Game four was a cracker; the lead changed on several occasions and there was plenty of drama from great plays, bad plays and crazy plays. The Cards have taken a 3-1 lead which, while not insurmountable, makes them firm favourites to go on and to take the series.
I’ve read all the reports and watched the Condensed Game on MLB.com again to help me sum up what happened. I’ve come to the conclusion that it just seemed like it was destined to be the Cardinals’ night, or more specifically David Eckstein’s.
Luck is a word that often gets thrown around and I think it carries a few too many negative connotations to be used lightly. The Cards did not get lucky last night. There’s no doubt that fortune favoured St Louis, but they put pressure on the Tigers and were able to capitalise when something went their way. Granderson’s slip and Monroe’s “nearly catch” were certainly tough on the Tigers, but if Eckstein hadn’t made good contact on the two pitches then the events couldn’t have happened at all.
What will really annoy the Tigers is that they compounded these unfortunate plays with a couple of errors by Zumaya and Rodney (“you plonker!”). The players themselves will know better than anyone that you cannot keep making mistakes and then hope you get away with them. The Cardinals have not been perfect, but they have minimised their own mistakes and have simply done enough to win. That is all that counts in a World Series.
Is there any way back for the Tigers? “Not if they lose tonight” would be the smart answer. In truth, every World Series game is approached by both sides as being a “must win” so I don’t necessarily think it puts extra pressure on them. If they can crash the St Louis party tonight (weather permitting) then they will not only keep the series alive, they will deal a big blow to the Cards while giving themselves a massive boost. Although they wouldn’t choose this scenario, I’m sure Detroit fans would fancy their chances of beating St Louis twice at Comerica, especially with Kenny Rogers on the mound in game six.
The Tigers game plan is simple: win tonight to ruin the St Louis party, ride Kenny Rogers to tie the series, then go into the decider with the momentum well and truly on their side. Sean Casey continued his productive World Series last night and Pudge finally bagged a few hits so they have some hope to cling to.
Sometimes it can look all too simple from the neutral fan’s perspective: all the Cardinals have to do is win one more game; however every baseball fan will be tuning in tonight knowing that “one more game” is the biggest hurdle these St Louis Cardinals will ever face.