Game 2: Cardinals 9, Mets 6

Thoughts and notes from Game 2 in the wee hours before flying to St. Louis:

The best news for Billy Wagner is that there is no customary travel/media day between the second and third games. He will not be asked repeatedly to explain how he came into a tie game in the top of the ninth and gave up a leadoff homer to So Taguchi and three runs in the inning to take the loss. If the situation calls for it, he will merely go straight back into the closer role the next night, typical of the regular season.

Taguchi’s game-winning homer in a pivotal moment reminded me of Ozzie Smith’s homer in the 1985 NLCS.

It will be interesting to see how both teams respond tonight, considering their travel schedules. The Cardinals’ team bus left Shea at 1:28 a.m. ET, meaning players probably would hit the sack back home in St. Louis perhaps around 5 a.m. CT. Then they get to the ballpark perhaps in the 3 or 4 o’clock hour. As for your friendly blogger, this one officially goes down as an all-nighter, with some attempted Zs on a 6 a.m. flight from New York.

Here’s something I had to pass along because Preston Wilson asked me to. He was taking a peek at ESPN Baseball Tonight on the clubhouse monitor before heading to the team bus, and they were showing a Web Gem. "Why do they always have to be diving plays to make a Web Gem?" he asked. "Show a guy who gets a great jump on a ball and doesn’t have to dive." He specifically cited Endy Chavez’s diving catch in Game 1 as an example. "Endy first broke backwards on the ball, and then he had to hit the ground to make the catch. It was a nice catch. I’m just saying, watch outfielders who get a great jump. Make that a Web Gem. Everyone wants to see a player having to hit the grass." Sounds logical to me, especially coming from an outfielder.

The 2006 NLCS Game 1 ticket was kind of cursed. If you bought one of those for Shea Stadium, then first of all you came out to the ballpark on Wednesday night and waited through rain and then learned that the game was postponed. And it was sad enough that night with the news of Cory Lidle’s fatal plane crash. Then those same Game 1 ticket holders were required to use that ticket for Friday, as Game 2 ticket holders were the ones who saw the Mets’ series-opening victory behind Tom Glavine and Carlos Beltran. The Game 1 ticket folks sat through four-plus hours on a cold night and saw the team somehow lose this one.

Many people are thinking that the Cardinals are in the driver’s seat because they now go home to face Steve Trachsel (who gave up Mark McGwire’s 62nd homer at old Busch in 1998), Oliver Perez and Tom Glavine, who is expected to pitch on short rest. But from what we are seeing in this series, forget expectations. This has the makings of a surprising, go-the-distance dogfight, in contrast to the ALCS.

It’s still hard to imagine that Carlos Delgado wasn’t the man of the night. Two big homers and it didn’t matter in the end. Baseball is that way sometimes. Do you think this guy is enjoying being in the playoffs after all those years, or what?

What do you think? Did the Taguchi homer cost the Mets the series? Are the Cards in control back home? Or are the Mets still the best team in the NL? And if this series goes the distance, could the winner have a leg up on what could be an overly rested Tigers team?


  1. SomeBallyard

    Interesting comment by Preston Wilson. Ballplayers, of course, understand that principle of reporting.

    I think the Mets will take this series, simply because St. Louis is not nearly as powerful as past Cardinal teams. Unfortunately I think whoever the NL sends to the World Series is going to get pounded by the Tigers, who seem to be this year’s team of destiny.

    Michael Norton – Some Ballyard


    The home run and the follow up runs could be the turning point of the series. The Mets bull pen was considered superior and Wagner was considered almost unhitable. The Cards now have those monkies off their back. They now have confidence they can come back against the Mets bull pin. Since the Mets starters are weak, except Glavine, they needed that bull pin. Cards in 6.


    Homefield advantage is now the the Cards’. Game 3 will be very pivital in which way this series goes. Game threes usually tell a lot. The Tigers will be tough to beat this year. I don’t know if the Mets can do it if they go to the WS.

