The Pirates are a young and exciting team getting their first taste of postseason baseball. The Cardinals will rely on experience to show why they are the better team.
The experience of the Cardinals team became evident in Game 1. The initial blow came in the third inning off the bat of Carlos Beltran as he delivered a three-run home run. The home run was Beltran's 15th of his postseason career, tying him with Babe Ruth for 8th place on the all-time list.
MLB (@MLB) October 3, 2013
Later in the same inning, Cardinal third baseman David Freese shot a line drive down the right-field line with the bases loaded, driving in two more runs as a third scored on a throwing error by Marlon Byrd. Freese's postseason heroics are nothing new. His young career is becoming defined by October baseball as is evidenced by his clutch hitting.
David Freese has 27 RBI in 32 career post-season games.— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 3, 2013
The Cardinals continued to push the experience factor late in the game with manager Mike Matheny deciding to take advantage of the lopsided score. With the game out of reach at 9-1, Matheny would turn to Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal to pitch the eighth and ninth innings. The goal was to get the young rookies experience on the field in the postseason atmosphere prior to using them in high-pressure situations later. Matheny acknowledged as much when talking with MLB.com's John Schlegel after the game:
Matheny said it was good to get a couple of the younger pitchers' feet wet in the opener, including closer Trevor Rosenthal, who pitched the ninth with an eight-run lead. "We have some young guys that are anxious to do their part, but their time will come," Matheny said.
The Cardinals will continue to rely on the experience of the team as they head into Game 2 today. Lance Lynn will take the mound for the team while the Pirates will send rookie hurler Gerrit Cole. Once again, the Cardinals have a pitcher that projects to be calm in an environment that he has seen before. The Pirates hurler, as quoted in the same article from MLB.com, seems to be a tad less calm:
It's going to be unbelievable," Cole said Thursday. "You're in enemy territory. The place is going to be loud. It's going to be rocking. I have no real experience to pull from, so just going to try to keep it as simple as I can and just control what I can control.
The Pirates appear to be in over their heads going into Game 2 of the NLDS against the far more experienced Cardinals. The Cinderella story that has been all over the national media may come to a close much sooner than most hoped it would.
Experience comes with time. The Pirates' time in 2013 may be fading fast.
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