
For simple blokheads, like me, there is nothing like Baseball and the chatter it creates; it is a escape and I love it! Nice to read the Sport Pages of any Newspaper before looking at the, usually, bad news in the front pages... Cards in 6, or a sweep! Last out in Saint Louis; Wainright strikes out my good old boy Magglio; it is jus karma at work:)
I understand why writers picked the Tigers to cruise by the Cardinals. The Tigers looked unstoppable in their last three against the Yankees and in all 4 against the A's. But if this playoffs has shown us anything it is that momentum lasts only as long as your next starting pitcher. And Verlander was not terrible (8Ks), but to the Cards hitters credit they punished his mistakes all night. And the Cardinals have a strong lineup, and as the season goes on the healthier they (i.e. Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds) get. Can we talk about the fact that both of these teams just stunk towards the end of the regular season and now they are in the world series? Momentum means nothing in baseball. Just get yourself there and if your pitcher is having a good day then you have a chance.
I seriously don't understand the experts this year. Their predictions have been terrible at best. Everyone picked the Yankees to win the World Series. Why? They have a great lineup they said. Maybe the best lineup ever they said. Do the experts have no sense of baseball history? Pitching wins in the post-season. The Cards happened to get a good night from Reyes (he has great stuff, just been inconsistent all year) and the Tigers a poor night from Verlander (Verlander didn't throw badly but he had too many mistakes that got hit hard). Now the Tigers really need their one veteran staffer to come up with a big game or they are going to be in real trouble. This Cards lineup is full of veteran hitters with a lot of post-season experience and as Verlander saw last night they know how to punish mistakes.
As an impartial observer (I'm an A's fan) the biggest story of last night in my mind was Reyes. You have two rookies starting Game 1 and Reyes threw an absolute gem in a hostile environment. And he got hit hard in the first inning and then recovered. Wow! That was impressive to see. Great Job Reyes!!! No matter what the outcome of this series that should be remembered as an impressive performance.
Yeah, this seems to be a different Cardinals squad than some of the previous (and unsuccessful) versions. It seems like they have (cue Rocky III music) the Eye of the Tiger! That would be bad news for the Tigers. As a lifelong Cards fan from Des Peres, MO, I have to say this is sweet. Every day we advance by winning another game is a blessing. With that in mind, yesterday's game was amazing.
Tigers fans, why hate on the Birds? You've got a great team and no matter what happens in the Series, you guys surprised the hell out of a lot of people. Just like we have. So quit being petty, root for your boys and have some respect for the NL opposition. No matter who wins I'm sure this will be a great Series.
So, the NL is trash? If that is so, than Baseball is trash because the NL counts in its ranks the likes of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Stan Musial, Barry Bonds, Juan Marichal, Dizzy and Daffy, Ozzie Smith, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Frank Robinson (both NL and AL), Bob Gibson, Ernie Banks, the Alou brothers (actually the whole family), Stargell, Orlando Cepeda, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Duke Snyder, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Gwynn, Sammy Sosa (why not?, and so many others......Well, I love my trash! Talking about trash, wasn't Pizza Hut the heighth of Detroit creativity in assembly line producton? Play Ball!
I just read John Donovan's "5 things to keep in mind in this world series". Well, I am just trying to keep myself amused; it is late here in Holland and I want to catch at least the first inning of the second game...So, Mr. Donovan first "point"to remember is directed to , duh, New York Fans...Come on! My beloved New Yorkers are out of this Series!!!! Leave them alone....The business here has nothing to do with them. Do not blame people from the Midwest for considering the "media"biased towards the Big "media"cities. Come on Cardinals! I have a cheap Dutch (all natural) street cleaning broom for sale; Detroit needs a good scrubbing!
"Posted: 6:01 PM, October 22, 2006 by Anonymous Hey everyone out there I have question for you:
How do you think Detroit is going to pitch Pujol from now on? :)" I predicted that they would pitch him and pay for it; first game has proven me right. But, after listening to Leyland's mumble/jumble excuse, I can only gather the following thoughts: 1) Kenny will also try to blow him away...with no one in scoring position..He will pay for it. 2) Kenny, or someone else, will try to blow him away with runners in scoring position but with a walk not really being a choice; somebody is going to pay BIG for it. 3) They will not pitch him at all and Edmonds and Rolen will kill,or cage, the Tiger. Big puzzle for the Tigers...How do you turn a LION into a LAMB....? By even questioning himself, and his pitcher, about pitching to Pujols in the first game, Leyland has created an intangible that can only work against whatever strategy he had to defeat Saint Louis. Yes! The Cards are poised for a sweep! Ok! I will leave this blog alone; it is 1am here...Why, on a Sunday, didn't MLB program this game for the afternoon....:( Let's go Cards! Yeah, it is me, from Holland...Again..zzzzzzzzzPlay Ball!
Jeff Weaver is the master tonight; after the game Jones will be having a puking tantrum; some words cause indegistive diarreah; and mental problems as well......it is now 1:24 am here...But I am going to watch a couple of innings; i will wake up in the morning (here) to see the Cards 2-0 in front... hope Stan Musial is enjoying this:)!
Fact is that Detroit is weaker than the Mets. Did any of the pronosticating experts took that in mind? I don't think so....Albert Chen already stuck out (I lost count of his performance this post-season); tonight is Heyman wiffing on 3 pitches....Tuesday? A whole army of "Tigers in 6 games" will be eating their words; this writers really think the world has become automatised...
Good first inning, for the Cards. Rogers did know show anything; only that Encarnación can go after terrible pitches in key situations...Something we all already knew, no? Let's see what Weaver has to offer..It is late here: 02:38 hour:9
If my memory does not fail me, Weaver only wins games that he begins strong; at this moment he should not be there anymore....He doesn't seem to "have it'...But I will wait a little longer to see if the Cards respond:)
Mr. Rodgers regained a bit of control...But still he has thrown 32 pitches in 2 innings...not the signs of a dominant pitcher...I will watch the game untill Pujols nex at bat..And Rolen's at bat....I believe the Cards are going to blow Kenny out of this game before the 5th inning.
It looks like La ussa's tactic is to exhaust Kenny's stamina...Lots of pitches..St. Louis players are still relax at the plate. I think in two innings more Kenny will be out of there. Weaver seems to hve found his balance; again.
People, People. Two very good teams that.. ARE NOT FROM NEW YORK!!!! Sit down and enjoy the games. This is as good as it gets. A world series WITHOUT the YANKEES. I love both these teams. Fresh young players. Seasoned veterans that others (read YANKEES) gave up on. No matter which team wins, WE win.
Pujols was silent, Rolen was too... Edmonds? Was he playing? Kenny was able to give a 3-1 game - it was really close, but Cards offense did nothing. Evn if I'm a CARDS fan, I believe its TIGERS in 6. I can be wrong! Go CARDS!!