So far the Cardinals have followed the ‘scrappy underdog’ playbook perfectly. Split on the road, win at Home. They could even look on today as a day off, but that would be a mistake.
When you’re winning you don’t want to give your opponents a chance. First of all, why work harder than you have to? By closing out now you get extra rest to straighten out your rotation and your Bullpen and heal up.
Also it’s fairer to your opponent. I think I’ve told you about my ex-brother-in-law who liked to pile up insurmountable leads and then wait until you were close enough to finish you off. Let’s start again at even you jerk.
Finally, I’m not sure it wouldn’t be less painful for Giants fans. I keep thinking about this one kid in the stands couldn’t have been more than 12 or 13 years old, wearing his rally cap like his Dad and watching on the verge of tears as the runs ticked down.
When you’re that age it seems like forever.
But we’re still 2 games at Busch away and if they head back to AT&T Park with the Cards down 3 – 2 needing a sweep not a split anything could happen.
That’s why they play the games.
Starting tonight for the Cardinals is Adam Wainwright (14 – 13, 3.94 ERA) facing Tim Lincecum (10 – 15, 5.18 ERA) of the Giants. Beltran will sit to rest last night’s injury. You can tell the Giants think this game is important because they’ve shuffled the line up moving Posey to bat 3rd and Pence down to 6th.
Lincecum is an interesting story–
Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports: He was the game’s best pitcher. He is now the guy whom the Giants sent into relief to start Barry Zito. This one start will not answer the question of who Lincecum will be – a washout whose league-worst 5.18 ERA indicates the beginning of a quick and painful downfall or the victim of a bad season bound to recover – nor is it trying to. What’s material in the postseason is how someone is playing now. It is a season for small-sample-size guesses, for gut feelings – for a marriage of numbers and scouting. And based as much on the latter as the former, Bochy is convinced that the Lincecum who revealed himself over the past two weeks as a crack relief pitcher – 8 1/3 innings, one run, one walk, nine strikeouts – is more real than the up-and-down mess who time and again followed one good start with a handful of bad ones.
Gwenn Knapp, Sports on Earth: After losing Game 3 to the Cardinals, Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced that, yes, the most decorated player on his team would be promoted from middle relief. Bochy had no other reasonable choice. The other options, Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner, had not delivered much beyond anxiety in their postseason appearances. There’s more to it than a default, though. Lincecum seduced Bochy. He beguiled his way back into the rotation with three stalwart relief appearances that blurred the memories of a 10-15 regular season, a 5.18 ERA and two wan final starts. One can assume that he barely made the playoff roster at all — who carries five starters in the postseason? — except for the quirks that allow him to relieve in a way that few starters can, and a history that demanded his presence. The Giants didn’t owe it to Lincecum to keep him for the playoffs. They owed it to themselves.
On the other hand-
Jayson Stark, ESPN.com: So what won’t those St. Louis Cardinals put themselves through to win a postseason baseball game, huh? That whole one-strike-away thing? Mastered. That death-defying, six-runs-behind-and-live-to-tell-about-it act? Done. That fabled infield-fly-rule magic? Been there. Done it. And that old gong-the-starter-in-the-second-inning trick? Perfected that one, too. So you know all that nutty stuff that happened to them in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday? Why the heck would that be a big deal? A 3½-hour rain delay in the bottom of the seventh inning? . . . A starting pitcher who allows 12 baserunners in 5? innings? . . . The scary sight of Carlos ‘Mr. October’ Beltran grabbing his knee and leaving the game in the second inning? . . . And ripping through the bullpen before the raindrops and then having to ask the closer to rip off the first six-out save of his life? No problema.
And lest you think I’m getting all soft and sentimental-
Junior League Games will be carried on TBS, Senior on Faux.