Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Playing Golf Won't Ruin Your Baseball Swing

During the baseball off-season, many players and fans undergo a variety of workout regimens designed to keep the body in shape prior to the rigors of Spring, Summer and Fall ball.

With snow on the ground and temperatures not conducive to most outdoors activities, heading down to the the Southern states is probably the best way to avoid winter blues and get some low-stress exercise while enjoying a warmer climate.

There's a contention that swinging a golf club will damage one's baseball swing, but there's no scientific evidence to back up the claim, and, in fact, hitting a stationary golf ball off a tee is the perfect alternative to keep hand-eye coordination at a maximum level.

For the sheer enjoyment of the game (why not have some fun while staying in shape?) try some premium golf balls that will play better than what most of us usually use, and maybe, for the home-run hitter in all of us, pick up some specialty distance golf balls and get some real bang out of that driver.

There's no need to be concerned about your baseball swing. A few rounds - or even a couple dozen - isn't going to affect your plate approach, any more than playing squash or racquetball in the off-season would impair a tennis swing.

Be sure not to go by cart unless it's mandated by the course. Walking 18 holes is good low-impact exercise in its own right and the contemplative nature of wandering down a lush fairway is also good for clearing the mind.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stylish Scrubs a Change for Better

Hospital and medical workers seeking a change from the dull, drab blues that dominate the wearables in their field might do well to point their browsers at the scrubs store operated by fashion-forward Blue Sky Scrubs, the company that is transforming everyday hospital wear into a trendy, stylish fashion segment with work clothes that are attention-getting, comfortable and functional.

Some of the company's latest offerings include scrub hats in a wide variety of custom patterns including florals, polka dots, and geometrical designs and urban cell scrubs in a choice of colors with shirt pockets designed to keep cell phones handy and available for immediate use.

The company offers - on it's easily-navigable, eye-catching website, a complete line of scrubs in a wide variety of styles which can be accessed by following the link below:


Blue Sky Scrubs offerings of shirts, pants, lab coats, hats and accessories - for both men and women - are not only transforming the look of hospital and medical workers, but are also adding an element of individualism and an escape from the ordinary that is both a fashion statement and morale booster.

Workers feel better when they are comfortable in what they wear, and diversity in the normally sterile, drab hospital environment should be of benefit to patients used to seeing their nurses, doctors and orderlies in the same clothing day in and day out. The time has come for the addition of color, fashion and individuality to the medical scene. It is an improvement sure to evolve into a better workplace.

Monday, December 12, 2011

histories mysteries

This guest post from Lewis Beck

The largest pyramid in Egypt actually lies on the direct center point of the land mass on earth. It lies on top of the intersection of the lines of longitude and latitude. Also, all four sides of the pyramid lines up with the compass- North, South, East, and West. Historians insist that there is no way that ancient Egyptians knew anything about the compass then. History’s mysteries I guess, we will never actually know how ancient people built such wonders. I just hope that it wasn’t aliens!

When Will St. Louis be Competitive Again?

As a lifelong fan of the St. Louis Cardinals (as a kid my favorite player was the unstoppable base-stealer, Lou Brock), I was thrilled to see the Cardinals win the World Series.

It was vintage Tony LaRussa managemant, pulling all the right moves at just the right times, and, of course, David Freese had a once-in-a-lifetime Fall Classic, but, now hat LaRussa has gone to retirement and Albert Pujols is headed to the LA Angels, one wonders just how long it will be until the Cards are actually competitive again.

With LaRussa running the show, Cardinals' fans were treated to the very best in on-field management. Tony got the best out of his players and knew how to motivate even marginal guys to heights of greatness. Filling those shoes will be a difficult task for recently-named manager Mike Matheny, currently the youngest manager in the majors.

By hiring the inexperienced Matheny, St. Louis brass is signaling that the Cardinals will be in rebuilding mode, top to bottom, from the scouting staff to the minor leagues. The hiring of Matheny was a dead giveaway that the Cardinals were not serious about paying Pujols $25 million a year.

As it was, winning the 2011 World Series was a season-long struggle and a testament to LaRussa and some of the grittier guys on the team, like Chris Carpenter, Lance Berkman and Yadier Molina. Getting into the playoffs is not going to be easy for the next three t four years, and that's a hopeful prognosis.

The Cards have to find a first baseman, a shortstop and will probably be looking for another catcher to give Molina some rest. Matt Holliday and Berkman may not be around much longer, especially if the team struggles. It goes even deeper: talent-wise, outside of the pitching staff (which will welcome back Adam Wainwright with open arms), the only solid position is third base, where Freese has the look of a perennial top 30 player.

Beyond that, the Cardinals will have to build from the bottom up, make smart trades and hopefully give Matheny some leeway in his managerial style, allowing him to grow into the position.

It looks like the Cardinals won't really be competitive for a few seasons, though at least they play in one of the weaker divisions - the NL Central - and can probably be better than the Cubs and Astros in 2012. Beyond that, it will take exceptional trades, coaching and a large dose of good fortune to get back to the playoffs any time before say, 2015.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Online Learning Perfect for the Off-Season

With a few months before Spring Training, resting baseball players - and even fantasy players - have plenty of spare time to indulge in a wide variety of pursuits. While many surely will opt for vacations and exercise (not a bad idea for 2012), others may prefer a more practical approach to the off-season, pursuing other interests such as business ventures or getting a college degree.

There are plenty of choices for everyone in the US educational system, including online programs like those offered at WaldenU.edu which offers Bachelor's Master,s Doctoral and Certificate Programs as well as individual courses in a wide variety of disciplines.

Anyone with internet access can earn a degree through Walden University's online degree programs including areas of pursuit in Education, Health, Management, Psychology, Public Policy and Administration, Counseling and Social Services and Nursing.

A couple of mouse clicks and a few keystrokes are all that's between off-season boredom and the opportunity to learn about Walden and pave the way toward a brighter future.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NFL Sportswear for Baseball Players and Fans

One thing about baseball season, it's long. If you're lucky enough to play all the way through the World Series, the season beings in March, either in Florida or Arizona for Spring training, and ends in the last days of October.

While it's probably a longer season than almost all other professional sports, there are advantages, one being the short off-season, which is great if you've got real passion for the game. There's plenty to do in the off-season, one of the tasks of every serious ball player is to stay in some kind of decent shape, so spending time at a local gym or working out at home is constructive use of those dreary winter days.

The other advantage to playing baseball is that it is, for the most part, a non-contact sport. Other than the occasional crash at home plate or accidental running into one of your own guys on a fly ball, you're not ramming your body into other players, like they do in the NFL.

Professional athletes like to keep track of how others in pro sports are faring, and many are huge fans. Golfer Phil Mickelson often sports the colors of favorite teams while on the tour and many athletes don their favorite nfl apparel for games, parties or other social gatherings.

Jerseys and hats are among the more popular clothing items that fans and athletes wear to games, outings or just around the house. NFL clothing comes in all sizes and various styles to suit every body type and personal taste. There are throwback uniforms, wildly attractive new style hats, jackets and jerseys and much more, making the baseball off-season a little easier to take, watching huge pro football players ram into each other every Sunday, while sporting the latest football fashion.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Time to Hit the Beach

Now that baseball season is over, you may be thinking about a little vacation, maybe someplace warm for a few weeks away during the cold Northeast winter. 

