Blog Entry

Grading Game 2 of the World Series

Posted on: October 21, 2011 12:59 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 1:37 am

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Another game, another chance to hand out grades (I was a student teacher once upon a time, after all). Let's dive in without any further ado.

The starting pitchers from both teams were pretty maligned heading into the series after a collectively brutal performance in the LCS round. Considering these two teams sport some of the most powerful offenses in baseball, we were going to see a slugfest, right? Wrong. Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia was dominant, giving his ballclub seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits and one walk while striking out seven. If he pitches like that in his second turn this series -- assuming there is one -- the Cardinals will have some real confidence in him. Colby Lewis also turned things around for his Rangers. No Texas starting pitcher had worked into the seventh inning this postseason until Lewis did so Thursday night. His final line: 6 2/3 innings, four hits and one earned run. It's worth noting he wasn't on the hill when his one charged run scored.

The Rangers' defense. Elvis Andrus was incredible, but an Ian Kinsler error could have really burned the Cardinals in the fourth inning. He booted a groundball off Lance Berkman's bat, meaning the Cardinals had a runner on base with Matt Holliday and David Freese to follow. That was absolutely playing with fire in a game where runs were at a major premium. Sure enough, though, the defense is what got them out of the inning -- when Andrus and Kinsler teamed up for a beautiful double play, keeping the score tied at zero.

The Rangers' offense. They were asleep for eight innings, and it appeared the lack of offense would send the Rangers home trailing 2-0 in the series. At that point, I had the Rangers' penciled in for an F. But the game wasn't over yet, and Texas did something no one has done in a while: Get to Cardinals (unofficial) closer Jason Motte. Kinsler's hit to start things off was a bit lucky, but that's how the game is played. Then, Kinsler showed some serious guts and stole second on Yadier Molina. Andrus followed with a single and consecutive sacrifice flies won the Rangers the game. They won with pitching and defense, but the offense salvaged enough in the ninth to get a C.

It's hard to blame Jason Motte for Kinsler's single, again, but Motte also allowed the big hit to Andrus and also didn't keep Kinsler on his toes prior to the paramount stolen base. "We steal bases on the pitcher," Andrus said in the locker room after the game. And he was right. Yadier Molina couldn't have possibly made a better throw, but it wasn't enough to get Kinsler. An out there likely ends any threat for the Rangers in the ninth, and sends the series to Texas with a 2-0 Cardinals lead.

Anyone who has read me regularly knows I often call Albert Pujols the best player in baseball, so keep in mind this grade is relative. It was an "F" game for Pujols' lofty standards. He went 0-for-4 and then made a pretty costly mistake in the ninth inning. He failed to cut off Jon Jay's throw home cleanly, and that allowed Andrus to advance to second base. That meant Andrus was able to get to third on Josh Hamilton's sac fly and then score on Michael Young's.

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Since: Aug 27, 2010
Posted on: October 21, 2011 4:10 pm

Grading Game 2 of the World Series

Despite what the TV commentators kept repeating ad nauseum, the error in the 9th should be assigned to Jay for the terrible throw from right field, which would have bounced halfway between 3rd and home if Pujols hadn't gotten to it.  Yes, Pujols might have made a great play to run down a ball that was way to his left and tailing away from him -- but he should not have had to make a great play.  It should have been a routine throw to the cut off man.  If Jay makes the throw, the game goes into extra innings.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 8:36 am

Grading Game 2 of the World Series

As the author said, it was a relative issue... an F game by Albert's standards.  Man, is reading for content so hard?

Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: October 21, 2011 1:36 am

Grading Game 2 of the World Series

Yeah, it's pretty hard to come up with them, especially for only a single game. Thanks for the feedback!

- Matt

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 1:03 am

Grading Game 2 of the World Series

I say we make a new rule. 

 --> You can't grade anyone an "F", if they play in the freakin World Series!!!  

Other than that, great article.....Thx

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