By: Joe Gallagher
7:52 Here we are. Game 7: there’s nothing like it in all of sports. One game determines the fate of a season that included 175-plus similar contests. There’s a stress on similar, but similar does not mean same. There is nothing like this one game. This one game creates legends, goats, and gives stories for fathers to pass to their children. Yes it’s a game, but it’s also a story. The retelling of these tales provides entertainment, and more importantly a bonding point for people of all ages. From kids playing catch in the back yard with their dads to grown men reminiscing on the glory days, this is THE game. Game 7. The importance of every pitch, every hit, every run, and every outstanding defensive play all culminates to this point. Game 7. For a baseball fan, it’s like a birthday, Christmas, and the Victoria Secret fashion show all wrapped into one. This game makes grown men act like children, and it’s absolutely acceptable. It’s safe to say: baseball’s a beautiful thing.
7:54 A.J. Pierzynski just tried to say that the Rangers had their starting rotation lined up exactly how they wanted…by having Matt Harrison start Game 7. Yes, A.J. because everyone wants their middling 4 starter to start Game 7! I’ll let it slide though because he showed the world that Michael Barrett has the weakest punch in America.
8:01 Thank you, Tim McCarver. Apparently the Rangers actually want to score early tonight. Who would have thunk it?…
8:05 And Chris Carpenter takes the hill. Is there any guy who looks like he should be pitching a Game 7 of the World Series more than this guy? He’s got the whole elder states-man thing going with the beard and he’s been feeling it. That said, he is on short rest…
8:07 Annnnnnnd Kinsler smacks a single to left. If Carpenter locates like that it’ll be a long night. Might need the defense to pick him up a lot tonight if that’s the case.
8:08 On cue, Molina’s rifle picks off Kinsler at first. Base running gaffes with kill you.
8:10 RBI double for Josh Hamilton. Andrus scores. Hamilton literally is swinging with only arms here. My friend Brian always says, “Hamilton’s a modern day Mickey Mantle.” Sure looks like it, gritting out big hits and really giving a gutsy, unheralded World Series.
8:19 Oh mercy, Joe Buck! Kitchen Nightmares was pre-empted on Fox tonight. Oh whatever shall I do! Thank goodness it will return next Tuesday!
8:21 Pujols walks. Texas pitchers are dancing around him like Baryshnikov in shorts! Yeah, I did just make a ballet reference. What are you gonna do about it?
8:22 Puma walks. Wow. Back to back walks. 8 balls on 9 pitches. In the World Series. Seems like this is going to be a WIIIIILD game.
8:24 Hard to tell if Matt Harrison is struggling because he’s nervous or because HE’S NOT A GAME 7 STARTER!!!
8:26 David Freese 2-Run double. He just set the record for the most RBIs in postseason history. Wow. I talked to Jose Canseco, he said an unidentified clubhouse attendant told him that Freese made a pact with Pat Riley so that he would have continual out of body experiences during the World Series. In exchange, Freese will be slicking his hair back with as much grease as possible for the next 50 years. True story.
8:30 SSB writer Bobby Montano just said that this has the makings of a classic. I can see the drool dripping from his mouth.
8:32 Here’s Mike Napoli. The Rangers candidate for MVP. He follows accordingly with a base hit. That’s becoming a familiar phrase. Bobby’s calling for Carpenter to go. I agree. He looks fried.
8:34 Carpenter makes a TOUGH play to get the force at second. Still does not look good on the hill, though.
8:38 If the Cardinals use him, I feel like Edwin Jackson comes out of the bullpen and pitches lights out. Don’t know why. It defies logic. But I have a feeling and I’m going to document it so that I can later say, “Oh yeah, I knew that was going to happen!”
8:47 Signs Matt Harrison should not be starting Game 7 of the World Series: #1 He just gave the biggest sigh of relief upon striking out Carpenter.
8:51 Furcal does not look quick enough laterally anymore, but boy does he still have a cannon. Meanwhile, Carp is seeming to settle in. He’s not missing spots nearly as frequently.
8:51 Mom texted me to tell me that I need to check my mail soon. Just realized that I never sent her birthday card. Sorry, Mom. First thing tomorrow.
8:54 Carpenter is settling in. He’s hitting the mitt like crazy. Its reminiscent of Roy Halladay (…oh how I miss you, Phillies…)
8:55 SSB writer Neal continues to listen to Techno mashups. He is awarded no points and may God have mercy on his soul.
8:57 Debate among the guys: Is that J. Edgar movie ONLY looking good because Leo is the star? DJ says yes. Jack says, “Doesn’t matter, Leo’s the man.” Case in point. He’s basically the Blake Griffin of movies. Leo can star in a mediocre, maybe below average looking movie, but he makes it totally watchable JUST because he’s in it. That said, I hope it’s good.
9:02 Allen Craig parks one, 3-2 Cards. “Forget Matt Holiday! Allen Craig HAS to be a starter next year. He’s so good.” SSB writer Kevin. Well said. Holiday has quietly declined. He’s rough in the field and just doesn’t bring enough to the plate. That said, he still puts up some good numbers and is still capable of occasionally looking like a superstar. It seems like he’s bordering on Pat Burrell territory in that sense.
9:10 Bobby: “I would not be surprised if Harrison goes deep here” Us:”Really?” Bobby: “No, I’d be stunned. I’m just looking for an Edwin Jackson moment.”
9:11 Harrison strikes out. Bad omen for the Edwin Jackson prediction. Besides, Carpenter is hitting stride.
