“I woke last night to the sound of thunder/
How far off I sat and wondered/
Ain’t it funny how the night moves/
When you just don’t seem to have as much to lose/
Strange how the night moves/
With autumn closing in”-Bob Seger, Nightmoves
How about those St. Louis Cardinals? The National Media is in a puddle of tears. Those Midwest Birds are swinging the wrecking ball through their field of dreams again. One night after the Kansas City Royals send the Los Angeles Angels packing, the Cardinals put the Los Angeles Dodgers on the brink of elimination. This sets up a scary ordeal. No Yankees. No Red Sox. No Tigers. No Angels. Potentially no Dodgers? What will MLB Network talk about all night and who will console ESPN? My answer is who cares. The Cards are simply doing it again. Defying expectations. Sneaking up on monsters. Turning the tables. They like ripping up the October scripts that Hollywood writers like to craft.
Monday night was another slot in the Greatest Hits section, with the Cardinals bringing the nightmoves to Busch Stadium for a Game 3 winner.
John Lackey going out and delivering a big game 7 inning shutdown performance. People questioning if Lackey deserved the Game 3 start and I had to laugh at those people. His dominance last night had to bring back good old chilly October 2013 feelings, right? Lackey outpitched Hyun-Jin Ryu and gave the Dodgers all they could handle.
Matt Kemp complained about the strike zone because the Dodgers aren’t themselves if complaining doesn’t occur. Any obstacle standing in their way will get a mention. I am surprised they didn’t ask for a pacifier on Monday night because the pitching from the Cards was outstanding. Sure, Trevor Rosenthal made hearts bleed a little in the 9th, but he got the job done. Pat Neshek won back some sleep with a nasty 8th inning performance.
Mike Matheny didn’t make any troubling idiotic moves last night. He continues to out manage Don Mattingley in a battle of ex-baseball players playing coach.
That Kolten Wong guy put his foot down and stomped the Dodgers for a late great 2 run home run. How come this guy can’t start every stinking game? Right field is debatable but second base shouldn’t be a question. Wong needs to start. Sorry Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso, but true talent tromps true grit.
Matt Carpenter, the owner of a brand new long term contract this past summer, delivered another crushing blow to the Dodgers. I wonder if Don’s crew has nightmares about Carpenter walking to the plate with his bare hands gripping a baseball bat and that thousand mile stare darting back out at the pitcher. If there is one young man that doesn’t scare easy or breathe heavy, it’s Carpenter. He took over the “Carpenter Sheriff Role” when Chris retired and continues to amaze. No Cardinal makes better in game adjustments than this guy.
Tuesday, Shelby Miller takes the mound against Clayton Kershaw. Miller is rested and ready to impress. The Cards may be bitter about losing the World Series to Boston, but Miller has a chip on his shoulder from not being able to fully participate. He had to watch the action from the bullpen. He seemed edgy about the subject in January but delivered the company line to be civil. Now, it’s time for the young man to collect. He changed his entire season in late August when he committed to his curveball. With some help from fellow Cardinals scribe John Nagel, I unearthed the reversal in Miller’s season. When “7 inning performance” Shelby is on the bump, he is throwing his curve 35-40 percent of the time. When Miller is right, he is throwing the heater and the hook all night. He’s similar to Lance Lynn in that variety. He can ramp up his fastball when he wants and drop a curve in when needed. Lynn has a few different fastballs, but Miller relies on it in the same manner. A sinker ball did make an appearance in 2014, but Miller only threw 97 sinkers all year compared to 545 curves and 1,904 fastballs. He didn’t rely on a changeup as much this year as a cutter on occasion. More than anything, Shelby became a pitcher and not a thrower. His stats aren’t pretty but he finished well and has the chance to go out and finish off the Dodgers tonight.
It’s October again and the Cards are out on the town. While other teams pack up their 2014 memories, the Cards are busy creating their finest moments.
Instead of being out-slugged this series, the Cards have more homers and runs than the Dodgers and are matching their pitching. The Dodgers are on the brink. Again.
Sign stealing was Game 1. A bad strike zone was Game 3’s fault. What will the Dodgers cry about if Game 4 doesn’t go their way? Bad barbecue in Texas. Fellow Lone Star’s John Lackey and Shelby Miller are taking their best shot of wrecking the West Coast party. Lackey did his part on Monday. Now it’s the young gun’s turn. Shelby wanted it. Now he gets it.
Tuesday could be another special night in Cardinals history. Where will you be, folks?