Split Decision

After two games in St. Louis, the World Series is tied 1-1.  The Cardinals took game 1, 3-2, an Allen Craig pinch-hit single drove in the deciding run.  It looked like deja vu last night when Craig had another pinch-hit single in the 7th inning to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.  But, for the first time this postseason, Tony LaRussa’s moves didn’t pay off.  After Jason Motte allowed singles to Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, La Russa lifted his closer, who had previously allowed only one baserunner in 9 innings this postseason.  With Josh Hamilton at bat, La Russa inserted veteran lefty Arthur Rhodes.  Hamilton pulled Rhodes pitch deep enough into right field to allow Kinsler plenty of time to score from third.  Michael Young followed with a deep sac-fly of his own, giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead, that would hold up for the final.  Both teams received surprising, dominant starts from Colby Lewis and Jaime Garcia.  There were a multitude of events that took place during the pivotal 9th inning.  The gutsiest move, was the first one, a stolen base by Ian Kinsler.  Kinsler beat the tag by a fraction of a second, but all of Fox’s replays showed Kinsler was in safe, and it was the right call.  The other event that will be highly examined, is Albert Pujols, a gold-glove first baseman, grazing the throw to the plate with his glove, essentially allowing Elvis Andrus to reach second base on a single.  This sets up LaRussa removing the flame-throwing Motte for the soft-tossing, veteran Rhodes.  Obviously, the numbers say go lefty-on-lefty, but Josh Hamilton is a former MVP, and among the best hitters in the game.  On top of that, he is clearly injured.  Hamilton’s groin has been bothering him and he has been unable to get his lower body into his swing.  Instead of challenging Hamilton with pure heat from Motte, LaRussa opted for lefty-lefty, but all Hamilton had to do against Rhodes was get the bat on the ball and make contact, exactly what he did.  Now the series heads to Arlington, where the Rangers scored more runs than any other team at their home ballpark.  Kyle Lohse will take the mound for the Cardinals tomorrow, and he has done nothing but struggle this postseason, going 0-2 with a 7.45 ERA, giving up a .310 batting average to opponents.  It could spell doom if the Cardinals were to fall behind early on the road, especially in Arlington, where the crowds have been fired up.  The Rangers will send lefty Matt Harrison to the hill.  Harrison has very good, but somewhat inconsistent stuff.  Tomorrow is definitely a chance for the bats to break out and for some runs to be scored.  I’m picking Texas to win tomorrow’s game, but the Cardinals only need 1 of 3 to send it back to St. Louis, and although I don’t think it will be tomorrow, I do think the series will return to St. Louis.

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