NLCS notes and observations

Only 2 games have been played in the NLCS so far and the drama has been incredible. Indeed, the whole postseason so far has been full of drama, not only for the Cards but for the other teams as well.  Most of the games have been decided by only one run.  There have been several extra-inning games, including one between the Royals and the Angels  during the ALDS that lasted 18 innings.  Despite the sweatshirts that say “Always October,” I’m so glad it isn’t always October because I don’t think my heart could take this much drama all the time.  The NLCS is all tied up and now moves to San Francisco for the next 3 games.  The Cards will have to win at least 2 out of 3.  Three out of 3 would be preferable, but I’ll take 2 out of 3.

Here’s some of my observations about the NLCS so far:

Media madness.  Please, Fox Sports 1, could you please replace Harold Reynolds?  I’d even be happy with Tim McCarver.  We wouldn’t have had to hear Harold call the Cards’ beautiful Saturday alternative uniforms “dingy.”  “Dingy,” in laundry terms, means “gray” and those uniforms are ivory.  If Harold can’t tell the difference between dingy and ivory, perhaps an eye exam is in order.  And we wouldn’t have had to hear so much gushing for the Giants.   Harold has also said things that are completely wrong.  Instead of the national broadcast guys, how about the guys that announce the games during the regular season? They know more about the teams and they wouldn’t screw things up.

Wainwright’s troubles.  Adam had a great September, winning the NL Pitcher of the Month award, but he hasn’t pitched well at all during the playoffs.  Adam says that his elbow isn’t bothering him, but the results say different.  Adam is on track to start Game 5 on Wednesday night in San Francisco.  We Cardinals fans will be holding our breath.  We will also be hoping that Matheny will have either Michael Wacha or Marco Gonzalez ready to eat up innings if necessary.

Yadi’s injury.  Poor Yadi had already been out for an extended period of time during the regular season due to the injury to his thumb, and now he’s been injured (pulled oblique muscle) during the playoffs.  Matheny must now have to decide whether to take Yadi off the NLCS roster (rendering him ineligible for the World Series roster should the Cards get that far) or leave him on the roster in the hopes that Yadi will recover.  I’m sure glad I don’t have to make that decision.  Mike put Tony Cruz in last night and that proved disastrous during the top of the ninth.  Lackey is the starting pitcher tomorrow and I’m hoping that Matheny starts Pierzynski instead of Cruz.  AJ caught Lackey in Boston, so he should know how to handle him. The Cards treaded water during the season while Yadi was on the DL, but the postseason is a different matter.  Yadi’s injury will have one of 2 effects on the team – they’ll either get their act together and “win it all for Yadi,” or they will fall apart without him behind the plate. I read tonight, however, that Yadi played catch today, so perhaps the injury is not as bad as originally thought.

Rosenthal.  Every time Rosey comes into the game in the ninth inning, Cardinals Nation (we fans, not the restaurant) holds their collective breath.  Some of us watch with our hands in front of our eyes – we can’t stand to see what may happen.  Will Rosey put men on base?  And if so, will they score?  Neshek was dealing in last night’s game – he should be been left in to finish the game.  Rosey may have been the NL leader in saves during the regular season, but if he can’t close out the game, the Cards need to find another closer.  It would be nice for Rosey to pitch a 1-2-3 inning too.

Hitting.  Thank goodness the Cards have been hitting home runs at opportune moments, or they would have been down 0-2 in the NLCS, instead of the series being tied up (and they wouldn’t have won the NLDS either).  The Cards need some regular, ordinary hits – singles, doubles, etc.  Taking a walk doesn’t hurt either.  Or, if the Cards get runners on base, they can’t get them home.  They had that problem during the regular season as well.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Wow, she’s being really hard on the Cards.”  It’s all constructive criticism, and the only reason I’m so critical is because I love the team.  I know how talented our guys are and what they’re capable of.   So come on, guys, get it together and show us you can beat the Giants.  We’re waiting impatiently until tomorrow at 3 PM CST for Round 3.

That’s all for now! Thanks as always for reading.  Go Cards!

