If you're a Cardinals fan who followed them from opening day this year through the second game of the World Series, you know about the bouncing ball that has been the bullpen. Well, the woes reared their ugly heads Thursday night in St. Louis.
Speaking of ugly heads, what’s the deal with the hole in Ron Washington’s Afro? The brother looks like Bozo the baseball manager clown, but his haters have to back off clowning him.
The media and some fans were all over his decision-making in the first game. Among several moves that some displeased people voiced, they criticized his move to keep Josh Hamilton in the third spot.
If Hambone had been moved down in the lineup then maybe the Rangers lose the game. He ended up being in the perfect spot to drive a huge run in the top of the ninth inning.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, need to lift their heads in order go get him and the other Rangers hitters out tonight in Arlington, Texas. Washington's team will be at home and ready to feast on home-cooked meals in the form of Cardinals pitching.
The Cardinals are still cooking and aren’t out of it. They have been outstanding on the road this postseason against both Milwaukee and Philadelphia. Here are five ways the Redbirds can bounce back and reclaim their own advantage.
David "Deep" Freese needs to hit a home run and he should be able to do it. In the first place, it’ll be hotter in Texas and the ball will travel.
Also, with a designated hitter in the lineup, the Cardinals should unleash hot-hitting Allen Craig on the Rangers.
Albert Pujols is still swinging a hot bat and I believe he’ll have a big third game.
While everyone boasts about the Rangers’ lineup, and deservedly so, the Cardinals were the No. 1 offensive team in the NL. Now, they need to start showing it. I believe they’ll have at least two excellent run-scoring games in Arlington.
The Redbirds only need to win one game out of three in Texas to reclaim the home field.
Maybe heating up means letting Jon Jay cool down with an off day. The youngster has a bright future in MLB, but he’s been struggling in the postseason.
When he struggled in the regular season, LaRussa gave him a brief respite. In response to the R&R, Jay bounced back strong.
He should continue to let his strong Afro grow, but it should be on the bench in Game 3. Skip Schumacher should patrol center field for one game, if he's healthy enough.
Speaking of health, Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson must display his sick fastball up and inside the strike zone. His "slurve" should do its best Bob Gibson impersonation.
Gibson struck out 17 Detroit Tigers in one game during the 1968 World Series and etched his name in baseball history forever. If Jackson can post a double digit strike total for his game, it’ll be all good for Jackson and the Redbirds.
Nick Punto didn’t get a bunt down and the Redbirds big bats failed to drive in runs when they had chances. They have to take better advantage of these situations.
Being on the road should help them focus more. St. Louis has been an outstanding road team in the postseason. They closed both the Phillies and the Brewers out on the road. They won’t have a problem beating the Rangers in Arlington, but they must execute much better.
The Rangers will be looking to do what they do best to excite their crowd—hit home runs and drive a ton of people across the plate to score. Executing will allow the Redbirds to match them.
Finally, I'll have to say that the Redbirds have been too laid back for me, instead of showing they desperately want it more than the Texas Rangers.
This is the World Series. The cool, calm and coy approach should be thrown out of the window for the remainder of the season. Someone has to show some fire and desperation hustle.
For instance, I thought Rafael Furcal could have laid out for the Ian Kinsler pop fly in the top of the ninth inning.
The Rangers played harder. It showed with their incredible defense up the middle including the eye-popping double play initiated by Elvis Andrus to rob St. Louis of a run.
In closing, don't rob yourselves of some great entertainment. Catch me on the next edition of "Lake Cruise Writes the World Series."
Contact Lake Cruise: Lakecruise@att.net