Posted on: October 28, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 2:36 pm

Two Bucks, one home run call

By C. Trent Rosecrans  and

Joe Buck can get a little too cute at times, but Thursday night (or Friday morning, depending on where you were), he had the perfect -- if not predictable -- call for David Freese's walk-off home run.

Buck paid homage to his father, Jack, by saying "And we'll see you tomorrow night!" at the conclusion of Game 6 of the World Series. Jack had uttered the very same line back in 1991's Game 6 between the Twins and Braves. It's not the first time Joe has uttered the phrase, but given the circumstances, it was the biggest homage. Jack was a Cardinals broadcaster for nearly 50 seasons, and Joe says he thinks of his father often, especially during games.

"[It] was kinda the perfect time to do it," Joe said on KFNS St. Louis. "That was strictly for him and maybe as much for my mom who was watching back at home.”

Check out Buck's homage:

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 4:04 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 4:02 pm

World Series Game 7: Harrison in spotlight

By Matt Snyder

Rangers at Cardinals, 7:05 p.m. CT, Busch Stadium, St. Louis. Series is tied, 3-3.

ST. LOUIS -- While there is rightfully plenty of focus on the Cardinals' Game 7 starter -- it's Chris Carpenter, even though the Cardinals wouldn't say anything on record Thursday night -- I've gotten a good chuckle out of the public reaction to Rangers manager Ron Washington naming Matt Harrison the Game 7 starter.

World Series Coverage
Remember back to before Game 4 of this series. Washington was said by many to be making a mistake in letting Derek Holland start, considering Holland was abysmal in the ALCS. And Holland went out and handcuffed the Cardinals for 8 1/3 innings. So now Washington is being questioned for using Holland in Game 6 in relief and going with Matt Harrison as the Game 7 starter. It's amazing how short-term memories rule the day.

Let us also realize Harrison wasn't that far from having a much better outing in Game 3. He was the victim of bad defense and a botched call in the top of the fourth inning when everything came unraveled. It's entirely possible that if Ron Kulpa made the correct call at first base and the defense was perfect behind him that Harrison comes away with a win.

With a 3.39 regular-season ERA, Harrison is no slouch. Plus, Holland will surely be in relief again -- he did a good job in relief in Game 6 after Alexi Ogando's pathetic effort. It would be foolish to count the Rangers out and it would be incredibly short-sighted to question Washington's decision on a Game 7 starter.

Then again, don't you have to like the Cardinals' chances when simply looking at Carpenter vs. Harrison?


Carpenter vs. Rangers:
In 13 innings this World Series, Carpenter has allowed 11 hits, four earned runs and three walks while striking out eight. He has been susceptible to the longball, as he's coughed up three homers. Both Adrian Beltre (4-for-8 with a home run) and Mike Napoli (4-for-8 with two home runs) have hit Carpenter well. Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young (all hitting .167 off Carpenter) do not.

Harrison vs. Cardinals: All we have to go on was Game 3, and it was bad. Harrison was roughed up for five runs (three earned) on six hits in just 3 2/3 innings. The Rangers' pitchers would allow 16 runs in that game. There's no question the result was bad, but -- as stated above -- we have to keep it in context. The only Cardinals player who has more than one career hit off Harrison doesn't even play (Gerald Laird). Allen Craig has homered off Harrison while David Freese has doubled, otherwise it's just a bunch of three at-bat samples with a single or walk mixed in. There really isn't much to draw from.


Rangers Cardinals
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Ian Kinsler 2B 1 Ryan Theriot 2B
2 Elvis Andrus SS 2 Allen Craig LF
3 Josh Hamilton CF 3 Albert Pujols 1B
4 Michael Young 1B 4 Lance Berkman RF
5 Adrian Beltre 3B 5 David Freese 3B
6 Nelson Cruz RF 6 Yadier Molina C
7 Mike Napoli C 7 Rafael Furcal SS
8 David Murphy LF 8 Skip Schumaker CF
9 Matt Harrison LHP 9 Chris Carpenter RHP


• The Rangers have still not lost back-to-back games since August, but the Cardinals have refused elimination even under the most dire circumstances. Game 7 will mark the ultimate test and something absolutely will give. It's just a question of which team does so.

• Carpenter was hit pretty hard in his only other start on three days' rest: Game 2 of the NLDS against the Phillies and it's worth noting the Rangers have a much better offense than Philly.

• Rangers ace C.J. Wilson will be available out of the bullpen, just as Holland should be as well. For the Cardinals, expect Edwin Jackson and Kyle Lohse to be available if need be -- this time with their arms, not just bats. 

Matt Holliday is done, but Cruz and Napoli are both playing. It will be most interesting to see how Napoli's ankle will react after being hyperextended?

