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Cardinals Weave Together Game 5 Win

My thoughts before this evening’s NLCS Game 5 were that whichever team came away with the victory tonight would almost certainly win the NL Pennant and go on to face the Tigers in the World Series.  With the series tied 2-2, if the Mets won Game 5, it would be hard to believe that they would lose twice in a row at home and allow St. Louis to walk away with the title.  If the Cardinals won Game 5, Chris Carpenter would pitch Game 6 and although he wasn’t on top of his game in Game 2, it would be hard to fathom last year’s Cy Young winner struggling twice in a row.  That in mind, you can see why I was convinced that tonight’s winner had an easy path to the World Series, while the loser would have to struggle against mighty opposition. 

Jeff Weaver went into his start looking to duplicate his effort in Game 1, but come away with the win this time

Cardinals’ starter Jeff Weaver pitched a solid game in the NLCS opener, but lost because he was outpitched by Mets’ starter Tom Glavine.  Glavine dominated the Cardinals for 7 shutout innings in Game 1.  Both pitchers were looking to duplicate their earlier performances, but in Weaver’s case, he was looking to come away with a “W” instead of an “L”. 

Glavine failed in his bid to defeat the Cardinals again

There was a clear difference between the Tom Glavine of Game 1 and the Tom Glavine of Game 5.  Perhaps it was the shift from Shea Stadium to Busch Stadium, or perhaps the veteran southpaw just had an off day, but whatever it was, Glavine’s ineffectiveness tonight has put the Mets into a difficult spot.  Glavine pitched just 4 innings in Game 5, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 2.  He allowed a 2nd inning solo Homerun to Albert Pujols, and surrendered another run in the 5th inning, putting 3 runners on base, and leaving Chad Bradford to escape the jam, which the submariner did.  It was a far-from-impressive outing for the lefty Glavine, and one that he will surely often regret if the Mets aren’t able to come back in the NLCS. 

Jeff Weaver on the other hand pitched well again.  Weaver has, very surprisingly, been St. Louis’ best pitcher in this series, and his Game 5 effort was a 6 inning, 6 hit, 2 run, 2 walk, 1 strikeout outing, good enough to earn the veteran righthander the victory.  Weaver allowed both runs in the 4th inning, and those would be the only runs the Mets would manage to score in Game 5.  He departed to a loud ovation from the Busch Stadium faithful after 95 pitches of rock-solid work. 

Albert Pujols led the Cardinals with a 4th inning blast

I’ll say it again, as Pujols goes, so go the Cardinals.  In Game 5, the Cardinals #5 was going, going, GONE.  Pujols hit a solo homerun to narrow the gap to 2-1 New York in the 4th inning.  It wasn’t a big, “is he on steroids?” type Homerun, but Pujols’ blast rocketted to leftfield in a hurry.  St. Louis would add another run in the 4th on an RBI single by Ronnie Belliard, to tie the game at 2-2.  In the 5th, the Cardinals knocked Tom Glavine out of the ballgame after Preston Wilson gave St. Louis the lead with an RBI double.  The Redbirds would go on to add their fourth run of the game on a pinch-hit, solo Homerun by Chris Duncan.  The offense came away looking good after a 4-run, 10-hit effort in Game 5. 

Even Jose Reyes’ energy couldn’t spark the Mets bats

New York’s offensive output of just 2 runs was unimpressive, especially considering that every player in the Mets’ starting lineup got a hit with the exception of pitcher Tom Glavine, and that 4 of the hits went for extra-bases.  So what was the problem?  Well, for one, each of the Mets hitters only had one base-knock.  That means there was no clear leader for the Mets today, something Willie Randolph’s team wasn’t used to given Carlos Delgado’s terrific leadership earlier in the NLCS.  Without a single hitter having a big day, the Mets offense sputtered, scoring just 2 runs on a 2-RBI double by Jose Valentin in the 4th inning.  It wasn’t good enough to earn a win as the Cardinals doubled-up on the Mets offensively. 

Adam Wainwright has emerged as a solid closer for Tony La Russa

The bullpens were as good as ever for the Mets and Cardinals in Game 5, with both relief corps finishing-off the opposing batters without surrendering a run.  For the Cardinals, it mattered, because a 2-run lead is never safe against a potent offense such as that of the Mets.  For the Mets, it was a futile effort because that potent offense failed to score in the final 5 innings of the ballgame.  Either way, the bullpens deserve a ton of credit for keeping the score at 4-2. 

FINAL SCORE: Cardinals 4 Mets 2

Pitchers of Record:

W: Jeff Weaver

L: Tom Glavine

S: Adam Wainwright

Game 6 is tomorrow and the Mets will send rookie John Maine to the mound to face Cardinals’ ace Chris Carpenter.  If Carpenter is on top of his game, I see no reason why the Cardinals should fail to end the NLCS at Shea Stadium tomorrow night. 

________________________________________________________________

Trivia!

Here’s the answer to yesterday’s question…

Q:  Tigers’ outfielder Magglio Ordonez was selected to the 2006 All-Star game as an injury replacement for whom?

A:  Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez was forced to miss the All-Star game due to a knee ailment.  Ordonez was selected to replace Ramirez. 

Today’s question is…

Cardinals’ starter Jeff Weaver was drafted by and played his first 3.5 years with which team?

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