9:16 Marrelle, who was at the Pierzynski-Barrett game and represents the female population of our wonderful community, says in reference to the punch: “Yeah, it was a pretty girly punch.” Thanks, Marrelle.
9:19 Bobby just said for the 6000th time how much he loves Game 7. More drool.
9:20 Furcal finally gets a hit. He was due. Two on, one out. Guidry’s out to talk to Harrison, but he’s leaving him in. Sign #2 that Matt Harrison should not be starting your Game 7: Rafael Furcal is roping line drives.
9:23 DJ is now listening to “Sexy and I Know It,” which, contrary to popular belief, was actually written in reference to me.
9:37 Michael Young at the plate. 1-2, runner on second, 2 out, top 5. Bobby just said, “Huge pitch in this one”…annnnnnd struck him out. BIG TIME. Carpenter is in control and he’s feeling it. Hard to bet against anybody who out duels Roy Halladay in a playoff game.
9:42 Scott Feldman is in the game now. Adios Matt Harrison. Honestly though, as much crap I’ve been giving him, Harrison gave a gutsy outing without his best stuff and should be proud of how he kept the Rangers in the game.
9:43 Feldman’s beard has me wondering, “What happened to his Lucky Charms?”
9:46 Feldman walks Craig. I can just see my Dad groaning and saying, “You just CAN’T walk guys.”
9:48 Pujols is hit by a pitch. More base runners.
9:51 Berkman does a nice job by tapping the ball to the right side in order to get the runners over to second and third with two outs. Productive out. A single now scores two. They’re walking Freese. CAN YOU BLAME THEM?!?!?!?
9:52 HUGE spot for Yadier. Let’s see how he protects Freese. A hit here rips this game wide open.
9:54 The Cardinals rally towels stink compared to our’s in Philly. We completely unraveled CC Sabathia in the 2008 NLDS. Sorry Cards fans, but Philly is baseball HEAVEN.
9:55 Feldman walks in a run. Dad probably has now retreated to bed, saying, “This game’s over.”
9:58 See you later Scott Feldman; hello CJ Wilson…
9:59 ANNNNNND hello hit by pitch! Another give away run. Wow. 5-2 and they’re still loaded.
10:01 But no fear Skip Schumaker’s here! Luckily for the Rangers, Schumaker swings and misses at a pitch in the dirt for strike three…RIGHT after the previous two batters were handed bases. Awful.
10:06 Allen Craig robs Nelson Cruz of the record for most home runs in a single postseason. Kevin now looks like a school girl at a Justin Beiber concert.
10:11 Carpenter’s neard (neck beard) is gross.
10:16 Everyone seems to be giving up on this game. Let last night be a lesson. Baseball has no clock. It’s never over until the last out is recorded.
10:20 Ground rule double by David Murphy. Carpenter’s done. He receives a huge ovation and deservedly so. That was such a great outing. He pitched on short rest, in Game 7, bearded, and gutted it out sans his best stuff. Now it’s in the bullpen’s hands.
10:23 And the beginning of the end begins. Arthur Rhodes is in. I thought he was over the hill when he pitched for the Phillies six years ago…
10:24 Rhodes gets him. Torrealba hit it hard, but an out’s an out.
10:25 Apparently LaRussa thought Rhodes wasn’t past his prime enough so he decided to go get Dotel to face the righty. It had absolutely nothing to do with the pending lefty/righty matchup. That’s for sure.
10:28 LaRussa just made his 73rd pitching change of this year’s playoffs. The previous record was 62.
10:32 Big out for Dotel. Stretch time.
10:37 Could this be Albert’s last at-bat as a Cardinal? Why isn’t the crowd going berserk in appreciation? This guy deserves a ceremony, let alone a twenty second standing ovation.
10:40 Albert just fouled off a pitch that had eyes from Mike Adams.
10:41 Adams strikes out Pujols. He’s got awesome stuff.
10:41 Puma beats out an infield single. He’s had ice in his veins all playoffs and he’s been a huge reason that the Cards are where they are. Maybe not the WS MVP but I would say he’s been the MVP of the playoffs.
10:46 Freese walks. That looked like a strike though and it robbed Napoli of 7 for 9 in nabbing runners. Regardless, what a showcase of catchers in this World Series!
10:48 And on cue…Yadier Molina provides a HUGE RBI single to knock Berkman in. 6-2 Cards. That Berkman infield single was HUGE. That was an ultimate game changer and a great example of how to play the game the right way.
11:03 Lance Lynn, who looks like he should be on My Name is Earl, retires the side. The Cards are three outs away now. But hey, who’s counting?
11:07 Just realized I haven’t yet commented on Tony LaRussa’s need to accept the truth and stop dying his hair.
11:14 Ogando rings up Craig for out number three. Jason Motte time.
11:16 This is the beauty of baseball. No clock. There’s no set time to come back. The Rangers have three outs to spread out over four runs to tie. Will they do it? It’s unlikely, but never impossible.
11:18 Motte comes out firing. 98 MPH…but out of the zone. Interesting stat: the fastest pitch hit yard all season was 98.1 MPH off of Justin Verlander.
11:19 Cruz pops out. Two more for St. Louis. You can feel it now.
11:21 Descalvo throws across the diamond to nab Napoli. One more.
11:22 Lined deep to left, Craig’s under it and it’s over. Jason Motte freaks out. Congratulations, Cardinals! What a crazy year! Your 2011 baseball season, folks. Thanks for ending it with me.