The Bahamas and most of the Virgin islands offer plenty of opportunity for warm water frolicking so be sure to pack water gear, scuba gear and wetsuits for your trip to the Caribbean. If the airlines charge an arm and a leg for transporting your gear, you might consider leaving some of it behind and renting when you arrive.

Things to pack if traveling light would include goggles, fins, snorkel, trunks and a lightweight wetsuit along with the usual toothpaste and underwear.

The islands offer plenty of relief from the rat race with a slower, casual pace that will soothe the nerves and awesome potential for windsurfing, boogie-boarding, snorkeling, scuba-diving, surf fishing and just about any other aquatic adventure you can imagine.

Prices are reasonable for cruise packages, and there are deals galore online for a winter getaway.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Cardinals Are World Series Champions; David Freese MVP

St. Louis CardinalsPlayers of the Day for Friday, October 28, 2011

Cardinals 6 Rangers 2

After the drama and nail-biting excitement of Thursday's game six, Friday's game seven took on a more serious tone. After all, it was do or die, with no tomorrows for either team.

The St. Louis Cardinals took game seven of the World Series over the Texas Rangers, 6-2, to claim their 11th World Series championship. Starter Chris Carpenter, who worked on three-days' rest following a travel day Tuesday and a rainout on Wednesday, got into trouble in the first inning, allowing the Rangers to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the inning, erasing the memories of Thursday's marathon 11-inning contest, putting the Rangers in an enviable position against the Cardinals' ace starter.

Whatever emotional lift Texas got from the opening inning lead was short-lived. In the bottom of the inning, with two outs and the bases empty, Albert Pujols drew a walk and Lance Berkman followed with another free pass, putting David Freese, Thursday's hero at the plate in a key situation, and once again, Freese delivered a knockout, lacing a 3-2 pitch to the left-center which, with both runners on the go, brought them both around to tie the game at 2-2. It was the first time since the Cubs and Tigers both scored in the first inning of a game seven in 1945.

Carpenter won
Game 7 and was
4-0 in the playoffs.
After his rocky beginning, Carpenter settled down and began clicking off Ranger outs one by one. With runners on first and third in the second inning, Carpenter began hitting his spots, getting Elvis Andrus to ground back to him off a low, outside fast ball, ending the threat.

From the third through the sixth innings, Carpenter was even more dialed-in, allowing only a leadoff single by Ian Kinsler in the 5th inning and hitting Adrian Beltre with an errant pitch with two outs in the third. It was in the bottom of the third that St. Louis took the lead for good. Allen Criag, who had three home runs in the series, launched a high drive to deep right that cleared the fence and landed in the St. Louis bullpen, the solo shot giving the Cardinals a 3-2 lead. The St. Louis starter was aided by left fielder Allen Criag, who robbed Nelson Cruz of a sixth-inning home run, leaping to snag the moon-shot, his glove above the wall for the inning's second out.

David Freese
World Series MVP
The bottom of the fifth was the breakthrough inning for St. Louis, as they loaded the bases off Scott Feldman, who started the inning in relief of Texas starter Matt Harrison. With one out, Criag walked and went to second when Pujols was awarded first after being grazed by an inside Feldman fast ball. After Lance Berkman's ground out to first moved the runners to second and third, Freese was issued an intentional walk, loading them up for Yadier Molina, who took an outside 3-2 pitch for ball four, forcing in the fourth Cardinal run as Craig trotted home.

C.J. Wilson took over on the mound for Feldman, and promptly plunked the first batter he faced, Rafael Furcal, bringing home Pujols with the 5-2 lead. Wilson struck out Skip Schumaker to end the inning with the bases still full, but the damage had been done and the Rangers could not generate any offense.

When Carpenter left a ball over the middle of the plate to David Murphy, leading off the Texas seventh, it was hammered down the right field line, bounding into the stands for a ground rule double, ending Carpenter's night. Arthur Rhodes came on to get Yorvit Torrealba for the first out and Octavio Dotel came on to get Ian Kinsler on strikes and elvis Andrus on a routine fly ball to center to end the inning.

St. Louis added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh. Molina punched a single through the middle scoring Berkman from second base. In the eighth and ninth, the Cardinal bullpen was at its very best. Lance Lynn got Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Beltre - the heart of the Texas lineup - in order. Jason Motte got Cruz to fly harmlessly to right to start the ninth, induced a ground out to third from Mike Napoli and when Criag clutched Murphy's high drive to left field, the field erupted as happy Cardinal players spilled from the dugout onto the field in celebration while fans began a party that would last well into the evening, the Cardinals world champions for the 11th time, most of any National League team.

The victory marked the third World Series triumph for manager Tony LaRussa, who had won previously with St. Louis in 2006, beating the Tigers, four games to one, earned his first World Series championship with the Oakland A's in 1989, sweeping the San Francisco Giants four straight. LaRussa joins Sparky Anderson, Miller Huggins and John McGraw as managers with three world championships. Only Joe Torre and Walter Alston, with four apiece, Connie Mack with five and Casey Stengel and Joe McCarthy with seven each, have won more.

Cardinal third baseman, David Freese, the homebred hero, was named World Series MVP. Freese was 7-for-23 (.304) in the seven games, all but one of his hits going for extra bases. Freese delivered four doubles, a game-tying triple in the ninth inning of game six and a the game-winning solo home run, two innings later, in the 11th. Freese had seven RBI and hit safely in six of the seven World Series games, and in 16 of 18 through the playoffs. Freese was also honored as the MVP of the NLCS, which St. Louis won, four games to two, over the Milwaukee Brewers. Freese also set a major league record with 21 post-season RBI.

Carpenter took the win in game seven, his second of the series and fourth in the post-season, without suffering a loss. He went six innings in game seven, allowing two earned runs on six hits and two walks, fanning six. An MVP case could have been made for Lance Berkman, who led all batters with a .423 average on 11 hits in 26 at-bats. Ian Kinsler led the Rangers' regulars in batting with a .360 average.

The Cardinals' meteoric run to becoming world champions of baseball began back in April, but really took shape in the latter days of August, when, on August 23rd, St. Louis found themselves hopelessly trailing the Brewers in the NL Central and 10 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the wild card race. The Cardinals finally caught and surpassed Atlanta, clinching the NL wild card on the final day of the regular season with an 8-0 win over the Houston Astros. St, Louis won the divisional series from the Phillies in five games, 3-2, and captured their 18th National League pennant when they topped the Brewers, four games to two. St. Louis trails only the Dodgers and Giants, for the most NL pennants, each with 21.

Thus concludes another spectacular season of coverage and daily players of the day from Baseball On Deck.

We'll see you again in about four months, when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. Until then, baseball remains the uniquely American game and the Cardinals are its champions.

World Series: Cardinals Win Wild Game Six over Rangers, Force Game Seven

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cardinals 10 Rangers 9, 11 innings

As Game Six's go, this one was excitement to the extreme.

15 pitchers. Eight pinch-hitters. Five home runs. Five errors. Scoring in 13 of 22 half-innings. And every time the Texas Rangers forged a lead that might take them to victory and a World Series championship, the plucky St. Louis Cardinals found ways to tie the score and eventually, in the second extra inning, to win it, staving off elimination to force the first game seven since 2002, when the Angels beat the Giants.