Diane

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2014 NLDS Busch Stadium games information

As I type, the Cards are playing in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers.  I love October – the cool, crisp weather, the beautiful leaves, and especially the postseason.  I, like many others. didn’t think the Cards would get to the postseason this year, but we were pleasantly surprised, weren’t we?  🙂  Since the Cards didn’t get home field advantage, games 3 and 4 will be played at Busch Stadium.  Here is all the information you’ll need if you have tickets to either one of these games (wish I did!):

2014 NLDS at BUSCH STADIUM

St. Louis Cardinals – Los Angeles Dodgers

How fans can enjoy Division Series baseball and rally support for the Cardinals

ST. LOUIS, MO (October 3, 2014) – For the second year in a row, the Cardinals clinched a Central Division championship and punched a ticket back to the National League Division Series. The Cardinals are facing the rival Los Angeles Dodgers who have home-field advantage for the best-of-five series. The Cardinals are making their fourth consecutive postseason appearance and the 27th postseason appearance in franchise history (#PostCards). A limited number of tickets remain for the Division Series games at Busch Stadium at cardinals.com/postseason. Here are details on how fans can enjoy postseason baseball in St. Louis.

 GAME SCHEDULE & HIGHLIGHTS

NLDS Game 1 – Friday, October 3, 2014 – Dodger Stadium – 5:37 p.m. CT (FS1)

NLDS Game 2 – Saturday, October 4, 2014 – Dodger Stadium – 8:37 p.m. CT (MLBN)

NLDS Game 3 – Monday, October 6, 2014 – Busch Stadium – 8:37 p.m. CT [OR 8:07 p.m. CT if LAA/KC is over] (FS1)

  • 4 p.m. Pre-Game Pep Rally in Ballpark Village Parking Lot and Busch II Infield
    • Music by DJ Todd Thomas, entertainment, prizes, Fredbird, Team Fredbird and more
    • Former Cardinal will make an appearance
  • Gates will open 2 hours prior to first pitch
  • 40,000 fans receive a Cardinals Rally Towel, courtesy of Edward Jones
  • Pre-Game Ceremony starts at approximately 30 minutes prior to first pitch
    • National Anthem by Four-Digit Chord, an a Capella vocal group of Civilian, Active Duty, and Retired Military volunteers employed at Department of Defense agencies in the St. Louis Metro-East area
    • Colors presented by the Joint Services Color Guard, a distinguished group of the finest military service-member volunteers attached to the US Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
    • A volunteer group of active duty and retired Coast Guard, Navy, Army, Marine and Air Force service-members assigned to federal agencies in Illinois and the St. Louis Metropolitan area will hold a large flag during the anthem
    • Cardinals broadcaster Tim McCarver will throw the ceremonial first pitch

NLDS Game 4 – Tuesday, October 7, 2014 – Busch Stadium – 4:07 p.m. CT [OR 7:37 p.m. CT if WSH/SF is over]  (FS1) *(If necessary)

  • 1 p.m. (or 4:30 p.m.) Pre-Game Pep Rally in Ballpark Village Parking Lot and Busch II Infield
    • Music by DJ Todd Thomas, entertainment, prizes, Fredbird, Team Fredbird and more
    • A former Cardinal player will make an appearance
  • Gates will open 2 hours prior to first pitch
  • 40,000 fans receive a Cardinals rally towel, courtesy of Mercy
  • National Anthem by Tess Boyer, St. Louis area native and season 6 finalist on The Voice
  • Colors presented by The United States Marines with Recruiting Station St. Louis.
  • Former Cardinals Third Baseman Scott Rolen will throw the ceremonial first pitch

NLDS Game 5 – Thursday, October 9, 2014 – Dodger Stadium – 8:07 p.m. CT [OR 7:37 p.m. CT if WSH/SF is over]    (FS1) *(If necessary)

Watching On TV

Fans can watch the Cardinals’ National League Division Series games on FOX Sports 1 or MLB Network. Saturday’s game will be televised exclusively on MLB Network (MLBN). For channel information, view the chart below, or find full directory listings at FOXSports1.com andFindMLBNetwork.com.

NETWORK

FOX SPORTS 1

MLB NETWORK

Direct TV

219 (SD and HD)

213 (SD and HD)

DISH

150 (SD and HD)

152 (SD) and 152,9434 (HD)

AT&T U-Verse

652 (SD) and 1652 (HD)

634 (SD) and 1634 (HD)

Charter

43 and 211 (SD) and 811 (HD)

204, 80 (SD) or 804 (HD)

Radio Coverage

Fans can tune into KMOX (1120 AM) and the Cardinals Radio Network to hear Mike Shannon & John Rooney call the games. The national broadcast of most NLDS games can also be heard on ESPN Radio (101.1 FM) or SiriusXM Radio.

