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Bullpen-gate and missed opportunities

Posted Tuesday, October 25, 2011, at 2:14 PM

There are so many things I wish I could say about game 5 this afternoon. I wish I could say that since Albert Pujols stellar performance Saturday that the Cardinals have stayed alive and are coming home up 3-2. But I can't. I wish I could say that in game 5 the Cardinals put up the noble fight and nearly pulled it off. But I can't.

While the lights look pretty dim this Tuesday morning and the team's back is against the wall, there are some positive things I can say.

First and foremost, everything this team has accomplished this year, has been done with their backs against the wall. To be honest, they perform better that way, or have so far at least. Don't count them out just yet. Edge: dead even.

Second, the weather is expected to be nasty on Wednesday. While it doesn't sound like a positive, just hear me out. The Rangers were all but shut completely down in Busch last week during the cold and rain. This Texas team doesn't excel in the north weather that we're going to give them Wednesday and Thursday. Edge: St. Louis.

A possible rainout changes dramatically the make-up for a potential Game 7. Chris Carpenter would likely be available again on four days rest. While short rest hasn't always gone in his favor, his fighter nature and bull-headed pitcher attitude thrives on opportunities like this. The downside to the rainout is that it means Texas will likely pitch Derek Holland once more to try to deliver a knock-out punch. While Holland is a very impressive left-handed starter, his average is not what we saw on Sunday evening. That was an amazing performance, but (thankfully) not the norm. Edge: even.

Third, and possibly most important, is Busch Stadium. The Rangers aren't used to this pitcher's park, neither are many other American League teams for that matter with their all offense four hour games. The Cardinals know this park. They play well here. The impressive offensive totals from this season are half from right here at Busch Stadium. The numbers Texas is putting up are, while impressive, coming from playing 81 games in a field with an impressive jet stream flow through right field. Edge: St. Louis.

I don't mean to sound like I'm cheapening the Rangers accomplishments, because I don't intend to. I'm just illustrating why it's not time to write the Cardinals off just yet. These to teams are one of the most even match-ups in a World Series I can recall.

Regardless of the outcome, this has been an impressive series to watch. Despite the bullpen fiasco on Monday, Craig's lackluster base-stealing, a slump by the big bats and one mediocre Thursday outing by Jason Motte, we're still in this thing.

This group of guys hasn't done anything the easy way and the 2011 World Series is no exception. It's unlikely that neither Game 6 nor 7 will be a blowout. What I can guarantee, is that I will be sitting there, rain or shine, ready to watch every remaining minute and so will all of you.


I'll be running a live chat at http://dailystatesman.com/2011ws Join in on the fun as I chat live from the pressbox during games 6 and 7. Send me your questions and thoughts and some of them will be asked during the pre- or post-game press conferences. Chat will begin 15 minutes before the first pitch each night. See photo galleries of photos from each night at http://www.dailystatesman.com/gallery

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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