ST LOUIS, MO (CBS) – Some random thoughts as we ready for Game 3 here in St. Louis:
– We know one thing is for sure; Games 3, 4, and 5 will feature National League-style baseball.
– Stumbled across some interesting numbers after reading Bernie Miklasz’s column in the St Louis Post-Dispatch:
- The Cards are 26-6 at home since August 11th, 18-3 since September 6th.
- St. Louis pitchers have an ERA of 2.98 at home this season, 1.55 in the postseason.
- Cardinals relievers have given up just one earned run in 18 innings during the play-offs, meaning Sox hitters must get to their starters.
– As for not having a DH, it’s clearly a huge disadvantage for Boston, as either Mike Napoli or David Ortiz will have to sit (most likely Napoli) for at least two, maybe all three games here with just one at-bat per game. Napoli has heated up after hitting his bomb against Justin Verlander in Game 3 of the ALCS and just three at-bats in three games is a huge loss for Boston.
– With no DH, Boston’s Game 3 line-up will look something like this:
When you write it down, it looks a lot different than what we’re used to seeing. As you look at it, one thing that stands out is the lack of power behind David Ortiz. If I’m St Louis, I give Ortiz the Barry Bonds treatment and walk him almost every time up.
– Watching Xander Bogaerts take ground balls at workout day, you find yourself shaking your head in amazement at his natural ability. He makes everything look so easy.
– If the offense struggles in Game 3 for Boston, maybe we see Bogaerts and Middlebrooks in the line-up together. And, I say that with lots of respect to Stephen Drew, who has played some incredible defense this postseason, but is just 4-for-42 in these playoffs. Of course, you could also see Drew and Middlebrooks together in a line-up.
– Which Jake Peavy will we see on the mound tonight? The Peavy who was brilliant for 5 2/3 innings (1R, 5H, 0BB, 3K) vs. Tampa Bay in the ALDS or the one who was rocked in 3+ innings (7R, 5H, 3BB, 1K) vs. Detroit in the ALCS? My money is on a big game from him as he looks to erase some bad memories from his postseason career (0-3, 10.57 ERA in 4 starts).
– The other thing about Peavy is how much he loves the National League. He’s been constantly carrying around a bat during batting practice, and seems to love to swing the bat. It seems to be more of a distraction to the other Sox pitchers.
– Clay Buchholz threw from flat ground again on Friday at Busch Stadium. I asked John Farrell for an update on Clay and he emphatically said again that Clay will start Game 4 Sunday night. Clay experienced tightness in his last start and it sounds more and more like fatigue. With that said, depending upon whom you ask, the Sox are looking for 3-6 good innings out of Buchholz, with Felix Doubront waiting in the wings.
– Busch Stadium just oozes a great feel of baseball and a rich Cardinal tradition. There are statues, pictures, and plenty of Cardinal red everywhere. I love it and it’s truly a great backdrop for the next 3 games.
– Being at the park Friday, one thing is for sure: day baseball would have been a lot warmer than these night games. It will be cold during all 3 of these games.
– I know it’s said time and time again, but the folks around the park couldn’t be much nicer.
– Great to see some prominent Sox alum here working the games: Mike Lowell, Sean Casey, and Kevin Millar are all working for the MLB network.
– Enjoy the games, and remember, it doesn’t get much better than this if you’re a fan of the game…
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