Berkman tied the
game in the 9th.
This game six had it all. Both starters - Jaime Garcia for St. Louis and Colby Lewis for the Rangers - were dinged for first-inning runs. Texas struck first for a single run in the top of the first, but Lance Berkman's two-run homer in the bottom of the inning gave the Cardinals their only lead of the night until 10 innings later when David Freese led off the bottom of the 11th, taking a two-strike pitch from Mark Lowe to straight-away center field for a game-winning walk off home run that sent the St. Louis faithful into a fall classic frenzy.
Freese's solo homer
won it in the 11th.

Freese, who had delivered a two-out, two-strike triple in the bottom of the ninth to send Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman home with the game-tying runs, was mobbed by teammates at the plate and had his jersey ripped off and shredded by his ebullient teammates.

The game had so much drama, passion and tension, it might as well have been written by a Faulkner, Steinbeck or maybe even Hemingway. The Rangers tied the score at 2-2 in the second and took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 4th. St; Louis tied the score in the bottom of the inning.

The Rangers scored again in the top of the 5th, 4-3. St. Louis evened it at 4-all in the bottom of the 6th. That's when it really got interesting.

Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz hit back-to-back solo homers in the seventh. Kinsler drove in Derek Holland for the third run of the frame and Texas had what looked to be an insurmountable lead at 7-4. The Cardinals had only three more half-innings to make up the deficit.

In the bottom of the seventh they went quietly, but got one run back on Allen Craig's one-out, solo home run in the 8th, but left the bases loaded when Rafael Furcal grounded out to second, leaving the Cardinals still down two runs.

After Albert Pujols doubled with one out in the ninth and Berkman walked, Freese belted a line shot off the right field wall that eluded right fielder Nelson Cruz, allowing the two to score. With Freese standing less than 60 feet away from a Cardinal win, Yadier Molina lined out to Cruz in right.

In the 10th, Josh Hamilton put the Rangers up 9-7, with a one-out, two-run homer to right field, again putting the Rangers just three outs away from their first World Series title in the 50-year history of the franchise.

The Cardinals, however, weren't ready to make off-season arrangements. David Descalso led off the bottom of the 10th with a scratch single to right. Jon Jay, hitless in the series, nubbed a single to left and when Kyle Loshe, pinch-hitting for reliever Jason Motte, bunted the base runners over to second and third, the Cards were once again in business. Ryan Theriot hit a smash to Beltre at third, whose only play was across the diamond, getting Theriot, but allowing Descalso to score. After an intentional walk to Pujols put runners at first and second with two outs, Berkman, who leads all hitters in the series with a .435 batting average, singled to shallow center, bringing home Jay and tying the score at 9-apiece.

All of a sudden, the Rangers had gone from one strike away from winning the World Series to having Pujols on third, Berkman on second - after he moved up on fielder indifference - and the dangerous Allen Craig at the plate. Craig, however, failed to deliver, as the cardiac Cardinals had all night, grounding to first to end the inning, but setting up Freese's 11th-inning drama.

Freese's two hits in five at-bats boosted his series average to .333. He drove in three of the game's most important runs, including the clincher. Berkman, who has been unstoppable at the plate, was 3-for-5, with three RBI and four runs.

The two teams will regroup overnight and head back to Busch Stadium for game seven on Friday night at 8:05 pm EDT. While Texas will go with game three starter Matt Harrison, St. Louis has options. Kyle Lohse would normally get the nod, but manager Tony LaRussa has a fresh Edwin Jackson and his ace, Chris Carpenter, who, because of a travel day Tuesday and the Wednesday rainout, is available off three days' rest.

Friday night, game seven. It doesn't get much better than that, but, as a prelude, game six wasn't bad.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rangers Take Crucial Game Five; One Win Away from Winning World Series

Players of the Day for Monday, October 24, 2011

Rangers 4 Cardinals 2

Mike Napoli broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning with a bases-loaded double to right center field, scoring Michael Young and Nelson Cruz with the go-ahead and insurance runs, leaving the Rangers one game from winning the World Series and the Cardinals wondering about missed opportunities and the possibility of winning two games back in St. Louis.

Napoli: 8th-inning
double plates pair.
The Cardinals had taken an early lead with two runs in the second inning, and had their ace, Chris Carpenter working over the Ranger lineup from the mound. Carpenter had been strong through five innings, allowing only a third-inning solo homer by Mitch Moreland. With a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the sixth, the Cards appeared to have everything under control. Carpenter was working fast, getting Josh Hamilton on a ground out to first and striking out Michael Young for the second out of the inning. But, when Adrian Beltre saw Carpenter's looping curve ball, he deposited the pitch into the stands above left-center field to tie the game.

Beltre's 6th inning
home tied the game.
Missed opportunities and mistakes doomed the Cardinals the rest of the way, After a one-out walk to Allen Craig in the top of the seventh, Albert Pujols apparently called his own hit and run, but the pitch was high, and Napoli easily gunned down Criag at second. Pujols was then walked intentionally, and Matt Holliday followed with a single to shallow center, Pujols raced around third, drawing an errant throw and Holliday advanced to second. Alexi Ogando, who had relieved Scott Feldman to open the inning, walked Lance Berkman intentionally to load the bases, and then got David Freese to fly out to center on the first pitch. Threat ended. Mistakes noted.

Carpenter cruised through the bottom of the seventh, stranding Ian Kinsler, who had worked out a one-out walk, at first. St. Louis got catcher Yadier Molina to second base on a single and a sacrifice by Ryan Theroit, but could not get to Darren Oliver, who had replaced Ogando after giving up the leadoff single. With the tie-breaking run on second, Oliver punched out Nick Punto swinging and got Rafael Furcal on a harmless ground ball to short.

In the game-changing bottom of the eighth, Octavio Dotel came on for Carpenter, a quizzical move by manager Tony LaRussa, considering how well his ace had pitched, having thrown 101 pitches through seven innings, but  apparently with more gas in the tank. Michael Young led off with a double, but Dotel got Adrian Beltre on a swinging strikeout, then walked Nelson Cruz intentionally. Dotel was lifted for Mike Rzepczynski to face David Murphy, who singled up the middle, the ball glancing off Rzepczynski to second baseman Punto, who had no play at any base, negating a potential double play, leaving the bases chock-full of Rangers. Moments later Napoli ripped his double, giving the Rangers a lead they would take to the ninth.

Closer Neftali Feliz got off to a shaky start in the final frame, plunking Allen Criag to lead off the inning and bringing up Pujols again, but, just as in the seventh, Craig was running on a 3-2 count, the pitch was wide, Pujols swung and missed, but Napoli didn't miss Craig sliding into second base, thrown out for the second time. Matt Holliday worked a two-out walk, but Berkman struck out swinging to end the game and send Texas fans into delirious delight, the Rangers one game from the promised land of a franchise first World Series championship.

Game six will be played back in St. Louis on Wednesday night at 8:05 pm EDT, where the Cardinals split with the Rangers earlier in the series. Jaime Garcia, the hard-luck hurler who pitched seven innings of shutout ball on three hits, but earned no decision as the bullpen wasted a 1-0 lead in Texas' 2-1 win, will go to the mound for St. Louis. Texas sends out game two starter Colby Lewis in what could be a series clinching spot. Lewis also pitched well in his previous start, allowing just one run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings.

If the Cardinals force a game seven on Thursday, the likely starters will be the same duo from game three, Matt Harrison for the Rangers facing Kyle Lohse of the Cardinals.

