Thanks to FOX and the World Series, I have finally gotten a chance to regularly watch the Cardinals up here in Chicagoland.
Here is what I've learned about them, so far:
1. The Cardinals cannot hit left handers
With the exception of Craig Breslow, who gave up 3 runs (2 earned) in 0.1 innings in his lone appearance of the Series, the Cardinals have struggled against the Red Sox lefties.
Jon Lester has limited the Cardinals to just one run in 15.1 IP, to earn the win in games 1 and 5, while Felix Doubront has pitched 4.2 innings allowing just 1 run in two games, earning the win in game 4.
With right handers John Lackey and Jake Peavy scheduled to start games 6 and 7, if necessary, don't be surprised to see Doubront come out of the pen to spell Lackey, should he falter, and Lester may be an option for Sox manager John Farrell in game 7.
Bottom line, the Cardinals need to score some runs against these two righties early and often, because they might not get much of a chance after that.
2. The Cardinals should not pitch to David Ortiz EVER
Ortiz is hitting an incredible .733 for the series and is the likely MVP no matter the outcome. He has two homers and 6 rbis so far and has shown no signs of slowing up.
The Cardinals inexplicably pitched to Ortiz in the first inning last night with a base open and a runner in scoring position and he made them pay with an rbi double.
If the Cards do not throw another strike to Ortiz for the remainder of the series and still lose, I will be happy knowing that at least "Big Papi" didn't beat us (again).
3. Adam Wainwright is human
Cardinals ace, Adam Wainwright, has had a series to forget, allowing 8 runs (6 earned) in his two starts and earning the loss in both games.
Most of that damage came in game one, when Wainwright gave up 5 runs in the first two innings. He was much better last night, giving up just one run through 6 innings. However, he came unglued in the 7th, giving up two more runs and the Cardinals offense could not do anything against Lester, thus sealing their fate.
4. The Cardinals have been sloppy
Whether it be the errors by Pete Kozma that opened the flood gates in game one, the dropped pop up between Yadier Molina and Wainwright (also in game one) or the pick off of Kolten Wong to end game 4 (with Carlos Beltran at the plate), the Cardinals have been sloppy.
On the flip side, the Cardinals won game two due to a throwing error by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and won game 3 thanks to an obstruction call.
Overall, it has kinda evened out, but it makes you wonder what might have been if Kozma had made that play in the first in game one. Would it have changed the outlook of the whole series?
5. Michael Wacha
All eyes will be on rookie Michael Wacha tomorrow night.
Wacha has been excellent this postseason, winning all four of his starts, but a win tomorrow night could elevate Wacha into legendary status.
Wacha has a chance to be the hero and lead the Cardinals to a decisive game 7. If he shuts down the Red Sox and the Cards manage to win game 7, he will become the stuff of legend. People will talk about him in the same way they remember David Freese and game 6 of the 2011 World Series.
The series isn't over yet, but the Cardinals certainly have their backs against the wall. If they somehow manage to win two straight in Boston, people will talk about their amazing comeback for years to come. But it has to start tomorrow night with Wacha.