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NLCS Game 7 Diary: The Quest for Peace

In Baseball, Long form on October 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Like modern-day Romans and Carthaginians, Crim Del Harris writers Ian Brickey and Sam Sutton love their baseball teams and (for the next week or so) hate each other.


IB: I shouldn’t be greedy. I should appreciate 2011 for what it was: an amazing, beautiful and unexpected gift. I should be thankful that I’ve seen not one, but two World Series Championships come to St. Louis — some teams play for decades without winning the last game of the season. I should be content, but 2011 was a year ago, this is a different team and I am spoiled. To quote the Smiths: Please, please, please let me get what I want.

The Cardinals and the Giants are in the same position: win or go home. Thus far, the NLCS has been a lopsided affair. Yes, the series is tied 3-3, but five of the six games have been relative blowouts — in Games 2, 3, 5 and 6, the losing team has been kept to one run or less. Accordingly, it’s interesting that Game 7 looks like it could be a pitcher’s duel. Matt Cain and Kyle Lohse have arguably been their team’s most consistent starters this season, and both are playoff veterans. Expect quality performances from both.

Runs will be at a premium tonight. I wouldn’t be surprised if the first team to score goes on to take the game. The Cardinals have been susceptible to giving up big innings, surrendering 12 runs in the fourth inning through the first six games. My parting suggestion: skip from the third to the fifth inning.

Warmups are almost over. It’s nearly game time. Come on, Cardinals. Blast that pump up music.

The Game

You only needed to watch the first two innings of this one to know where it was going. Matt Cain was good, but not great. Luckily for the Giants, all they needed was good. San Francisco chased Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse after two innings, putting up five runs in the second. The Cardinals power outage continued, and, powered by the broken shards of Hunter Pence’s bat, the Giants cruised to an easy victory to claim their 22nd pennant in franchise history.

Final Score: Giants 9, Cardinals 0—

SS: It’s all over, and the better team won.

St. Louis is a deadly squad. They really should have won this series – and I don’t mean to pour salt on the wound – but shoddy fielding (KOZMA!!!!), weak pitching and questionable bullpen management cost them. Not to mention, they just didn’t hit in any of the last three games.

The Giants exploited the Cardinals’ mistakes and refused to make any of their own. Pandoval and Scutaro hit well in clutch situations, local-boy-made-good Brandon Crawford saved two runs with a leaping grab at shortstop, and Hunter Pence developed the power to hit the same pitch three times in one swing. Love that weirdo.

It’s been fun Brickey, this sums up how I feel about the NLCS.

See you next season.

IB: Sometimes, I hate being right.

This has been me since 11 p.m. last night:

It’s never fun knowing that you’re going to lose. It’s even worse when you know by the second inning.

Every fan of the St. Louis Cardinals became Cassandras of baseball last night, knowing which team would be celebrating after the last pitch had been thrown, and none of their cheers and none of their hopes — and especially none of the players in red — could do anything to change it.

Baseball can be a heartbreaking game. Sometimes, it can even be cruel. But I have never seen a baseball series that twisted the knife more often and with such apparent glee as the 2012 NLCS: Marco Scutaro becoming Ty Cobb, Ryan Vogelsong pitching like he has a mantle laden with Cy Young Awards, Hunter Pence breaking his bat just enough to give Pete Kozma PTSD.

I’m sure fans of the San Francisco Giants will call the series’s last three games poetic justice or karmic retribution or some other equally nonsensical thing that we as fans say to make sense of a game that so often appears to be capricious. But St. Louis will use a different phrase: abject disappointment.

The Giants played better than the Cardinals, and they will advance to the World Series. They pitched better, they hit better and they fielded better. But I won’t say they wanted it more. Someone has to win, and someone has to lose, and this time, the Cardinals lost.

So I’ll put away my jersey for now — my season is over. But I know, come spring, it will be right where I left it.


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