Napoli is having a huge series, and if the Rangers win game six, he would likely be named MVP. Even though he's had only four hits in 13 at-bats (.308), they've mostly been big ones, a two-run homer in game one, a two-run single in game three, a three run blast in game four and Monday night's game winning, two-RBI double, giving the slugging catcher nine RBI in addition to his near-flawless play behind the plate.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Texas Ties World Series at 2-2 as Mike Napoli, Derek Holland Deliver

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rangers 4 Cardinals 0

Mike Napoli crushed a 6th-inning, three run homer in support of Derek Holland's two-hit pitching as the Texas Rangers evened the 2011 World Series with a game four, 4-0, victory.

Napoli: 3-run HR
Napoli's blast came with the Rangers nursing a 1-0 lead, courtesy of Josh Hamilton doubling home Elvis Andrus in the game's first inning. Cardinal starter Edwin Jackson was matching Golland nearly pitch-for-pitch, until getting into serious trouble in the bottom of the sixth, walking Nelson Cruz and David Murphy with one out in the inning. Jackson was lifted in favor of reliever Mitchell Boggs, who served up the long ball to Napoli.

Holland: 2 hits,
0 ER, 8 1/3 IP
With the lead in hand, Holland persevered, allowing only a single and double by Lance Berkman through the first five innings and setting the Cardinals down without a hit until he was relieved after walking Rafael Furcal with one out in the ninth. Neftali Feliz walked the next batter, Allen Criag, but got Albert Pujols to fly out and ended the game with a strikeout of Matt Holliday.

Holland walked two batters and struck out seven for his second playoff win of the season. His strong outing was a vast improvement over his previous two starts - both against Detroit in the ALCS - in which he lasted only 2 2/3rds allowing three runs and 4 2/3rds, giving up four runs on seven hits, though the Rangers managed to win both games without Holland getting a decision.

A crucial game five is slated for Monday night at 8:05 pm in Arlington, the last of the three home games for the Rangers before the series shifts back to St. Louis for game six on Wednesday, and, if necessary, game seven on Thursday.

Game one winner Chris Carpenter will head to the mound for St. Louis. C.J. Wilson, who took the loss in game one, walking six and allowing three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, goes up the bump for the Rangers.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Albert Pujols Socks Three Homers as Cardinals Take Game Three, 16-7, Lead World Series, Two Games to One

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cardinals 16 Rangers 7

The promised offensive fireworks that fans were awaiting finally showed up in game three of the World Series.

Texas batters belted out 13 hits, but the more efficient Cardinals had fifteen, and scored sixteen runs as Albert Pujols had a record-setting night in St. Louis' 16-7, game three victory over the Rangers.

Pujols: 5-for-6, 3 HR,
6 RBI, 4 Runs.
On Allen Craig's first inning solo home run, the Cardinals led 1-0,, entering the fourth inning, when the hits began coming faster than a Texas tornado. Pujols led off the inning with a single, his first hit of the series, but was forced out at second on a controversial play that opened the floodgates for the Cardinals.

Matt Holliday was ruled safe at first on Ian Kinsler's errant throw that pulled Texas first baseman Mike Napoli off the bag. Replays showed that Napoli applied a deft swipe tag to Holliday before he reached the base. The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out after a single by Lance Berkman, a David Freese double that plated Holliday, and an intentional walk to Yadier Molina. Jon Jay sent a two-hopper to Napoli, who threw wide of home plate, allowing both Berkman and Freese home, and Ryan Theriot added a run when he singled to left, getting Molina easily to the plate for a 5-0 Cardinal lead.

The Rangers fought back in the bottom of the inning with three runs of their own, a solo shot by Michael Young and a two-run bomb by Nelson Cruz. St. Lous led, 5-3.

In the fifth, Pujols again led off with a single and came around to score on Freese's bases-loaded ground out. Molina drove in two more with a double down the right field line making the score 8-3, but the Rangers again scored three in their at-bat, making the score 8-6, which was as close as the Rangers would get because Pujols, with two singles already in the books, was about to set off on a record-setting night.

Pujols socked a three-run homer in the sixth, far into the left field seats, hammered a two-run homer in the seventh and added a ninth inning solo shot to complete the scoring for St. Louis, joining Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only players to ever hit three home runs in a single World Series game. His 14 total bases set a major league mark as the Cardinal slugger finished with five hits in six at-bats, three home runs, six RBI and four runs. His four hits over four consecutive innings - 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th - set another record. His five hits and six RBI in a single World Series game also tied records. It was an incredible display of power hitting, truly an historic event. The 16 Cardinal runs set a franchise record, no mean feat for a team which is looking to win its 11th World Series.

With a two games to one lead in hand, the Cardinals take on the Rangers again on Sunday night, with Edwin Jackson facing the Rangers' Derek Holland, who last won on October 1 when the Rangers beat Tampa Bay in the divisional series, 8-6. Since then, Holland has started three more games, but hasn't lasted longer than 4 innings and change, his playoff ERA at 5.27. Jackson also has a playoff win - October 5 - and two no decisions, he too being bounced early in his last two starts. Jackson's ERA has ballooned to 5.84 during the playoffs. Game time in Texas is 8:05 pm EDT.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler Help Rangers Even World Series, 1-1

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rangers 2 Cardinals 1

With just three outs to go and the Cardinal closer, Jason Motte, on the mound, the Texas Rangers appeared headed to a 2-0 deficit in the World Series. St. Louis had taken a 1-0 lead to the ninth on the strength of Jaime Garcia's brilliant seven innings of shutout ball and pinch-hitter Allen Craig's magic bat, which drove in David Freese with the go-ahead run in the seventh. But that was before Ian Kinsler, one of the toughest of the Texas hitters, came to the plate and delivered his second hit of the night, a scratch single to center.

Kinsler, 2-for-3, SB
scored tying run.
Then Kinsler stole second and the Rangers suddenly had life with the tying run on second base. At the plate was Elvis Andrus, not bunting, instead stroking a clean single to right-center. Kinsler stopped at third as Jon Jay whipped the ball back to the infield, but Andrus, seeing Albert Pujols misplay the cutoff throw, headed to second, sliding headlong into the bag.

With nobody out and runners on second and third, the game had quickly changed from a likely win for the Cardinals to, at worst, for the Rangers, a tie game and maybe a lead.

Andrus scored the
game winner.
Cardinal manager Tony LaRussa went to the mound, and, after a short talk with Motte, waved Arthur Rhodes in from the bullpen. Rhodes faced Josh Hamilton, the power hitter who hadn't had a hit in the series, in obvious discomfort due to a pulled groin. Rhodes missed high with a fastball, and Hamilton drove it to deep right. Kinsler scored without a throw. Andrus took third and the game was tied.

Lance Lynn replaced Rhodes, but he too failed to keep the Rangers from scoring. Michael Young lifted a fly to right center and Andrus came home easily with the game winner. Two sac flies, two runs, game over.

After Adrian Beltre grounded out to end the top of the ninth, the Cardinals went quietly in the bottom, Neftali Feliz walking leadoff hitter Yadier Molina, but then calmly striking out Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker. Rafael Furcal flied out to right to end it and the series was tied at one game apiece, heading to Texas for three games.

Garcia's seven innings (3 hits, 1 BB, 7 K) were nearly matched by Colby Lewis of the Rangers, who didn't allow a run, but left with two aboard and two outs in the seventh inning. Reliever Alexi Ogando came in to face Criag, just as he did in game one, and just like in game one, Criag singled. The run was charged to Lewis, but that was all the Cards could get.

