In an effort to keep things positive, to look forward to games still winnable, and – well – to ultimately put the bad taste of last night’s NLCS Game One loss out of our collective mouths, let’s look at some things we can reasonably expect to see tonight and beyond:
- Tony La Russa will not hesitate to use the bullpen. Sounds strange to say that, doesn’t it? Expect a quick hook. Chris Carpenter is likely to get pulled from his next start while throwing a perfect game in the third inning.
- Don’t expect to see Jaime Garcia on the road the remainder of this season. Heck, Tony might come up with a great new baseball innovation where he platoons starting pitchers, ensuring that Jaime only pitches at home the rest of his Cardinals career. (Note: I don’t put much stock in the whole home/away thing with Garcia, and yesterday’s meltdown was preventable, in my opinion – but the sample size is getting alarmingly larger.)
- More batters will be hit by pitches.
- Lance Berkman will finally just bunt down the third base line. Sure, the premise of hitting away against a ridiculous shift is because you still have the chance to do damage, ideally over the wall. But the Cardinals will inevitably find themselves in a situation where they so desperately just need any baserunner that Puma will bunt. And he might just wind up on second.
- Albert Pujols will finally hit a home run this postseason. It will wind up being an inning-ending double play after he passes two baserunners during his trot.
- David Freese is going to be the NLCS Most Valuable Player.
- Allen Craig will play center field before the series is over.
- Yadier Molina will allow a passed ball. Not sure why or how this has happened, but Yadi has looked really bad on a couple of pitches in the last month or so – ones that we would normally expect him to block or smother. Understanding that as Cardinal fans, we’ve been spoiled with great catcher defense for the last decade or so, it’s still been surprising to see so many balls scoot past or away from Molina.
- Kyle Lohse will be called upon in relief. And he will get the win.
- Ryan Braun will hit more home runs. Duh.
- Randy Wolf will surrender double digit hits. (Note that I am not really going too far out on limbs on some of these.)
Perhaps one of my most important expectations is that this series is far from over. Step back, take a deep breath, and continue watching. There’s a lot of great baseball yet to be played.
That goes along with my expectation that somewhere along the lines in this series we’ll see “a first”. Everyone is so quick to point out that “no team has won an NLCS after losing game one by X number of runs while someone in a grey pullover sweater watches from a leather recliner in Muscatine, Iowa” that they also lose sight of the fact that someone eventually has to do it, right? (I told you this post was going to be disgustingly positive and upbeat.)
Finally, and this is almost like the lock of the century, I expect that we will see a Brewer home run followed by something vaguely similar to this:
So whatever you do, make sure the DVR is set.