By all accounts the St Louis Cardinals are in the driver’s seat. The Mets are limping home in dire need of two straight wins to extend their magical season. The Mets may be groping for an “Easy Button” right now, but sometimes the fickle Baseball Gods have other things in mind.
Oct 25, 1986. The last time a postseason Game 6 was played at Shea
lot of people had written the Mets off in the 10th inning of that game, too, until destiny jumped off the bat of Mookie Wilson and dribbled between Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner‘s legs. Thus were the legacies of two men defined by a singular moment.
There is a strangely odd connection between the Game Six of 20 years ago and the one that will be played Wednesday night: Mets hero Wilson’s son, Preston Wilson, is playing – for the other team.
Who is Mookie rooting for? His son, of course. Blood is thicker than water. Mookie says you shouldn’t even have to ask. Preston remembers watching that game at the age of 12 and hopes he’ll have some happy Game Six memories as well.
Now the lines are drawn and Mookie’s dreams and the Mets’ hopes are no longer one. Do you believe in fate? And if you do, was it fate that gave the Mets a win or Boston’s fate to lose? Was fate with Mookie or the Mets? Does it cross over generations? Who will it tap on the shoulder tonight?
OK OK OK. Scott Spiezio is the key to the NLCS. I was not wrong. I misspoke. Read My Lips.
Hat tip to Scotty Rolen who found himself on base twice last night with a walk and a hit and made two very studly plays at 3rd. He seemed more comfortable on the base paths with each trip after First Base coach Dave McKay pointed out 2nd. This is the Scott Rolen we all know and sometimes don’t loathe. I’m sure he’s reading my blog, and that’s what lit a fire under his a**. 🙂
The Cardinals were not as good as Trachsel was bad; but Jeff Suppan, who is a friend of a friend I haven’t met yet, looked like Superman last night. It’s only ONE game, Cardinal fans. The biggest mistake the Redbirds can make is thinking they have the Mets exactly where they want them.
My series breakdown goes something like this:
Game 1 – Jeff Weaver pitches like Chris Carpenter. Glavine is on in the first, but starts to fall behind. Cards line out hard 4 times in critical situations with runners on base. (So, boo me. It’s true.)
Game 2– Chris Carpenter pitches like Jeff Weaver. Cards offense wakes up late and bails him out. Billy Wagner has rare meltdown. Cards’ bullpen, considered shaky going into the postseason, pitches like Trevor Hoffman.
Game 3 – Jeff Suppan pitches like Kenny Rogers, hits like Hank Aaron.
Explained: Cardinals get the game they expected from Carpenter out of Weaver and the game they expected from Weaver out of Carpenter. The steady, deliberate Suppan shows up. They really should be up 3-0. If they can get Reyes, Weaver or Carpenter to pitch like Suppan then they should feel pretty good. But there’s another team that’s gonna have something to say about that.
Tony LaRussa finally figured out that Scott Rolen is the key to this series. LaRussa, who tends to over analyze a situation so much that he has to wake you up to let you know what he’s decided, started Scott Spiezio at 3rd instead of Rolen last night.
Looky there. Rolen’s replacement, Scott Spiezio, went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI
including a game tying triple. That’s twice as many hits in one game as Rolen has in 4 postseason games this year.
LaRussa said one of the hardest things he has ever done is telling Rolen he wasn’t in the line up. The decision supposedly surprised and frustrated Rolen.*
I’m going to try and make this easier for them both:
Scott Rolen, 3B
.071, 1 for 14, 5 games, career postseason: .169, 22 games, 13 for 77
Postseason History :
2004 0-12, 9-20, 0-15
2002 forced out of game 2 of NLDS collision with Cintron, DNP
Scott Spiezio, 3B
.300, 3 for 10, 4 games, career postseason .323, 20 games, 21 for 65
Post Season History:2002 Ended 2002 post-season with 19 RBI, tying the all-time post-season record set by Cleveland’s Sandy Alomar in 1997…Also tied Marty Barrett’s (1986) highest BA with runners in scoring position mark for a post-season (.688)…Was 11-for-16 with runners in scoring position…Posted four, 3-RBI efforts during ’02 playoffs… Started Angels Game 6 comeback with three-run HR to right-field after an eight-pitch at-bat with one out in the 7th inning off the Giants’ Felix Rodriguez…Spiezio’s bat from his 3-run home run in Game 6, when the Angels came back from the largest deficit ever in a potential Series-deciding game, was sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown…Posted eight RBI in World Series…Tallied three RBI in Game 3 at Pac Bell, including a two-run triple…Became 11th player to play in the World Series following a father who played for a WS champion (his father played for 1964 and ’67 titlists with St. Louis)…Posted two HR in ALCS, including a solo shot in Game 5…Along with Adam Kennedy, marked the first time in post-season history two players collected two hits in an inning (7th inn. of Game 5 of ALCS)…He and Kennedy drove in 10 of Angels’ 26 runs in AL in Angels 9-6 win…Collected three hits and three RBI in Game 2, including solo home run off Andy Pettitte (2nd inn.)…All told, hit .327 (18/55) with 10 runs, four doubles three HR and 19 RBI in ’02 post-season.
- Since I have been known to be hard on those poor, over-worked umpires who have to keep track of SO many things at once, I’d like to credit them for making the right call on Spiezio’s non-homer last night. Hey, everybody gets lucky now and then.
- The sleeping giant that is Albert Pujols woke up and collected two hits and scored 3 runs last night. Mets fans are hoping he just stopped by on his way to the bathroom and will promptly go back to sleep.
- Can anyone stop the freight train that is the Detroit Tigers right now? Other than the Kansas City Royals?
* It has been pointed out to me (by my cousin who lives in Rolen’s hometown of Jasper, IN) and duly noted that I’m being too hard on Scott. After all, Scotty has a sore shoulder and all. It’s just that Rolen’s history is that if he ISN’T injured during the postseason then he doesn’t really play very well. There are some players who step up at crunch time (Spiezio) and others (Rolen) who can’t or don’t for one reason or another. I REALLY hope that Rolen proves me wrong the rest of the NLCS. And cousin, I promise the next time I say he s***s I’ll be nice about it.
In an attempt to savor the sweet taste in my mouth a little longer, I got up first thing this morning to check some blogs and see what Yankee fans were saying about their team’s 4th early exit from postseason play in the past 6 years.
Man, it sure is quiet around here. Most of them stopped blogging after Game 1, apparently.
But I did find this blog entry posted after the loss to Kenny Rogers the night before:
"Well what else can be said about last night’s game that hasn’t already been said? Do you really need me to tell you about how after each K our guys took, i felt like someone had stabbed me in the chest and was turning the knife around slowly. Yeah, i know. Pretty graphic. I apologize if that image disturbs anyone. Perhaps its better to say after each lifeless at-bat our guys had, i felt like i was drowning deeper and deeper in quicksand.
It’s hard to imagine anything would hurt more than that year a deuce of yrs ago…that unfortunate series that shall not be mentioned, but as the text messages from my gloating Mets’ fan friends and calls from my friends in Detroit poured in, i realize this really could give that year a run for its money.
Yesterday’s loss hurt so much, i just turned off the TV afterwards and went to bed and cried myself to sleep."
I hope she’s going to be okay. Repeat after me, slowly and like you mean it: "There’s… always… next… year." Gets easier every fall, doesn’t it?
Memo to the Boss: You can buy hitting. You can buy fielding. You can even buy $25 million dollar a year GQ smiles, but you can’t buy pitching.
Move over Atlanta. There’s a new under-achiever in town.