The series heads to Arlington, Texas, home of the Rangers, for games three, four and five. Game three is Saturday night, 8:05 pm EDT. Kyle Lohse goes for the Cardinals. Matt Harrison gets the start for Texas.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

World Series: Carpenter, Criag, Motte Give Cardinals Game One, 3-2, Win Over Rangers

Players of the Day for Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cardinals 3 Rangers 2

Game One Winner
St. Louis pressed their home field advantage with a 3-2 game one victory over the Texas Rangers with Cardinal starter Chris Carpenter getting the win and the managerial talents of Tony LaRussa on display for all the world to see.

Carpenter kept the Rangers off the scoreboard until the fifth inning when Mike Napoli blasted a two-run homer down the right field line to tie the game at two-all. The Cardinals had taken a 2-0 lead in the third inning, when Texas starter C.J. Wilson clipped leadoff batter Albert Pujols on the left ankle with an arrant fastball, Matt Holliday doubled down the right field line and Lance Berkman brought them both home with a solid single to right.

Craig's pinch-hit
single won the game.
With Carpenter watching from the bench, St. Louis scratched out the game winner in the bottom of the sixth. David Freese, hero and MVP of the NLCS, continued his hot hitting with a one out double and took third on a wild pitch. After Yadier Molina fanned for the second out and Nick Punto walked to put runners on first and third, LaRussa made the first of many managerial masterstrokes by lifting Carpenter for pinch-hitter Allen Craig. Ranger manager, Ron Washington countered by bringing in Alexi Ogando in relief of Willson, but Craig won the battle, sending a high liner down the right field line which eluded the glove of Nelson Cruz. Freese scored easily on the play and Punto took third, but the Cardinals could not further capitalize, though Rafael Furcal made a bid with a long fly ball to deep center that ended the inning.

Carpenter finished with six innings pitched, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk, striking out four. Fernando Salas came to the mound in the seventh and was the only Cardinal reliever to surrender either a hit or a walk, as he got one out in the frame before yielding a single to Cruz and a walk to Napoli. Mike Rzepczynski relieved Salas, promptly striking out a pair of Ranger pinch-hitters to end the threat.

Motte: a perfect
ninth for the save.
With that, the Cardinal bullpen went into high gear. Octabio Dotel got two outs in the eighth and ageless Arthur Rhodes got the third out, inducing a harless fly ball from slugger Josh Hamilton.

Jason Motte completed the victory with a flawless ninth inning, getting through the heart of the Rangers' order with ground outs by Michael Young and Adrian Beltre, and a fly ball to left off the bat of Nelson Cruz to earn the save and end the game.

The appearance was the ninth of the playoffs for Motte, who notched his fifth post-season save. In nine full innings of work during the playoffs, Motte has been tougher than nails, allowing just one hit and no walks, striking out seven. The last hit off Motte was in game four of the divisional series with the Phillies. He has been perfect ever since.

Though shaky during the regular season, when he blew four of 13 save opportunities, Motte turned it around in September as the Cardinals erased a 10 1/2 game lead by Atlanta in the wild card standings to clinch their playoff spot on the final day of the regular season. Motte had eight saves and two wins in September as the Cardinals won 18 and lost eight.

Game two is Thursday night in St. Louis at 8:05 pm EDT. The Cardinals will send Jaime Garcia to the mound to face Rangers' starter Colby Lewis. Garcia was 13-7 with a 3.56 ERA during the regular season and has two losses and a no decision in three 2011 post-season starts. Lewis was 14-10 during the regular season with a 4.40 ERA. In two playoff starts this season he's 1-1, with a 3.86 ERA.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cardinals and Rangers Square Off in 2011 World Series

2011 World Series Preview

The Texas Rangers from the American League and the St. Louis Cardinals from the National League will square off in the 2011 World Series starting Wednesday, October 19, in St. Louis. The Cardinals received home field advantage on the strength of the National League winning the All=Star game this season. Home-advantage teams hold a 20-5 edge in the fall classic since 1985.

The two teams share many similarities, with the most glaring being the number of power hitters up and down their lineups. Neither team has exceptional starting pitching, but both have sound, deep bullpens, though the Rangers are arguably the better of the two even though the St. Louis bullpen worked more innings than the starters in their six-game win over Milwaukee in the NLCS.

There are big differences in other areas, however. The Rangers, an expansion team founded in 1961 as the Washington Senators and moved to Arlington, Texas in 1972, are in their second World Series. They were there for the first time last season and are making the return trip after losing to the Giants, four games to one. The Cardinals are one of the most storied franchises in baseball, with a deep and successful history. This will be their 18th trip to the World Series, with ten wins.

Cardinal manager Tony LaRussa is one of the most successful managers in the history of the game, while Ranger manager Ron Washington is in his fifth season as manager of the Rangers.

Games one and two will be played in St. Louis, with games three through five - if necessary - in Texas. If the series goes to a game six or seven, those would be back in St. Louis. This series figures to offer plenty of hits, runs and excitement. It's a fairly even match-up on the field, though the Cardinals have a decided edge with LaRussa calling the shots.

Texas Rangers

Ian Kinsler
The Rangers took out wild card Tampa Bay in the opening playoff series and then topped Detroit, four games to two, advancing to the World Series for the second year in a row.

Pitching is not a priority for Texas, as they possess one of the most talented lineups in the game, starting with leadoff hitter and second baseman Ian Kinsler, who caught fire late in the season, ending up with the team lead - tied with Adrian Beltre - in home runs at 32. Kinsler socked 11 long balls in September, providing even more punch to a murderer's row type of lineup. Always a threat to steal, Kinsler swiped 30 bases in 2011. He also led the Rangers with 121 runs

Adrian Beltre
Michael Young, the most versatile of all the Rangers, had a banner year, leading the team with a .338 batting average - third highest in the AL - and 106 RBI. Young can play just about any position in the field, and has been used at first base, third base and at second.

Third baseman Adrian Beltre had a very productive season with a .296 batting average, 32 homers and 105 RBI. Shortstop Elvis Andrus normally bats second, hit .279 with 37 steals and 96 runs. Catching duties are handled either by Mike Napoli, who batted .320 over the course of the season, or Yorvit Torrealba, a less-potent batter.

The outfield is manned by Josh Hamilton in center, Nelson Cruz in right and David Murphy in left. All three have solid hitting credentials and can hit for power. Mitch Moreland will share first base and DH duties with Young and also has power to spare. The Rangers had 210 home runs as a team, second in the majors to the Yankees (222).

Cruz obliterated the record books in the ALCS, swatting six home runs, to go with 13 RBIs and a .364 batting average. He was the series MVP.

Josh Hamilton
Despite the lack of emphasis on pitching, the Rangers had the fifth-best ERA in the league, at 3.79. The Rangers have enough live arms in their starting rotation and come into the World Sereis well rested. C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94 ERA) will go in game one, Derek Holland (16-5, 3.95) in game 2, Colby Lewis (14-10, 4.40) in game 3, and game four starter will be Matt Harrison (14-9, 3.39).

The Ranger's bullpen was strengthened with the addition of Mike Adams, acquired from San Diego at the trading deadline. Adams is one of the best middle men in the game. He worked 27 games for the Rangers with a 2.10 ERA and 25 Ks in 25.2 innings. Closer Neftali Feliz saved 32 games in 38 chances.

