Ugly games can happen any time — mid-April, early August, Game Two of the National League Championship Series. Last night’s 7-1 St. Louis Cardinals loss to the San Francisco Giants was ugly. Period.
Of course, for Giants fans and the growing legion of Cardinals haters everywhere (and they are everywhere now, aren’t they?) it wasn’t. No. It was revenge after Matt Holliday’s slide. It was justification after hearing endless hype over Chris Carpenter. It was FOX’s chance to show us all — whether we wanted to see him or not — Brian Wilson in the dugout. Repeatedly.
Thankfully, it was just one game. Although now we have to wait until tomorrow afternoon for Game Three.
There’s really little more to say about the slide. You’ve seen it, over and over and over again. Holliday did say this after the game:
“In hindsight, I wish I would have started my slide a step earlier,” Holliday said. “But it was happening fast, and you’re trying to get to him so he can’t turn the double play.”
Second, Holliday said he was not trying to hurt Scutaro, who departed with a left hip injury four innings later, the result of Holliday’s slide. With concern in his voice, Holliday repeated several times that he hopes that Scutaro is all right.
“I feel bad about it,” Holliday said. “I hope he is OK.”
And that was just one part of Holliday’s rough night, as he made an error in the outfield during the fourth inning — on a ball hit by Scutaro, of course — that allowed the Giants to score.
Chris Carpenter’s night was for the most part not good either — the exception being at the plate. Carpenter also had an error in the fourth on a throw that pulled Allen Craig off first base. The Giants scored four runs that inning in what had been a 1-1 game.
So let’s look at the very few brights spots. Carp continued to show his surprising postseason slugging prowess, as he doubled in Pete Kozma to tie the game in the second.
Carlos Beltran continues to hit like crazy, as he was two for three with a double.
The bullpen for the most part did very well again. Joe Kelly continues to increase his value, once again coming into the game early and pitching a scoreless fifth. Fernando Salas pitched a scoreless sixth. Shelby Miller pitched a terrific seventh, getting both Buster Posey and Brandon Belt on called strikes and Hunter Pence to pop out. And Marc Rzepczynski retired the two batters he faced in the eighth.
Which, of course, leaves the start of the eighth inning with Miller pitching and a bases-loaded-thanks-to-yet-another-questionable-umpiring-call two-run single to Ryan Theriot (of all people — and of course he was taking Scutaro’s spot
and further seeking revenge on the cruel Cardinals) … but this was meant to focus on the positives.
Here’s another plus: the series is tied 1-1. Conventional playoff wisdom always says the visitors need to win a game on the road and the Cardinals did that Sunday. The next three are now in St. Louis at Busch Stadium, where the roaring crowds there will be a good thing.
Game Three, as mentioned above, is Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. The forecast is not necessarily looking great right now, with an 80 percent chance of rain, but hey — maybe that will mean no shadows. (Positives are everywhere if you look hard enough.) The pitching match-up is Matt Cain vs. Kyle Lohse.
So, enjoy today’s off day — and just try to forget all about last night.
A reminder: you can still enter to win a pair of Cardinals headphones through 7 p.m. Central Time tonight.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.