The St. Louis Cardinals were always going to need more than one run, but in the sixth inning of Game 2 Mike Matheny's decision to leave Michael Wacha in to pitch to David Ortiz made that a very abrupt reality. Wacha, who'd just walked his fourth batter, gave up a long home run, and the Boston Red Sox took a 2-1 lead into the seventh inning.
This is a hard one to explain in terms of costs and benefits; Wacha wasn't going to go another inning either way, and the Cardinals' bullpen has plenty of bullets left. But that's precisely what explains Matheny's behavior here: It wasn't about keeping Wacha around or managing the bullpen. We can't infer strategy from the move, only a belief that a hot starter coming up on 100 pitches is a better bet than a left-handed specialist against the Red Sox' best hitter.
Which—and I realize we have the benefit of hindsight here—seems sadly mistaken. We can complain all we want about the way these one-batter relievers extend games and slow down an already-long season, but the postseason is exactly what they were invented for. Where else does Randy Choate fit, if not right there?