St. Louis Cardinals

Albert Pujols
Chris Carpenter
St. Louis is the National League's wild card entrant, finally getting past Atlanta on the final day of the season on the strength of Chris Carpenter's 2-hit shutout in Houston. The Cardinals ousted the heavily-favored Phillies in five games, on a three-hit shutout by Carpenter over the Phillies' Roy Halladay and took out the Brewers in six.

Carpenter will go to the mound in game one, followed in game two by Jaime Garcia (13-7, 3.56). Kyle Lohse is slated to open game three and Edwin Jackson will start game four. The Cardinal pitching staff was hampered by the season-long loss of Adam Wainwright, but persevered to finish six games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central.

The middle of the Cardinal lineup is packed with power, beginning with perennial all star Albert Pujols, who had an average season - for him - socking 37 home runs and driving in 99 runs while batting .299. Surrounding Pujols are a couple of veteran sluggers, right fielder Matt Holliday(.296, 22, 75) and Lance Berkman (.301, 31, 94).

The Cards also have a number of young hitters with power, including outfielder Allen Craig, who hit .315 with 11 home runs and 40 RBI in 75 games, and third baseman David Freese (.297, 10, 55). Yadier Molina is probably the best defensive catcher in the game and he had an excellent season at the plate, batting .305 with 14 HR and 65 RBI. John Jay hit .295 and is the regular center fielder. Freese was the NLCS MVP, with three homers and nine RBI.

The Cardinals generally hit for a high average and have plenty of power to challenge the Rangers' pitching. If Pujols, Berkman and Holliday hold their own, the Cardinals stand a fighting chance, though late relief has been an issue all season. Fernando Salas led the team with 24 saves and Jason Motte is the regular middle-to-late reliever, though both have had their share of rough outings. Salas blew six saves, Motte, four, with nine saves, though in the playoffs, especially against Milwaukee, it was the bullpen which produced the heroes for St. Louis.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cardinals Coast into World Series, Blast Brewers, 12-6; David Freese MVP

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 16, 2011

National League

Cardinals 12 Brewers 6

Blowing away the Brewers with nine runs in the first three innings, the St. Louis Cardinals captured the 18th National League pennant for their storied franchise, and will face the Texas Rangers beginning Wednesday in St. Louis, courtesy of the National League's victory over the American League in the All Star Game, in the 2011 World Series.

Freese: Series MVP
.545, 3 HR, 9 RBI
After Lance Berkman singled home Jon Joy with the NLCS game six's first run, David Freese unloaded off Milwaukee starter Shaun Marcum with a three-run homer to put the Cardinals up 4-0, a lead they would not relinquish.

It was Freese's third fence-buster of the series. The St. Louis third baseman added a single and double for a 3-for-4 effort, scoring three times and was named MVP of the series with nine RBI and a .545 batting average (12-for-22).

Once again, the Cardinal bullpen was top-shelf, allowing two earned runs over the final seven innings, after starter Edwin Jackson was lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of their third inning, manager Tony LaRussa pulling all the strings necessary to assure advancement to the fall classic. Jackson had given up four run over the first two innings; LaRussa's moved paid off when pinch-hitter Allen Craig punched out a two-run single in the Cardinals' four-run fourth.

St. Louis set a major league mark with 28 relief appearances in the series, along with another quirky stat; the Cardinal relievers worked more innings in the series than did the starters.

Rangers at Cardinals, Wednesday. Let's go.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Texas Blasts into World Series, Ousts Detroit 15-5; NLCS Moved to Night Game

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 15, 2011

American League

Texas 15 Detroit 5

The Texas Rangers blew open game six with the Detroit Tigers, sending 14 batters to the plate and scoring nine runs in the third inning en route to a game six victory to take the AL championship series, four games to two, advancing to the World Series for the second straight year.

Young: 3-for-5,
2 2B, HR, 5 RBI
Texas erupted after Detroit had forged a 2-0 lead on solo home runs by Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta in the first and second innings. Michael Young tied the game with a double to left field and later in the inning plated two more Rangers with a double down the right field line, driving in four runs in the frame. Young added a solo homer with one out in the 7th inning.

Every position player for the Rangers had at least one hit, except for left fielder Endy Chavez, who was lifted for a pinch hitter in the third inning after only one at-bat.

Cabrera added his second solo shot in the 8th for the Tigers, but it wasn't nearly enough, as the Rangers made the most of home field advantage, winning each of their three home games and taking one in Detroit.

The Rangers banged out 17 hits in their offensive explosion. Nelson Cruz smacked his sixth home run of the series, a solo knock in the 7th.

National League

Because there will be no game seven in the ALCS, game six of the National League Championship Series was moved from the afternoon to prime time. The Cardinals and Brewers will take the field in Milwaukee at 8:05 pm EDT.

Cardinals Take Game Five, 7-1, Lead NLCS, 3-2; Rangers-Tigers Resume Saturday

Players of the Day for Friday, October 14, 2011

National League

Cardinals 7 Brewers 1

St. Louis bounced back after Thursday's loss to forge another lead in the NLCS, taking a 3-2 series edge back to Milwaukee, where they can eliminate the Brewers with a game six victory.

Jaime Garcia
The Brewers were their own worst enemy, committing four errors in the game, though St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa and starting pitcher Jaime Garcia deserve most of the credit for the win. Garcia lasted only 4 2/3 innings, yielding one earned run off seven hits, fanning five without issuing any walks, but he was even more effective at the plate, going 0-for-2 with an RBI, though his key at-bat came in the crucial bottom of the second.

After Yadier Molina had doubled in Lance Berkman with the game's first run, Nick Punto lined out to third, leaving David Freese on thrid and Molina on second with two outs and Garcia coming to the plate. The 25-year-old lefty sent a hot smash between the legs of Milwaukee third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr., scoring both Freese and Molina, who were off on contact. The play was ruled an fielding error, though the ball never touched Hairston's glove, taking a low hop under it after skidding off the lip of the infield grass. A clean bounce would probably have resulted in Garcia being thrown out at first, ending the inning. The official scorer may have been too hard on Hairston; ruling the play a hit rather than an error would have given Garcia a couple of RBI.

In the fourth, Garcia did manage to get an RBI, on his ground out to short after LaRussa made the unorthodox move of having #8 hitter Punto sacrifice with one out and Freese on second and Molina on first. Punto laid down a perfect bunt to advance the runners to second and third, and Garcia laid the bat on the ball, plating Freese and putting the Cardinals ahead 4-0.

In the fifth, after Garcia had allowed the Brewers to score a run with two out, two aboard and Ryan Braun heading to the dish, LaRussa lifted his starter for reliever Octavio Dotel, who struck out Braun swinging on a series of low, outside sliders.

Matt Holliday
Yadier Molina
From there, the brilliant St. Louis bullpen took over, allowing just two hits the rest of the way. In the series, Cardinal relievers are 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA over 22 2/3 innings, holding Milwaukee batters to a .164 average. The only St. Louis starter to last long enough to record a win is Chris Carpenter, who worked five full innings in the Cardinals' 4-3, game three victory.

Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina each collected three hits, a double and two singles apeice. Holliday drove in a pair of runs, while Molina scored once and drove in one.

Game six is Sunday in Milwaukee, at 4:05 pm EDT. St. Louis sends Edwin Jackson to the mound to face Shaun Marcum in a rematch of game two starters.