Social Media

Fans participating in the postseason action on social media can follow the Cardinals at Facebook.com/Cardinals, on Twitter (@Cardinals), on Instagram (@Cardinals) and Tumblr (stlcardinals.tumblr.com). Join the social conversation using #PostCards.

Online Or On The Go

Fans can follow every Cardinals Postseason game for free on cardinals.com on their computers and laptops using MLB.com Gameday. TheMLB.com At Bat mobile application is the most popular way to follow live Cardinals games on-the-go. At Bat offers fans live radio broadcasts, replay reviews, scoreboards, statistics, video highlights, series schedules, breaking news, expert analysis and more.  Cardinals fans can download MLB.com At Bat on their favorite smartphones or tablets by visiting the app store or MLB.com.

Driving To The Games

MoDOT has limited roadwork when the Cardinals are at home during the National League Division Playoffs. Currently, fans can expect no significant traffic impacts due to construction on Missouri interstates heading into Busch Stadium or heading home on Monday, October 6th and Tuesday, October 7th.

Alternative Transportation

MetroLink is a convenient alternative to driving, allowing fans to avoid the cost of parking and game day traffic.  To avoid the traffic congestion and the cost of parking on game day, fans can use one of 19 free Park-Ride lots along the MetroLink line and take the train to Stadium Station, right across the street from the ballpark.  Check the Metro website www.MetroSt.Louis.org for schedules and the Park-Ride lot nearest you.  There are also plenty of buses in Missouri and Illinois that will get fans to Busch Stadium including the RedBird Express that departs from the Water Tower at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights, Illinois.  The first RedBird Express leaves 2 ½ hours before the game and runs approximately every 5 minutes.

Postseason Merchandise

  • Busch Stadium Team Store: The Team Store will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.  In addition to standard merchandise, the store will also carry exclusive postseason and Central Division Champions merchandise including hats, t-shirts, pennants, pins and more. A variety of items are also available in ladies and youth sizes. Fans can also buy official t-shirts and hoodies, just like the players wear. (#BuschStadiumTeamStore)
  •  Cardinals Authentics: Fans will want to stop by both Cardinals Authentics stores as it’s the only place to get official, game-used, limited edition and autographed Cardinals memorabilia directly from the team. Featured items include game-used baseballs, bases, and bats from the 2014 season, 2011 World Championship themed items, jerseys and hats directly from the clubhouse and one-of-a-kind autographed memorabilia. Cardinals Authentics has a variety of items to fit every budget. It is where every piece tells a story. The Cardinals Authentics Store located in Ford Plaza inside Busch Stadium is open 2 hours before game time and a half hour after the game ends. The new Cardinals Authentics Shop located in Cardinals Nation at Ballpark Village is open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (or an hour after the game ends) every day of the week. (#CardsAuthentics)
  • Cardinals Magazine and Cardinals Yearbook:  Celebrate the Cardinals’ return to the postseason by purchasing two NEW keepsake items at Busch Stadium. The cover story in the new edition of Cardinals Magazine focuses on Jon Jay, a driving force behind the Redbirds successful pursuit of a second consecutive N.L. Central title. Other issue highlights include a 40th anniversary celebration of Lou Brock’s record-setting 118-steal season in 1974, behind-the-scenes looks at Jon Hamm’s visit to Busch Stadium and the 2014 Cardinals Hall of Fame ceremony, a Q&A with 2013 postseason hero Michael Wacha, and the latest installment of Adam Wainwright’s journal. And the popular 2014 Official Yearbook offers the definitive tribute to the Cardinal Legacies of Hall of Famers Tony La Russa and Joe Torre and action photos and studio portraits of the 2014 Cardinals.

Cards Mag 2014 Issue 5  Cover

The magazine is $5; the yearbook is $15. Both publications are on sale at all gates, the official Busch Stadium Team Store, Cardinals Authentics inside Ballpark Village, and can also be purchased by calling 314.345.9000 or visiting cardinals.com/publications. (#CardsMag |  #CardsYearbook)

Cardinals Nation Restaurant & Bar

Cardinals Nation, the team’s new two-story restaurant in Ballpark Village, is rolling out a variety of new menu items and specials for the 2014 postseason.

