The St. Louis Cardinals are now one game away from being Natinal League Champions. On the 27th of September, I wrote:
RIP, best Cardinal team I have ever lived to see. Maybe this will be a reverse of previous years, and we'll randomly see you show up when it most matters. But if not, I'll miss you.
It seems that they have chosen to randomly show up. This team seems to be built out of an entirely different stuff than the regular season team that we saw this year. The regular season squad would have simply curled over and died after the Mets put up two runs behind Glavine, especially after the soul-crushing loss that we witnessed on Sunday. I certainly felt a bit deflated afterward.
But then Albert hit a home run. Instantly, all the junior high school gossip about him was thrown out the window. Albert's not performing; this team needs it's best player; he better back up this stuff he said about Glavine: All gone.
That home run didn't even tie the game, but what it did do is let the Cardinals believe that they actually come back and win this thing. The successive at bats just seemed to look better after that. It never felt like the Mets were out of the game after that (they certaintly threatened to tie the game multiple times), but it felt like the Cardinals were in it.
There is a lot more praise to go around last night, of course. Weaver is beginning to look like the player that he was meant to be when he left Detroit (by the way, Jeremy Bonderman is one of the players Detroit got in return for Weaver, if you like those storylines). He deserves a lot of the credit for the team not deflating under pressure. There were a couple of points last night, where a lesser, not to be named, pitcher would have collapsed and let the game be opened up:
- He was getting squeezed in the 1st, and allowed a first and second, one out situation--he got Delgado to hit into a forceout, and then got a strikeout against David Wright with runners on first and third
- In the fourth, when the Mets put up their two runs, they were still left with a runner on second with no outs--Weaver worked through the back of the Mets order, and got the guys he should have, and stopped the bleeding
- In the fifth, he came to the mound, visibly starting to get tired, and got out the heart of the Mets order, and then came and got three more outs in the sixth
Weaver didn't look at his best last night, and his line of six hits, two walks, and one strikeout through six isn't exactly indicative of dominance, but he got his job done.
And again, what can you say about Adam Wainwright? The guy apparently is completely unflappable--he comes into the game, in a very debatable decision, and proceeds to get all four outs he needs with nary a baserunner allowed, and two strikeouts.
This team now has to take one win out of the next two, and they will have completed the most complicated, roundabout route to a World Series berth that I have ever witnessed. But for now, I'm going to bask in the glory of a hard-fought win.
Update [2006-10-18 13:42:33 by lboros]: a quick request: SB Nation is doing a bit of market research. we're asking our readers to take a short survey, which you can access at this link. strictly voluntary; thanks in advance to those of you who take the survey.