American League

Friday was a travel day for the American Leaguers. The best-of-seven championship series resumes Saturday in Arlington, TX, at 8:05 pm EDT. with the Rangers holding a 3-2 edge over the Tigers.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Delmon Young Homers Twice in Tiger Game five Win; Brewers Tie NLCS with Cardinals as Randy Wolf Goes Seven

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 13, 2011

American League

Tigers 7 Rangers 5

Young: 2 HR, 3 RBI
Delmon Young socked a pair of homers off Texas starter C.J. Wilson, to lead the Tigers to a game five victory, staving off elimination and closing the gap to a 3-2 Texas lead in the best-of-seven AL championship series.

Young stroked his first homer in the 4th inning, a two-out, solo shot that put the Tigers on top, 2-1. Catcher Alex Avila's solo homer in the 3rd had tied the game after Texas scored the opening salvo in the first inning. Texas tied the game up at 2-all in the top of the 5th, and an inning later the Tigers responded with a four-run 6th inning, punctuated by Young's second homer of the game, a two-run blast to left-center that put the Tigers ahead for good.

The Rangers made a game of it scoring two runs in the 8th and another in the 9th, but they could not break through for more runs off Tiger starter Justin Verlander, who worked 7 1/3 innings and took the win, and Phil Coke, who got the final five outs, allowing two hits and an earned run for the save.

The series takes a day's respite as the teams return to Texas for game six and a possible game seven. Max Scherzer goes to the mound for the Tigers on Saturday, facing Ranger starter Derek Holland. Game time is 8:05 pm EDT. If a game seven is necessary, Doug Fister will start for Detroit against the Rangers' Colby Lewis.

National League

Brewers 4 Cardinals 2

Wolf: 7 IP, 2 ER
The Milwaukee Brewers tied the NLCS at two games apiece as Randy Wolf stymied the St. Louis Cardinals over seven innings, allowing just two runs on six hits for the win.

Wolf, 13-10, through the end of the regular season, picked up his first victory of the playoffs, fanning six and issuing only one walk. The two Cardinal runs came via the long ball. Matt Holliday and Allen Craig each took Wolf deep in the early innings. Holliday's solo homer came in the second inning, and Craig followed with a bases-empty job in the third, but the Brewers quickly responded with two runs in the 4th and single runs in the 5th and 6th innings to complete the scoring.

The series stays in St. Louis for game five, matching game one starters, Zack Greinke and Jaime GarcĂ­a on Friday, at 8:05 pm EDT.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cruz, Napoli Give Rangers 3-1 Lead over Tigers; Cardinals Take 2-1 Edge in NLCS

Players of the Day for Wednesday, October 12, 2011

American League

Rangers 7 Tigers 3, 11 innings

Mike Napoli
After winning game three and waiting out a rain delay that turned an afternoon affair into an evening interlude, the Detroit Tigers fell behind three games to one in the ALCS, as Mike Napoli and Nelson Cruz provided the winning margin in the top of the 11th inning.

Nelson Cruz
Napoli's single to center scored Josh Hamilton from second base to put the Rangers up 4-3, and Cruz followed with his 4th home run of the series, a three-run shot that pretty much put the game away. All four 11th inning runs came off reliever Jose Valverde, who was used in hope to keep the score tied. Valverde's streak of consecutive saves - 49 in the regular season and three more in the playoffs - remains intact as the inning was not a save situation.

Both Napoli and Cruz made plays in the field that helped keep the game tied. After Brandon Inge tied the game at 3-3 with a solo homer in the 7th, Cruz threw Miguel Cabrera out at the plate in the bottom of the 8th. Napoli's strong arm got Austin Jackson trying to steal second base in the bottom of the 10th, keeping Detroit's speediest runner out of scoring position.

With a 3-1 lead in the series, the Rangers will try to end it Thursday afternoon in Detroit, though they'll have to beat the best in the American League to do so. Justin Verlander, who notched the pitching triple crown with 24 wins, a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts, takes the ball for the start of game five. Verlander is 1-1 in two post-season starts and will be opposed by Ranger starter C.J. Wilson, who was 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA during the regular season. First pitch is slated for 4:19 pm EDT.

National League

Cardinals 4 Brewers 3

Pujols: 636 AVG.
The St. Louis Cardinals took a two games to one lead in the National League Championship Series, scoring all of their runs in the first inning off Milwaukee starter, Yovani Galardo.

David Freese
Albert Pujols set a major league mark with his fifth consecutive extra-base hit on his ground rule double in the first inning, scoring Jon Jay with the Cardinals' second run. Pujols scored on Yadier Molina's ground out into a double play, but David Freese, who went 3-for-4, followed with a double to right field, sending home Matt Holliday with what would prove to be the game-winner. Pujols would single later and draw two walks, going 2-for-2, to improve his series average to a stunning .636 with four doubles a home run and six RBI.

Milwaukee battled back against St. Louis ace, Chris Carpenter, with two runs in the 2nd inning and another in the 3rd, but that was all they could muster of Carpenter - who lasted five inning for the win - and four Cardinal relievers, who put together a string of zeroes in the final four innings, blanking the Brewers without giving up a hit nor walking a batter.

Game four is Thursday night in St. Louis, with Randy Wolf on the mound for the Brewers against the Cardinals' Kyle Lohse. Game time is 8:05 pm EDT.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tigers Take Game Three of ALCS, 5-2; Texas Leads, Two Games to One

Players of the Day for Tuesday, October 11, 2011

American League

Tigers 5 Rangers 2

Miguel Cabrera homered, doubled and drove in two runs to back the pitching of Doug Fister and get Detroit their first win in the ALCS over the Texas Rangers.

Doug Fister
Miguel Cabrera
With the series in Detroit for games three, four and five, the Tigers have the opportunity to not only even the series but also to eliminate the Rangers' home field advantage, if they sweep the home games. They got off to a good start on Tuesday with a needed win. A loss would have put them down three games to none and essentially guaranteed the series to the Rangers.

Fister, who gave up hits to the first three Texas batters he faced, worked out of a jam in the first inning, getting a double play off the bat of Michael Young, then striking out Adrian Beltre to end the inning with only one run allowed. Victor Martinez evened things up at 1-all with a leadoff homer in the Tigers' 4th. Cabrera doubled home a run in the 5th inning, and, after the Tigers scored two more in the 6th, adding the finishing touch with a leadoff homer in the 7th.

Meanwhile, Fister was mowing down Rangers with inside pitches and jam shots. The 6'8" right-hander struck out three, didn't issue a walk and allowed just two runs on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings. Fister, acquired before the trade deadline from Seattle - where he was 3-12 - went 8-1 swn the stretch for Detroit and has two post-season wins to boot.

The series resumes on Wednesday afternoon, at 4:19 in Detroit. Matt Harrison faces the Tigers' Rick Porcello. Both starters were 14-9 during the regular season.

National League

The Brewers and Cardinals took Tuesday off as the NLCS heads to St. Louis for games three, four and five. Start time for game three is 8:05 pm EDT. A pair of aces - Yovani Gallardo for the Brewers and Chris Carpenter for the Cardinals - face off in a crucial test as the series is tied at a game apiece.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nelson Cruz Walks Off Tigers with Grand Slam; Albert Pujols Sets Extra Base Mark in 12-3 Cardinal Win

Players of the Day for Monday, October 10, 2011

American League

Rangers 7 Tigers 3, 11 innings

After a day of rain and 11 innings of game two in the AL Championship Series, Nelson Cruz left no doubt, snapping a 3-3 tie with his second home run of the game and third of the series, a no-out grand slam into the left field seats off Detroit reliever, Ryan Perry.