  • Stuffed Pretzel Sticks
  • Spinach & Artichoke Dip
  • Chicken Bruschetta
  • Octoberfest Burger: Pretzel bun, fried pickles and beer mustard
  • Pie Shakes: Pumpkin, Peach or Apple Pie blended into a Vanilla Closer Shake
  • 20oz Souvenir Cardinals Nation Postseason 2014 cup: Keep your cup with every beer or upgraded soda purchase
  • New Drinks: The Red October, The 1982, Spiked Apple Cider, Fig infused Side Car, and more

CN Postseason 3

Stick around after each home game for free live music on the 2nd floor of the Cardinals Nation Restaurant. Johnny Chase will play on Monday, followed by Boogie Chyld on Tuesday.

Support Cardinals Care

Throughout the postseason, fans will have multiple opportunities to support Cardinals Care, the charitable arm of the team and organization.

  • Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans, ages 18 and older, may play the Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle by going to any of the six ticket kiosk locations throughout the stadium from the time gates open until the middle of the 7th inning. One lucky fan will receive 50 percent of the gross proceeds from the game’s raffle ticket donations, and the other half will benefit Cardinals Care, the team’s charitable foundation that helps children. For more info and kiosk locations, visit cardinals.com/5050. (#Raffle4Kids)
  • Cardinals Care Stadium Auction: Fans have the unique opportunity to bid on exclusive autographed Cardinals memorabilia at every postseason home game. The auction is a great way for fans and collectors alike to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community. The auction tables will be located at Gate 3, Gate 1, Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club, and in the Redbird Club.

BUSCH STADIUM – POLICY REMINDER

Bag Inspections And Guest Screening Policy

Standard game-day bag inspection policies for Busch Stadium are in effect. Bags will be allowed that meet Major League Baseball’s standard size restriction (16”x16”x8”), and all bags will be inspected prior to entry.

In compliance with new Major League Baseball security procedures, Busch Stadium is phasing in the use of walk-through metal detectors at some of the entry gates this postseason. Guests will need to remove all keys, cell phones, cameras, sunglass cases and other large metal objects from their person prior to passing through the metal detectors.

Guests will be permitted to bring small personal cameras as long as they do not obstruct other guest’s view and will be subject to inspection.  No professional-sized photography equipment will be allowed except for members of the media with proper MLB Postseason credentials.

Non-alcoholic beverages such as water & soda in open cups or in clear plastic bottles no larger than 2 liters are allowed.

Alcohol, bottles, cans, thermoses, hard-sided coolers; hard plastic cups/mugs are not permitted.

Small banners and signs are allowed. Banners may be displayed as long as they do not hinder or interfere with a ball in play or distract or interfere with the view of another guest. Banners may not be displayed in fair territory, be obscene or in poor taste, attract abuse or cause a disturbance among other guests. They should be baseball-oriented and not commercial in nature.

Please minimize items you bring into the stadium to speed up the inspection process. 

Expect long lines upon entry and allow yourself plenty of time to go through the inspection process. 

Exit/Re-entry Policy

A new exit/re-entry policy will be in effect for the 2014 postseason. Exit/re-entry will only be allowed starting at game time and extending through the end of the 7th inning. Guests wishing to leave the stadium, but planning to return during the same game must have their hand and ticket stamped at Gate 4 only as they exit the stadium. Guests will also receive a re-entry card which they must show with their stamped ticket and stamped hand upon re-entry. Inspection and Guest Screening policy will also be enforced.

No Smoking Policy

Standard Busch Stadium Smoking Policy is in effect.  Busch Stadium is a smoke-free facility. Exit/re-Entry turnstiles will be set up at Gate 4 to allow fans access in and out of the stadium if they wish to smoke. Guests must have their hand and ticket stamped at Gate 4 as they exit the stadium. Guests will also receive a re-entry card which they must show with their stamped ticket and stamped hand upon re-entry. Inspection and Guest Screening policy will also be enforced.

