Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 17, 2006
BASEBALL: NLCS Game Five
Liveblogging but with some interruptions anticipated
TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE NIGHT: Almost all World Championship teams have at least one Hall of Famer playing a significant role. Of course, more recent teams' players haven't gone on the ballot yet; of players to play for World Series winning teams since the 1994 strike, I believe only Wade Boggs has gone in the Hall, although most teams will meet the test - consider Pudge Rodriguez, Tom Glavine and Albert Pujols on the three remaining rosters. But for the period before 1994, only three teams had no Hall of Famers, four if you count one team that had a Hall of Famer who had retired by October (three of these four teams had Hall of Fame managers, though). Name the teams. Answer to go below the fold as the game progresses.
Chvez in the lineup again, regardless of how good Cliff Floyd says he feels. Reyes starts off hot, with a single, but Lo Duca's grounder takes out Reyes as the lead runner. On the whole, Weaver doesn't look like a guy who will throw a shutout tonight.
Another fielder's choice with Delgado after a Beltran single - two out, Lo Duca on second, Delgado on first. Wright whiffs.
Eckstein singles off Glavine, who I assume will also not fare as well on the Cardinals' second look at him. Still, he's the best pitching matchup the Mets have in this best-of-three remaining, so this remains a big game.
My son can now recite that anti-steroids ad from memory.
Buck says that despite the power of positive thinking we are also not likely to see Floyd pinch hitting. Chavez responds with a double down the left field line.
The strike zone doesn't love Glavine tonight.
Inning ends on a strike-em-out, throw-em-out DP. All in a day's work for Glavine and Lo Duca.
Two quick outs. Weaver is settling in. Make that three.
Once again, scoring first is likely to be important in this game, not that it was decisive last night.
Not...much...happening. Of course, with Glavine on the mound I should not complain.
Long delay while they fix first base...
Wright looks cold again.
Green nails a double right down the line; fan interference may have saved the Cards a run, as Delgado pulls up at third. Then again, Delgado isn't exactly the most aggressive baserunner.
But it's moot, as the suddenly un-frozen Jose Valentin follows with another double for two runs.
Glavine batting, two outs and Valentin on third. Groundout.
Bottom 4, 2-0 Mets
I'm back. And a rough inning for Glavine, who finally ends the Christy Mathewson act with a Pujols bomb to left and now a drip-drip Cardinal rally consisting of a walk to Rolen and dink singles by Edmonds and Belliard to right, and now a long at bat for Molina.
Molina walks, bases loaded and 2-0 for Weaver, a career .206 hitter.
Glavine gets another grounder, this one weakly to Reyes. But a costly inning not just in runs but in pitches thrown, plus Weaver doesn't lead off the fifth. Glavine has thrown 73 pitches through four innings.
Top Five, 2-2
They were saying Weaver may be making himself some money this postseason - maybe earning a second chance, but Weaver was really, really bad this year, 5.76 ERA and his K rate went off the table. If he is smart he'll stay in St. Louis with Dave Duncan (who specializes in mediocre veterans), a good organization, small-city media and supportive fans.
That said - Please, please go to the Cardinals bullpen.
Beltran rips one to right, but within Encarnacion's reach.
Buck says this is by far the biggest at bat of the night, Delgado up with a man on first and 2 outs. Um, didn't the Cards just leave the bases loaded? But Weaver gets Delgado.
Bottom Five, 2-2
Reyes almost made a really great catch there going over the shoulder on a bloop by Eckstein. Glavine's still getting eaten away here, and the bullpen will probably be in soon.
Preston Wilson tattoos a double to right, 3-2 Cards. Glavine's not fooling anyone.
Glavine's walking Pujols intentionally, and then getting pulled. I guess you don't ask Bradford to walk a guy intentionally, with his windup.
Encarnacion apparently can't bunt. But he can single. Bases loaded. Nobody out. This is trouble.
Bradford whiffs Rolen. Now, a DP can get them out of this. Easier said than done.
