Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cardinals need Michael Wacha to come through again tonight

After game one of the World Series, in which the Cardinals seemed to sleep walk through the game, making several mental (and physical) errors, the Cards need a wake-up call.

Things came unraveled in the bottom of the first when Pete Kozma dropped a flip from second baseman Matt Carpenter in what could have been a double play.  The umpire, Dana DeMuth originally called the runner, Dustin Pedroia, out at second, saying Kozma dropped the ball in transition.  However, the umpires convened and overturned the call.

Although it was the right call, it begs the following questions: (1) Are the umpires going to convene everytime there's a close call and let the majority decide and (2) I don't recall the umpires convening to overturn Don Denkinger's blown call in 1985?

In any case, a double by Mike Napoli put the Cardinals in a 3-0 hole right after that play and the Cards could not muster any offense against lefty Jon Lester.

Now, the Cardinals need Michael Wacha to step up again and try to even the series.  Like it or not, the Red Sox have the home field advantage in this series (thanks Bud Selig) and, after last night's game, Sox fans are probably thinking sweep.  The Cards need a big outing from Wacha to silence the crowd and give the team some momentum before heading home to St. Louis.

Lose tonight's game and the Cardinals face a two-game deficit and the pressure will be on them to win all their home games.  Win tonight and they will have taken home field advantage away from the Red Sox.

Wacha has been up to the task so far this postseason, allowing just one run in 21 innings, including 13.2 straight scoreless.   He seems to thrive under pressure and in hostile environments--he nearly no-hit the Pirates on the road in an elimination game in the NLDS.

The Red Sox smell blood, but if Wacha shuts them down it will take some of the wind out of their sails.  In the 2004 World Series, the Red Sox scored a run in the first in each of the 4 games and put the pressure on the Cardinals.  The Cards were always in a hole that they never could climb out of.

So tonight, pay close attention to the bottom of the first inning.  If Wacha can keep the Red Sox scoreless, the Cardinals will have a chance to shift the momentum back in their favor.  But if the Sox put the Cardinals in the hole again, it could be another long night.

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