Clark Street Access

Access to Clark Street between the Stadium and Ballpark Village will be restricted to ticket holders only from 4 hours prior to game time until the end of the game.  All guests entering the Stadium through Gates 4 and 5 will need to show their ticket at the Clark Street Access Locations.  Any non-ticketed guests who wish to get to the Ballpark Village and the Busch II Infield will need to do so from the north entrances.

2014 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Cardinals completed their 123rd season of play in the National League with an 90-72 mark, winning the N.L. Central for the 10th time and for the 2nd consecutive season, as they qualified for the postseason for a 4th consecutive season – the 1st time in franchise history to have done so.
  • The Cardinals won 51 home games, tying Washington & Pittsburgh for the top mark in the N.L. The Cardinals have won an N.L.-best 436 home games since moving into Busch Stadium III in 2006.
  • The Cardinals put together the 74th winning season (+.500) in franchise history. The Cardinals have now compiled seven consecutive winning seasons, doing so for the 3rd time in franchise history.
  • The Cardinals were never swept in a series of three or more games, their 1st season since 2005 to have done so.
  • The Cardinals posted a Major League-leading 23 shutout victories, their most since posting a club record 30 in 1968. It was also the first since time 1968 (31%) that 25% or more of their victories came via shutouts.
  • The Cardinals were 32-23 in games decided by just one run in 2014. Those 32 wins in one-run games were their most since 1992 (34-31) and their 55 one-run games were their most since 1998 (58; 28-30).
  • The Cardinals won a franchise-best five games this season when collecting 4 hits or less and their 11 wins with 5 hits or fewer was also a club record.
  • Cardinals starting pitchers had a Major League co-leading 22 starts (also Washington) in which they worked 7 or more scoreless innings, their most since doing so in a club record 29 games in 1968.
  • Mike Matheny is the first manager in St. Louis Cardinals history to take his team to the postseason in each of his first three full seasons. He’s only the 5th manager all-time to have done so, joining Ron Gardenhire (2002-04), Larry Dierker (1997-99), Ralph Houk (1961-63) and Hughie Jennings (1907-09).

That’s all for now!  Now to watch the game some more.  Go Cards!

Diane

The 7-10 split redux

And here we are again.  The Cards and Pirates are once again locked up in a tie in the National League Division Series.  When I wrote my previous 7-10 split post on Sunday, it was only the third game of the series and the Cards would have another game to play if they had lost, and sure enough, they did.

We all know what happened on Monday, though.  Michael Wacha pitched the game of his young career, making manager Mike Matheny look like a genius and giving Game 5 hope to Cards fans everywhere.  And now the Cards and Pirates are back in St. Louis with the series tied up once again.  Only tonight’s game is a do or die game.  One team goes home and the other team goes on.  And which team will do which?

The Cardinals will be back in their home nest tonight.  They will no longer have to listen to the loud, raucous Pittsburgh fans chanting the pitcher’s name and waving those black rally towels. (Thankfully, the towels were black rather than that hideous yellow color the Bucs used to have on their uniforms.) Michael Wacha may have liked that the Pittsburgh fans chanted his name, but it sounded more like a hockey or a football crowd than a baseball crowd.   Cards fans, who are rightly called the best fans in baseball, will root loudly for their team, applaud great plays (even by opposing players), and dress in more red than you’ll see at Christmas.  The atmosphere in the park during a playoff game is electric and I wish that I could be there in person tonight.  😦

Alas, the TBS announcers will be rooting for the Bucs like they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Never mind that the Cardinals have been to the playoffs the last three years in a row, or that they’ve won 2 World Series in the last 5 years. I get the underdog story, but at least the announcers could acknowledge that the Cardinals are playing well too.  In short, be non-biased.  Sadly, during the next round, the TBS broadcast team will be in the tank for the Dodgers.  At our house, we will probably mute the TV and listen to John and Mike on KMOX.  There is an interesting delay between the radio broadcast and the TV broadcast – we hear big plays on the radio before we see them on TV.

Here’s what needs to happen tonight (besides a Cardinals win, that is).  Matt Carpenter’s bat appears to have fallen asleep and it needs to be woken up.  After Matt got hit #199, the hits stopped coming.   This is an important game, but Waino needs to not be nervous.  The defense needs to be razor sharp. And the more runs, the better.

I’ll be on Twitter commenting during the game, so follow me at @Diane1611.  Go Cards!  See you next time!

Diane