Top Six, 3-2 Cards
Somehow, they got out of that; I was trying unsuccessfully to walk the baby back to sleep and missed how.
Very nice grab by Pujols on a Green shot down the line, saving a double.
Weaver throws a serious brushback at Valentin. Valentin rips one foul - I think he's back.
Chavez is hacking again.
Bottom Six, 3-2 Cards
Weaver's coming out for a pinch hitter. Still, it feels like it's getting late early.
Big, high arcing homer to right for Duncan. 4-2.
Top Seven, 4-2 Cards
Rally cap time!
That Tucker at bat would have been a good time to see Cliff Floyd if he had been available.
1-2-3 inning. Six outs left or we face an elimination game against Carpenter and another with "staff" pitching.
Bottom Seven, 4-2 Cards
Pujols grounds out off Roberto Hernandez.
They're showing El Duque. He should be available for the Series, maybe Floyd will too. But only if they get there.
Gun says Roberto is throwing 95. Another ageless wonder on this team.
Top Eight, 4-2 Cards
Delgado doesn't look too good either. Until he drills one just foul into the RF corner.
Infield hit for Delgado! Well, in the sense that Belliard was playing in shallow right.
Man, Wright is due. And if he wasn't in such a slump he'd usually be the best guy to have up representing the tying run down 2.
And he hits one off Hornsby on the left field fence. As I have said before, Wright reminds me of Rogers Hornsby, at least in his build and batting stance (not that I expect him to hit .400)
Green, on the other hand - not that guy. But he's the guy we have. Edmonds hauls in a bloop with a basket catch.
Down two, game we really need the Mets to win, second and third, two out - and it all comes down to Jose Valentin. Did you expect this, in April?
Cliff Floyd looks like he really wants to grab a bat here.
A second high curve, 2-2. But the third one drops in and freezes Valentin. The odds on these Mets just got very long.
Top Nine, 4-2 Cardinals
Longshot territory, now. Another night off for Heilman so far, as Mota starts the ninth.
About 40% of Cardinals fans are blonde and female. And wearing red.
Miles triples to right. The Cardinals now - properly - have contempt for Shawn Green's defense in right. For a guy who opened the postseason with a great play with the glove, he has struggled terribly out there.
Forget winning the game, the potential squeeze play gives La Russa the chance to manage real hard. That's what this is all about.
Eckstein pops up in the infield; now there's two outs and Wilson up. Please, don't walk Wilson and get Pujols up there.
Top Nine, 4-2 Cards
Chavez, probably Franco, and Reyes due up. Need two guys to get on to bring back the boppers. If Franco gets on, with Reyes' wheels behind him, you have to run Anderson Hernandez for him.
Floyd is on deck. Interesting.
Chavez is not inspiring confidence. And he grounds out.
Here comes the big man. A risky move, down one. I can't fault Randolph too much; he's a fine hitter and you can run for him, if he gets out of the box.
Floyd grounds out. He hobbles to first, but really anyone but Reyes, and maybe Reyes, is an easy out on that ball anyway.
Reyes is wound up pretty tight here.
Gotta go through Carpenter now to force a Game Seven. After that . . . well, no win in Game Six, no after that to worry about, is there? The Mets always have to do it the hard way.
The team with one Hall of Famer who retired before October? The 1988 Dodgers, Don Sutton's last stop, also managed by Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda. And probably no other Hall of Famer - not Hershiser, not Gibson, not Scioscia.
The other three?
The 1981 Dodgers, also managed by Lasorda. Again, a couple of guys with good careers - Fernando, Garvey, Lopes, Cey, Pedro Guerrero - but that's all she wrote.
The 1984 Tigers, managed by Sparky, who's in. This team may yet get Morris in, and Whitaker, Trammell and Darrell Evans may deserve induction, and Gibson and Lance Parrish also had good careers.
The 1990 Reds, whose best candidate is Barry Larkin, who I believe should go in. Otherwise . . . Paul O'Neill? Jose Rijo? Eric Davis?