Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tomorrow's Heroes in the American Heartland

I do not like the fact that the St. Louis Cardinals are the Vegas odds makers 9/5 favorites in the 2013 World Series.
It's one of those strange "baseball superstitions" for me.

Like how the very first game of each baseball season in April is to me:
If the Cards lose the very first game, then they WILL BE in the post season.  If the team wins that first game, it'll be a long, disappointing, excuse-filled season for the boys from St. Lou.
(heyyah, the Az. Diamondbacks beat St. Louis, 6-2, April 1, 2013)


I remember very well, one season when I would listen to the Cardinals on KMOX, in bed (as a teen), and when I laid on my left side, the team did well:  the pitches were strikes, the opposing batted balls were outs, and close calls all went the Cardinals' way.  But when I would lay on my right side, the opposite would be true:  Cincinnati would get the calls, the Braves would pitch the shutout, whatever.

The following, BRIEF, reasoning is (lovingly lifted today) from ESPN.COM's Jayson Stark....

WHY ST. LOUIS WILL HOST A PARADE

... And here are the Top Four Reasons There Will Be a Parade in St. Louis:

1.  THIS ISN'T THE TIGERS' BULLPEN
In the ALCS, 11 of the 19 runs the Red Sox scored came with a member of the Tigers' bullpen in the game.  "Realistically, they (ST. LOUIS' BULLPEN) don't have an underbelly," said one scout. "When they get to the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, they can match up against any lineup as well as any team in baseball."

2.  BEWARE THE CARDINALS' ROTATION
After surviving a series against that fearsome Detroit rotation, almost any collection of starting pitchers would look good to the Red Sox. But the Cardinals' rotation is better than advertised, particularly with Adam Wainwright (1.57 career postseason ERA) and Michael Wacha (nine hits allowed to the past 103 hitters he's faced) lined up to pitch four of the first six games.

In fact, one AL exec who picked the Cardinals summed it up this way: "Too much Wainwright and too much Wacha."

But even Game 3 starter Joe Kelly pumps fastballs that average 94.9 mph. So there might not be a team in either league with more power arms than this one.
"To me, the way you beat Boston is big arms and big stuff," said an NL scout. "And that's what the Cardinals have, from the first inning to the ninth."

3.  MOLINA TIME
October matchups don't get much more fun than this: The Red Sox had the best stolen-base percentage (84.6) in American League history. The Cardinals allowed the fewest stolen bases (39) in either league. So can Yadier Molina control the Boston running game the way he did the running games of the Pirates and Dodgers (who stole two bases in 11 games)?

Correct Answer: Of course he can.  What else is new?


4.THE RETURN OF ALLEN CRAIG
The Cardinals have spent the past seven weeks playing without the toughest out in their lineup, Allen Craig, because of a serious foot sprain. But he'll be back in this World Series, as a DH in Boston and (at least) as a pinch-hit weapon in Games 3, 4 and 5 in St. Louis.  It's not going to be easy to go through their lineup with him back in it."

Nope. It sure isn't. So Cardinals in six.
Mark it down.

***********

No, Captain James Kirk will be a heartland hero in another 250 years or so, being born in Riverside, Iowa.

3 comments:

McGehee said...

Those first two innings were painful to watch, but it looks like the Cards are finally getting it together.

And what is it with all the beards? The Sux all seem to have them but a lot of the Cards do too? Have all the MLB players been growing beards this season?

McGehee said...

While I'm glad the Sux have stopped scoring, I'd kind of like to see some of the runs they have scored, answered...

McGehee said...

Nuts.