Nelson Cruz
Cruz's home run was the fourth straight hit off Perry, who failed to retire a batter as he started the 11th frame. Leading off the 7th inning, Cruz went deep to tie the game, sending Tiger starter Max Scherzer to the showers and setting the stage for the dramatic finish four innings later.

Texas now has a commanding, 2-0, lead in the series which heads to Detroit on Tuesday. Due to the washout Sunday, the normal travel day has become a game day, with Colby Lewis going to the mound for the Rangers to face Tiger hurler, Doug Fister. Game three's first pitch is scheduled for 8:05 pm EDT.

National League

Cardinals 12 Brewers 3

Albert Pujols wasted little time showing the Milwaukee Brewers that the Cardinals were not going to go down easy. Albert the Great, baseball's most prolific power hitter, sent a first inning offering from Brewer starter Shaun Marcum into the left field stands for a 2-0 Cardinal lead that would not be relinquished.

"King" Albert
With the lead in hand and the Cardinals intent on tying the series at one game apiece, Pujols let his bat do all the talking, collecting, in 5 at-bats, three doubles to go with his homer, five RBI and the pleasure of setting his foot on home plate three times. His four extra-base hits set an MLB playoff record.

In the third inning, Pujols slammed a double over the head of Milwaukee center fielder Nyjer Morgan, who had earlier tweeted about the Cardinal strong man, calling him "Alberta." Morgan crashed into the wall as Edwin Jackson and Jon Jay scored on Pujols' smash hit.

The Cardinals greeted Brewer reliever Maroo Estrada with a pair of doubles, one by Jay to lead off the 5th inning, followed immediately by Pujols' second double of the game.

Pujols finished his extra-base barrage with one out in the 7th, lashing a ground rule double to right field and scoring on Matt Holiday's single. The rest of the Cardinals joined in the assault, scoring four runs in the inning. David Freese knocked a solo home run in the top of the 9th inning to complete the Cardinal scoring and send the series back to St. Louis on Wednesday, tied 1-1.

Game three's pitching match-up has the two staff aces going up the mound. Yovani Gallardo gets the start for Milwaukee, while Chris Carpenter will open the game for St. Louis at 8:05 pm EDT.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Brewers Take ALCS Game One, 9-6; Rangers-Tigers Rained Out

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 9, 2011

American League

Game two of the ALCS between the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers was cancelled due to - of all things - rain. Texas has been devastated by drought all summer, the irony is that the much-needed rain in the Lone Star state forces the cancellation of Rangers' games at such a crucial time.

Texas leads the series, one game to none, with game two rescheduled for Monday, October 10 at 4:19 pm EDT. The same two pitchers who were slated to start on Sunday will go on Monday - Max Scherzer for the Tigers and Derek Holland for the Rangers.

National League

Braun: homer,
double, 4 RBI
Brewers 9 Cardinals 6

The Milwaukee Brewers started off the NLCS with a bang - more like a couple of bangs - from their top hitting duo, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.

Braun smashed a two-run, first-inning home run in the Brewers' half of the frame, giving Milwaukee a 2-1 lead that would not last. St. Louis scored three runs in the 4th inning on a David Freese home run and added another in the top of the 5th for a 5-2 lead.

Fielder: 2-run HR
The Brewers struck back quickly in the bottom of the 5th, Braun drove in two runs with a ground rule double and the next batter, Fielder, walloped a blast to deep right that plated both of the Milwaukee sluggers, putting the Brewers up by a 6-5 score. Moments later, Yuniesky Betancourt drilled another home run - this one to left-center - bringing himself around behind Rickie Weeks, who had reached on Cardinal reliever Octavio Dotel's throwing error. Milwaukee's five runs in the 5th all came with nobody out.

Both teams scored an additional run in the 7th inning to complete the scoring.

Despite not pitching well, Zack Greinke took the win, extending his perfect record at home. In 17 home starts this season - two of them in the playoffs - Greinke has 12 wins without suffering a loss. Greinke pitched into the 7th, but was lifted when Rafael Furcal led off the inning with a single. Furcal would eventually score, the run charged to Greinke.

Jaime Garcia was saddled with the loss. He was relieved after Fielder's home run in the 5th.

Game two is scheduled for 8:05 pm EDT Monday night, in Milwaukee. Cardinal starter Edwin Jackson faces the Brewers' Shaun Marcum.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

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Murphy, Cruz, Rain Beat Verlander; Rangers Lead 1-0

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 8, 2011

American League

David Murphy
Nelson Cruz
Rangers 3 Tigers 2

David Murphy tripled home Mike Napoli and scored on Ian Kinsler's single in the second inning and Nelson Cruz connected for a solo homer off Justin Verlander before the second rain delay in the 5th inning sent Verlander to the bench for the night.

The Rangers' bullpen shut down Detroit on one hit over the final 4 1/3 innings after the Tigers scored two runs off Texas starter CJ. Wilson in the fifth.

The series resumes Sunday in Arlington, Texas at 7:45 pm EDT. Max Scherzer goes up the bump for the Tigers, facing the Rangers' Derek Holland

National League

The NL Championship Series between the Brewers and Cardinals begins Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee at 4:05 pm EDT. Zach Greinke (16-6), who has not lost at home all season, will start for the Brewers, while the Cardinals send Jaime Garcia (13-7) to the mound. In seven career starts against the Brewers, Gacia is 3-2 with one shutout and a 3.27 ERA.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Brewers Advance on Morgan Single in 10th; Carpenter, Furcal Make Cardinals Winners

Players of the Day for Friday, October 7, 2011

National League

Brewers 3 Diamondbacks 2, 10 innings

Morgan: walk-off
single nips D'Backs
Nyjer Morgan's ground single up the middle off closer John Axford brought home pinch-runner Carlos Gomez from second base with the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning to advance the Milwaukee Brewers to the NL championship series.

The Brewers were pushed to a game five when the dropped both games at Arizona and the Diamondbacks evened the series at two games apiece, forcing the game five finale at Milwaukee. The home team won every game in the series, though hame five was the only close one, as the average winning margin through the first four games was 4.75 runs.

Milwaukee, winners of the Central Division, host the wild card Cardinals - also from the Central division - at 4:05 pm EDT, Sunday.

Furdal: leadoff triple
Cardinals 1 Phillies 0

Carpenter: 3-Hit
Rafael Furcal socked a leadoff triple off Phillies' starter Roy Halladay, and Skip Schumaker's follow-up double quickly turned it into the only run scored in the game as Chris Carpenter delivered a virtuoso mound performance, blanking the Phillies on three hits to allow the Cardinals to advance to the NL championship series against Milwaukee.

Furcal and the rest of the Cardinals were tight in the field behind Carpenter's grinding work from the mound. The lanky St. Louis ace worked over the potent Philly lineup, fanning three without walking a batter, throwing 70 of 110 pitches to send the Phillies home for a winter of regret as the Cardinals take a flight to Milwaukee to carry on in the post-season.

American League

There were no AL games on Friday. The Rangers host the Tigers in game one of the league championship series Saturday at Arlington, Texas at 8:05 pm EDT.