Game 5: Cardinals 4, Mets 2
Here is a Canon Powershot video from outside the Ozzie Smith Suite to show what Busch Stadium looked like after Albert Pujols homered off Tom Glavine to help St. Louis rally for the Game 5 victory in the National League Championship Series:
Not only will there not be that Subway Series that many people had predicted at the end of the regular season, but now we are one Cardinals win away from all eyes on the Midwest. We also are one win away from just the latest example of the team with baseball’s best record not winning a world championship. And for the Mets to change that outcome, they have to answer this theoretically lopsided matchup:
Chris Carpenter, reigning NL Cy Young Award winner and possible 2006 Cy Young winner, vs. rookie John Maine.
But for all of us who have been following this series closely, this much is certain: It’s a battle royale. The Mets are going to be back in front of their home crowd. Carlos Beltran will be playing again. Nothing is a foregone conclusion by any means.
I just looked through some postseason history and found this:
– The last time there was a sweep in one LCS and a 4-2 outcome in the other, it was 1995 when Cleveland beat Seattle in six and Atlanta beat Cincinnati in four.
– The last time there was a sweep in one LCS and a seven-game series in the other, it was 1988 when Oakland swept the Red Sox and Los Angeles finally eliminated this same Mets franchise.
That is what I keep thinking about: What a contrast between what the Tigers did to Oakland in an ALCS that seems like it was a month ago, and in this series that is like a heavyweight fight with each round being given to the boxer in the other corner.
It’s not outlandish to expect Maine to come up with a huge performance. You think of what someone like Brandon Backe did to the Cardinals for Houston in a past NLCS. But it is really hard to imagine Carpenter going through another hammering like the one he took in Game 2. I would say definitely advantage, Cardinals. With the proviso that the other fighter has always come right back with an answer so far in what has been a fantastic, if rain-infested, NLCS.
This was my first visit to new Busch and it was positively stunning. There was some murmuring on local sports talk radio about whether the crowd in the lower bowl here has become too conservative and even controlled. Hogwash. Anyone at Busch for Game 5 will be hard-pressed to remember a more thunderous/constant crowd display than what just happened. After Preston Wilson came through with the bat, my seat was literally swaying like a tremor.
Re Pujols vs. Glavine and their little soap opera: Sir Albert walks the walk. Not that there was ever much doubt. Two great warriors, just trading punches, like the series in general.
See you from New York, and will get back to the Powerblogging once I’m at Shea. Have to sleep for an hour and a half, and you never, ever complain when you’re watching postseason baseball!