Two men reach second. One leadoff man reaches and is erased by a double play. Eight and one-third shutout innings. Derek Holland dominated last night. He gave the worn-out Texas bullpen exactly what it needed – a day off. The only guy called upon by Ron Washington to pitch out of the bullpen last night was Neftali Feliz, who happened to be the only bullpen guy that didn’t pitch in Game 3.
The Cardinals, based on their quotes post-game, were very complimentary of Holland’s effort. There was some grousing amongst fans about the strike zone, fanned by Holliday and Freese’s reactions when they were called out looking on a pitch that may have been inside, but that wasn’t a topic of discussion post-game from the participants on the field.
Edwin Jackson worked a high-wire act for the first five innings, allowing three hits but five walks. He made enough pitches to limit the damage to one run through those 5 innings. Jon Jay got a workout in CF, however, retreating to the track or banging into the wall to make 3 or 4 good plays and keep the game close. But, as with all tightrope walkers, one misstep can be fatal. Jackson didn’t take that final step, Mitchell Boggs did; Mike Napoli’s 3-run HR basically ended the drama.
So that’s that. Moving on.
Of course all games this deep into the post season are huge. Game 5 will be yet another one. CJ Wilson pitched well in Game 1, if you remember; the Cardinals turned a HBP, double, and single into the two runs they got off him. Not to mention, he’s due for a superlative performance this post-season. Many Cardinals fans believe St Louis has a distinct advantage in this game because of Chris Carpenter. While I agree Carp is the more accomplished starting pitcher, I don’t believe there’s that large a differential between the two hurlers; and what difference there is will be mitigated by this game occurring in Texas.
Of course there’s no other Cardinal pitcher I’d rather have on the mound for this game. Carpenter gives the Cardinals their best chance to return to Busch up 3 games to 2. It goes without saying both managers should approach this game like it’s game 7. For the Rangers, they have their most clutch post-season pitcher on tap for Game 6 in
Corey Lidle Colby Lewis. For the Cardinals, they return home and have Jamie Garcia, who threw a gem at the Rangers in Game 2.
The best Game 5 I’ve ever seen was Andy Pettite’s 1-0 shut-out win over Atlanta in 1996. Note that he won that game on the road. Here’s hoping tonight’s game lives up to that one.