NLCS Game 1: Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2, That Was Awful

greinke_nlcs_gm1I don’t even know what to tell you, honestly. That was one of the longest, most painful games I’ve ever seen in my life. You’d think having your team in the NLCS would be fun, but that was not fun. That was excruciating. It was like having a root canal done, except that your regular dentist was replaced by a far inferior backup who used to be great, while the best dentist around just hung out in reception.

That wasn’t fun. That was 4 hours and 47 minutes of awful.

I suppose we have to at least acknowledge Zack Greinke, who was outstanding, striking out 10 in eight innings — innings which may have been shutout baseball if Andre Ethier had managed to come down with Carlos Beltran‘s two-run double in the third. (An admittedly very difficult play, to be sure.) That’s the 14th consecutive start (and 17th of 18) that Greinke has allowed two or fewer ER, dating back to July, and you can’t ask for more. And of course Juan Uribe drove in the first two runs of the game, and Yasiel Puig made a wonderful inning-ending double play and…

…lord, I don’t even want to think about this. I mean, I write this site, so here I am, but know that I hate everything about tonight, because while I usually defend Don Mattingly, how is that even possible?

There was the bizarre scenario in the eighth, when Adrian Gonzalez walked to lead off the inning… and was immediately replaced by Dee Gordon. Now don’t get me wrong, Gonzalez is an atrociously slow runner. It’s just that in a tie game, in the eighth inning, with the runner not even in scoring position, the chances of Gonzalez’ spot coming up later in the game in a big spot seemed pretty good. The move becomes even more confounding when you realize that having Yadier Molina behind the plate makes stealing all the more difficult, and if you’re not going to try to steal there, well, what’s the point?

Gordon didn’t go, and was forced out when Puig bounced to second, leaving the game tied while the Dodgers had burned both one of their top hitters and their best pinch running threat. As Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register noted, “it’s not second-guessing if we said something right away, is it?”

That of course left Michael Young in to play first, and — surprise, surprise — his two plate appearances both ended in double plays, only making this one of the most damaging appearances in playoff history. Which is exactly what you’d expect.

I’m kind of glossing over the tenth inning play here when Mark Ellis tripled with one out, then was thrown out by Beltran on a Young fly to right, because there’s so much else to get to, but know this: no umpire in the world calls him safe when the ball beats him by that much, and it’s especially hard to complain since Molina arguably did get the tag on.

It just never stopped. In the 12th, Carl Crawford reached base, and (as we all knew he would) Mattingly ordered an Ellis bunt. Think pushing Crawford into scoring position isn’t so bad? Well, it is when the entire world knew it would take the bat right out of the hands of Hanley Ramirez, which it did when he was intentionally walked, and instead give it to Young, and you know how that ended.

And of course, the endless “save your closer for a save situation” choices, and while we shouldn’t gloss over the fact that the bullpen was actually good enough to get this to the 13th, waiting until Chris Withrow had put himself in a huge amount of trouble before calling on Kenley Jansen to face future Hall of Famer Beltran is just asking for a loss.

As usual, I’d like us to remember the other reasons why this goes down as a defeat, from Puig going 0-6 to the team as a whole leaving endless men on base to Nick Punto (and others) failing to do the job to get runs home. Not scoring for the final 10 innings is a pretty great way to lose the game, and almost certainly when taken as a whole is more to blame here than anything Mattingly did.

But after all that, am I going to really defend the man? Absolutely not. Not when that was so painful, and not when it was far from good choices that just didn’t go our way. Bad decisions, poorly thought out, which ended negatively.

And we get to do it all again in, oh, 14 hours. Can’t wait.

1033 comments
KMT59
KMT59

Who do we take out today?

JoeyE
JoeyE

i dont always like retaliation, and i know we cant do it now anyways, but man

deBlueProgeny
deBlueProgeny

Is this scratch due to being beaned yesterday? 

JoeyE
JoeyE

puig please be good please

ABSmileBunch
ABSmileBunch

I hope that Hanley doesn't have a cracked/broken rib though...that would likely knock him out for the whole series.


P_F_P
P_F_P

Also good luck getting all of these events into the preamble for today's threat, Mike.

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

guys stop worrying. Gordon was probably going to PR for Hanley in the 4th inning, anyway

P_F_P
P_F_P

[Seriously though I can't wait to trolololololololol if Punto goes like 3-5 or something.]

JoeyE
JoeyE

cards are the luckiest team ever

Lobo
Lobo

A Kershaw shutout will make everything ok again

JoeyE
JoeyE

the one guy we cant afford to lose is hanley. we could lose  puig or Adrian because we have MY and SVS. but hanley, ugh

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

cant tell if urine or all the #moisture from your anti-winning boners

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

God. People calling Hanley a wuss because he won't play is tiresome.  

deBlueProgeny
deBlueProgeny

Fuck. They did it on purpose, and I dont believe otherwise.

Lobo
Lobo

@JoeyE  He looked so bad at the plate last night

Lobo
Lobo

@Purple Drank Speaking of which, you know what would have been a nice situation to PR for Gordon?  WHEN MELLIS WAS AT THIRD WITH ONE OUT

Technogit
Technogit

They created their own luck when they hit Hanley.

JoeyE
JoeyE

@Lobo so much pressure but he pretty much has to go 9 scoreless and pray we get juts 1 run

DBrim
DBrim moderator

@EephusBlue It sucks, but if he can't swing the bat he's not useful.

P_F_P
P_F_P

@Lobo I understand the hindsight of wanting to PR there, but it's Ellis, he's not exactly slow.

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@Disgruntled Goat @EephusBlue Speaking of, I had to unfollow Greg Zakwin. He kept retweeting all these moronic tweets by people. There is a reason I dont follow those people. I hate when their stupidity is forced into my time line

ABSmileBunch
ABSmileBunch

@^<<**(chị yêu)**>>^ @ABSmileBunch @^<<**(chị yêu)**>>^ Great...something new to worry about...my comment was based on the fact that a couple of weeks ago, I was coughing due to bronchitis and (self-diagnosing here) I strained an intercostal muscle (mild even) and it was sooooo painful, I could barely move without hurting it and I couldn't take deep breaths either...I couldn't imagine having to swing a baseball bat with it (not that I would ever have to do it). So I imagine a cracked rib would be multiple times worse, or at least last longer than the pain I experienced.

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@ABSmileBunch @^<<**(chị yêu)**>>^ broken ribs are incredibly painful and most patients refuse deep inspiration. lack of proper inhalation/exhalation can be prime setting for infection. it happens quite often

Lobo
Lobo

@PuntoForPresident (PuigForPrimeMinister) @Lobo He wasn't available at that point due to PRing for Adrian in the 8th.  But he would have been perfect there.  You just need 1 run, a sac fly will score the run.  Put in your fastest guy so that the sac fly doesn't have to be as deep