The St. Louis Cardinals’ hitters need to shake the rust, and fast.
With a day off in the series, St. Louis would’ve been wise to spend the day in the cage ahead of Game 6 Wednesday in Boston. However, as Los Angeles Times reporter Bill Shaikin noted, airplane problems made that a little difficult on Tuesday:
Matheny: #Cardinals have been on plane "for a couple hours" because of mechanical difficulties, backup plane en route if needed.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 29, 2013
St. Louis is hitting just .218 and has been outscored 21-13 in its three losses to Boston through the first five games of the World Series.
Carlos Beltran, the man who had waited 36 years for this opportunity, his first World Series appearance, is hitting 4-for-13. Beltran led the Cardinals with 24 home runs during the regular season, but he has been unable to take Red Sox pitchers yard.
Then there’s David Freese, the St. Louis native who turned into an October legend during the 2011 World Series with his extra-inning, walk-off home run in Game 6 against the Rangers. He is hitting a cool .200 against Boston.
At 5-for-22 through the first five games of the World Series, Matt Carpenter isn’t faring much better.
Allen Craig is leading the charge for the Cardinals by hitting .333 in the series, but he’s been hobbled by an injury to his left foot.
In Game 4, Craig hit a line drive off the wall in right field, usually an easy double, but because of his injury, he was limited to just a single. Two batters later, with Beltran at the plate, pinch runner Kolten Wong was thrown out, ending the game.
The situation is so dire for St. Louis that despite Craig’s inability on the basepaths, manager Mike Matheny elected to dress Craig, who can’t run, in place of Matt Adams, who can’t hit, in Game 5.
Who will step up at the plate for the Cardinals in Game 6?
Craig went 0-for-3 in the Game 5 loss, while Adams pinch-hit for pitcher Carlos Martinez in the eighth inning and struck out.
Ortiz went 3-for-4 on Monday night, helping the Red Sox to a 3-1 win. Ortiz is a lock to be named World Series MVP should the Red Sox win their third title in 10 years.
According to Shira Springer of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox have begun calling Ortiz “Cooperstown” because according to catcher David Ross, “he does Hall of Fame stuff.”
The one thing the Cardinals do have going for them? They roughed up Red Sox starter John Lackey for three runs and five hits in Game 2 to even the series at 1-1.
Lackey gets the ball for Boston in Game 6.
Beltran led the way that night, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. It might be up to the veteran to get it done Wednesday if he wants a shot at that elusive ring.