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 3:18 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 4:25 am

Overheard: Notes, quotes from World Series Game 6

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Here are some of the post-game notes and quotes from Busch Stadium after an epic Game 6 of the World Series.

• Wrap your head around this one. Other than his historic Game 3 performance, Albert Pujols was 0-for-16 in the series until his ninth-inning double. But he did double. Still, in light of that, would Rangers manager Ron Washington have been better served to try and pitch to Pujols in the 10th inning with Berkman set to face a right-hander (the switch-hitting Berkman is a much more dangerous hitter from the left side)? I personally would have put Pujols on, but it didn't work, so Washington is sure to be second-guessed.

World Series Coverage
• Washington on being one strike away from the championship twice: "Well, you know, I understand that it's not over until you get the last out, and I was just sitting there praying that we'd get that last out, and we didn't get it. And you have to tip your hat to the Cardinals, the way they fought tonight and took the game from us."

Lance Berkman, on dreaming of coming through in a big spot in the World Series when you're a kid: "When you're a little kid and you're out there, you don't have a bunch of reporters and fans that are ready to call you a choking dog if you don't come through. (Laughter) So when you're a kid, you don't realize what a big moment that is. I'm just going to caution all little kids out there, be careful what you wish for."

• Did anyone notice none of the Rangers' three bunt attempts would have worked if Fernando Salas didn't make a throwing error?

• "If it's going to be replayed over and over again, I don't know, but it's really cool to be a part of this and to force a Game 7." -- David Freese, when told that his home run would be replayed forever.

• This is the first time since 2002 a World Series has gone all seven games. In the previous 36 instances a World Series went the distance, the home team won 19 times.

• Berkman on being one strike away from making the last out in a possible loss: "I actually felt pretty good about it because I figured I was in a no-lose situation. If you don't come through right there, it's only one at-bat and it's over with, and they might talk about it for a couple days, but it's not that big a deal. If you come through, it's the greatest, and plus you've built a little bank account of being able to come through, so that if I don't come through tomorrow I can be like, 'Well, I came through in Game 6, what do you want from me?'"

• The last time we saw a Game 6 or later walk-off home run in the World Series before Thursday night? Joe Carter in Toronto in 1993.

• The 2011 Cardinals and Rangers are now the top two teams ever in terms of postseason pitching changes. The Cardinals have the record with 71, while the Rangers are second with 65. The previous record was 62 by the 2002 Giants.

• "We'll bounce back tomorrow," Washington said. "We've been in some tough situations before. We've always responded, and I expect us to respond tomorrow." Also note the Rangers haven't lost two games in a row since August.

• The two teams combined for five errors and 23 men left on base. So, yeah, there were plenty of missed opportunities by each.

• Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on Matt Holliday's status: "Well, we thought at first he had fractured it, but I was told by the trainer later on that it's not a fracture, but I think it's swelling, and he's got a pretty good bruise there. So it may be we need to replace him for tomorrow."

• The attendance (47,325) was a Busch Stadium record. The previous record was Game 3 of the 2009 NLDS against the Dodgers.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 2:49 am
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Posted on: October 28, 2011 2:42 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 1:16 pm

Grading Game 6 of the World Series

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Wow. What a game. I'm trying to guard against hyperbole, but I feel like we just witnessed one of the greatest baseball games in World Series history -- one that will go down in history and still be talked about 30 years from now. I could easily be wrong, but that's how it feels right now. Still, time to buckle down and hand out some grades.

Baseball. That's all we need to put here. It's a sport that many people like to call boring and for some reason it's become cool for fans of other sports -- mostly football -- to constantly bash the sport. It's probably because of the "America's Pastime" moniker, but still a bit unfair to be so reviled by the people who aren't die-hard fans. Thursday night was baseball's big night. Game 6 was one for the ages. It most certainly wasn't perfect (see the D and F grades below), but in the end, this was one of the most exciting baseball games in memory, and we saw the Cardinals get within one out of being eliminated twice and still survive with the win in front of a record-setting Busch Stadium crowd. If you watched this game and weren't exhilarated, you don't have a pulse. Period.

David Freese tripled to tie the game in the ninth and then homered to win it in the 11th. So he's the hero. But, man, it was a rough night before that. We'll knock him down to a B for the awkward moment running into the rail in foul territory and the dropped pop up at third base, not to mention going 0-for-3 and leaving a pair of men on base before his huge triple in the ninth. Obviously the two huge hits erase all of that, but in looking at the whole game, I'm not going to forget the bad. He'll deal just fine a B, considering his team won and he's now etched in history.