    ***Question: Would you consider it a “good” season or a “disappointing” season if the Mets lose in the WS. (Same goes for NLDS)

    IMO, now that the Yankees are out I think it would be a disappointment if the Mets don’t win it all. Think about the thought process at the end of the regular season. It was all Yankees/Mets, Mets/Yankees. Now the Mets’ assumed “biggest obsticle” is gone. I think the Mets will go as far as their starting pitchers will take them. You can’t rely on your bullpen to bail you out everyday in the post season. we will see. T-minus 7.5 Hours till game time.

  4. Arielle

    The Mets are still alive and well. That ***** to have that game 1 ticket though.

    For the 2004 ALCS, I got a ticket to game 5 because of the rainout of what was supposed to be game three. Game 5 was the 14 inning marathon when the Sox won on David Ortiz’s bloop into CF.

    I think the Mets will still win the NLCS. Last night’s game was just messy all around. When it is 4-4 in the third inning, you know its gonna be a long night.

    I still haven’t decided who I’d root for if it was Detroit /Mets in the WS. I love both of those teams.



    I hope the A’s win tonight and give the Mets a chance to catch up to the Tigers. Tough loss at Shea Friday night, but, the crowd was lame and I’m sure that had big impact. Wagner’s been awesome up until last night and will be again. Mets will come back just like they’ve done all year long. It was a reality check for everyone!


    I would love nothing more than to see Detroit and St Louis in the World Series, just to prove to all that California and the Northeast do not have the market cornered on great baseball teams. I do think Detroit is the team of destiny this year. As for the Cards-Mets series, it’s now best of 5 and the Cards are the home team. We’ll see!!!


    formyvendors: Re your comment, I wouldn’t worry about that. It’s not the general perception or worry by anyone. The White Sox beat Houston last year. The Cardinals are in their third straight NLCS, and Florida won it all in 2003. I’m not even sure where you’d be concerned about it — those were the old days. New winners every year, record overall MLB attendance. Leave that topic alone, it’s so 1997; the wealth has been spread. – Mark/


    Preston Wilson is right on–made the same observation. Also, keep in mind when picking against the ‘birds how many times the “strongest” teams don’t win the Series. Two hot starters and a few clutch hits generally win it all. Cardinals finally win again!


    Additional thought to all the people out there who think the Tigers are unbeatable(and maybe deservedly so)–all anyone heard up to and after Game one of the Tigers/Yankees was how the Yankees lineup was the best of all-time and how could the Tigers even win one game?! Congrats to Detroit for making those comments as foolish as they were, but with all due respect that is why they go ahead and play the game!


    To mlblogosphere: It’s the way the networks jerk around the schedules that has me bothered. Everything centers around New York, Boston, Atlanta, and California (well, no Boston/Atlanta this year!!!) We in St Louis know Cardinal nation encompasses the entire country and is a force to be reckoned with, and yet the networks cater to the East and West coast. How can a team who has made it to the post-season year after year and has such a big following not get scheduled prime time coverage? First we must see if a New York team is playing or not to determine who gets the nighttime slot. How ridiculous is that?!

    It’s beginning to look like a St Louis/Detroit match up, hope I’m not counting my chickens too early. I love it!!!! Go Cards!!! It will be a sea of red again tonight (Sunday), and I will be there screaming my head off with the rest of the best baseball fans in the country.


    I so want Detroit. I know everyone is ready to give them their rings. The pitching is unhittable, their hitting is unstoppable, the bullpen is perfect, the American League is so much better, that no one from the National League has a chance. Well I still remember 1968. A guy by the name of Bob Gibson had 12 CGSO, he had a 1.12 ERA (for the WHOLE season), he had 17 SO in game one of the WS he won game 4 on short rest and only stumbled a bit on short rest in game 7 and Detroit stole the series. In 1968 the Cardinals were a vastly better team than the Tigers. I want that Series back even if we have to steal it. Avenge #45 for Pujols, Carpenter, Rolen and Edmonds first. Go Cardinals.

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