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Friday, October 25, 2013

The Count is 1-1

These MLB players are getting more and more clever at skirting the PED tests. Steroids? HGH? Female fertility drugs? Deer antler spray? Nonsense. Rookie Michael Wacha and the young Cardinals pitchers have good, old-fashioned ice water in their veins.


Through four starts in the 2013 postseason, 22-year-old Wacha has a 4-0 record and an ERA of 1.00. Wacha’s win last night at Fenway Park is just the latest in a long line of early-career postseason conquests. His playoff starts have come in high-pressure situations.

Last night, a Cardinals loss would have put his team down 0-2 in the best-of-seven series heading back to St. Louis. He pitched seven scoreless innings in the closeout Game 6 against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS and took a shutout into the 7th inning in Game 2 of that series. Facing elimination at the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 4 of the NLDS, Wacha pitched into the 8th inning and only gave up one run.

Wacha has been as cool as they come. 1


It’s impressive to have one rookie who can live up to the moment of a critical World Series game on the road. When a team has three, age 23 or younger, who can chew up all nine innings and win, the windows of opportunity to beat them are small, more like doggie doors. Not only did 22-year-old relief pitcher Carlos Martinez and 23-year-old closer Trevor Rosenthal finish what Wacha started, they allowed the other members of the bullpen to rest, available to be fresh in case of a tougher managerial chess match later in the series.    

Martinez = "Money" in Game 2. Catcher Yadier Molina, right, agrees. 2

As flawless as Red Sox starter Jon Lester was in Game 1 and as bafflingly brilliant as Wacha continued to be in Game 2, the difference maker was comedic ineptitude in the field by the losing team. The Cardinals were able to take the lead for good on double throwing errors in the 7th inning by relief pitcher Craig Breslow and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The ball ended up in the stands and the Cardinals ended up with a two run late inning lead. The Cardinals’ defensive butterflies in Game 1 put them out of the game almost as soon as it started.

One error is bad; Salty is about to make it much worse. The phrase "cut your losses" is cliche' for a reason.


Games 3, 4, and 5 will all be played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. There is no guarantee that this series will go back to Boston. St. Louis not only gained confidence in Game 2, they took away Boston’s home field advantage. A playoff series doesn’t “really” start until the home team loses. It’s on!


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