The Rangers offense pounded out 15 hits and scored nine runs. They had two doubles and three home runs. So how can I possibly be giving them a C? Well, let's see ... they left 12 men on base. Twelve! When you get 15 hits and the Cardinals hand out five walks and three errors, you need to score more than nine runs, as weird as that sounds. It's like through six innings the Cardinals were trying to let the Rangers win and the Rangers just refused to let them. Things changed after that, but we cannot simply ignore what happened in the first half of the game.

The Cardinals' pitching and defense were sloppy early in the game. Starting pitcher Jaime Garcia didn't have his good stuff and received a quick hook. Matt Holliday made a horrible play in left field when he tried to allow Rafael Furcal to come all the way out to left field and make a catch -- then the two collided. Relief pitcher Fernando Salas air-mailed a throw to second base into center field. Freese had the aforementioned defensive gaffes. Rangers pitcher Derek Holland advanced to second on a wild pitch and then scored. Again, what the Cardinals did in the late innings more than made up for this, but it has to be a concern before Game 7.

The Rangers made mistakes, too. Michael Young had two pretty bad errors. Elvis Andrus uncharacteristically played a sure third out into a single when he hesitated on a grounder off Daniel Descalso's bat. Alexi Ogando walked the only two hitters he faced. And we can't be sure that Nelson Cruz could have caught Freese's triple, but he really looked lost out there. For a team that prides itself on defense, we've seen an awful lot of defensive miscues this series.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 2:07 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 4:26 am

Carpenter not named starter, but he's most likely

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- After the Cardinals' thrilling Game 6 victory over the Rangers, they'll have little time to celebrate. Game 7 starts roughly 19 1/2 hours after Game 6 ended. So the focus immediately shifts to the final game of the World Series, and whether or not Tony La Russa is going to bring back ace Chris Carpenter. As things stood after the game, there was no official word just yet.

"I just barely started to think about tomorrow, but actually it'll be fun to think about it now because there is a Game 7," La Russa said. (I) might just roll Jake (Westbrook) back out there, who knows."

It's pretty doubtful La Russa is seriously considering Westbrook. The other options as Game 7 starter would be Kyle Lohse and Edwin Jackson. Jackson's a much better bet than Lohse, but it just feels like a sure bet Carpenter is going to go -- even if he wouldn't say so either.

World Series Coverage
"We'll see what happens," he said in the locker room after the game. "It's not my choice, it's theirs."

Carpenter has already told reporters he's ready to start if called upon and he said that he would prepare all day Friday as if he is the starter.

This may be a situation where the decision has already been made and the Cardinals just didn't feel like telling anyone or wanted to allow the Game 6 heroics of David Freese, Lance Berkman and more to be the story.

During the regular season, Carpenter pitched on four days' rest 18 times, five days' rest 14 times and six days' rest once. He made zero starts on three days' rest. He did make his first start of this postseason on three days' rest, Game 2 of the NLDS versus the Phillies. He lasted only three innings that game, giving up five hits and four earned runs while walking three. And the Phillies offense is far inferior to the Rangers.

Then again, if your other options are Jackson and Lohse, don't you just roll the dice with Carpenter instead? I would. And it's pretty likely La Russa will, too.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 2:09 am

Cardinals win amazing Game 6 of World Series

David Freese

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- The never-say-die Cardinals have done it again. They came back from a two-run deficit with their backs against the wall not once, but twice. First in the bottom of the ninth inning, and then again in the bottom of the 10th. It was an amazing game, one that will go down in history.

Hero: David Freese came through with the two biggest hits of the game -- a tying triple in the ninth and the game-winning bomb in the 11th. Is there any question who the hero is?

Goat: I'm going with Neftali Feliz and Nelson Cruz. Feliz shouldn't have gotten himself in trouble in the ninth and Cruz needs a better effort on that Freese double. He probably could have caught it, and if he did, the Rangers would be celebrating a championship right now.

Turning point: Wow, I really have to pick one? I'd say the second time the Cardinals tied it. Once, the Rangers bounced back immediately, but it had to be demoralizing to the Rangers that it happened two consecutive innings.

It was over when ... Freese hit the homer. Obviously.

Next: This one was so fun, let's do it again, Friday night at 7:05 p.m. CT in St. Louis. The winner takes the World Series championship.

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Posted on: October 27, 2011 9:28 pm

Napoli badly turns ankle, stays in game

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Rangers catcher Mike Napoli tied the World Series record for catchers with his 10th RBI of the series in the top of the fourth inning Thursday night in Game 6. But two hitters later, Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis laid down a bunt and Cardinals pitcher Fernando Salas threw the ball into center field. In the meantime, Napoli badly turned his left ankle.

If a badly hyperextended ankle will make you sick, don't look below (GIF courtesy of GIFULMINATION.com)

The tough Rangers' catcher stayed in the game, further adding to his ever-building stardom this postseason.

Follow along live on CBSportscom's GameTracker

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com