October 8, 2009

Must win, already?

A 5-3 Cards' loss last night may not have been as big a difference as the Twins' 5-run loss to the Yanks, or the Rox 4-run loss to the Phils. But the "L" cost just as much for the Redbirds ... and ...

in a short (best 3-of-5) series, it creates a must win situation.

Why? Because no ML team can afford to go get down 2-0 and put them self in a situation where they have to win three in a row to keep their playoff hopes alive.

A win Thursday night, however, would put the Cards in a pretty good spot in their portion of the NLDS.

Adam Wainwright, with a regular season record of 19-8, is arguably the best hurler in the NL. The Dodgers will counter with Clayton Kershaw, much better than his 8-8 regular season tally might suggest.

The Cardinals' bat are doing okay -- just, okay, so far. The big letdown was the paltry performance of Chris Carpenter. It happens. It just sucks a bit more when it happens in post-season.

A plus from last night's loss may have been a natural occurrence of usual game strategy, which is that the Cards' bullpen, while working several arms, didn't expend that crew, and didn't call for closer Ryan Franklin to toss a single pitch. For the Dodgers, well, as expected, they used some of their best, and used them up. (If I was Joe Torre, I'd have done the same thing under the "Win today philosophy.)

Cards hitting is about to notch it up. Manager Tony La Russa is hoping the Dodgers' Furcal will cool down a bit at the same time.
I like the Cards' chances tonight. But what counts for way more is whether the Cards like the Cards' chances.
photo by chet novak