Jaime Garcia's collapse in the fifth inning Sunday of Game 1 of the National League championship series happened so fast that Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he hadn't felt the need to change pitchers.
After allowing a two-run monster shot to Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun in the first inning, Garcia cruised through the next three innings before allowing two-strike hits to right fielder Corey Hart and third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. to start the fifth.
The Cardinals led 5-2, but Braun then hit a first-pitch, two-run double and first baseman Prince Fielder hit a first-pitch homer and suddenly it was 6-5, Milwaukee, on the way to a six-run inning and, ultimately, a 9-6 Brewers win.
Right-hander Octavio Dotel, who later in the inning would commit an error and then allow a two-run homer to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, was warmed and ready for Braun, but La Russa said it wasn't time. Garcia was going to face Braun and Fielder, and Dotel then would come in to face second baseman Rickie Weeks.
That's what happened, but the Cardinals were behind when La Russa made the move.
"When I saw (Garcia) throw the ball (down) the middle to Braun, I said, 'That's enough,' " said La Russa. "And he tried to make a pitch to Fielder and it's a two-run homer. No, I wouldn't have made a move (to Braun).
"(Garcia) was throwing the ball better than that. He made one mistake. It's a tough league, but it's not that tough."
2B-OF Skip Schumaker had to be left off the NLCS roster because of a strained oblique muscle suffered in the final game of the Division Series. Schumaker hit .600 in the Division Series and played significant innings on defense in the outfield besides starting three games at second base.
RHPs Lance Lynn and Kyle McClellan were added to the bullpen, giving the Cardinals 12 pitchers, and RHP
Jake Westbrook, a 12-game winner in the regular season, was left off the roster.
Westbrook didn't pitch in the first round.
2B Ryan Theriot, a right-handed batter, got the first start at that position in the NL Championship Series, but manager Tony La Russa said he had a start in mind for switch-hitting INF Nick Punto at second base later in the series. Theriot was hitless in four at-bats.
RHP Edwin Jackson, who
faced the Brewers three times in August alone, will be the Game 2 starter on
3B David Freese, who appeared overmatched early in the postseason, hit a three-run homer off a hanging curveball from Milwaukee RHP Zack Greinke in the fourth inning. It was Freese's second multiple-run homer in the last three playoff games. Freese fanned seven times in 11 at-bats in one playoff stretch but has hit safely in five straight games.
BY THE NUMBERS: 62 - Postseason games for 1B Albert Pujols, breaking a tie with former CF Jim Edmonds for first on the Cardinals' all-time list.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think there are even some fans or media that are going to be disappointed if there isn't some crap flying in the series. And that's a shame."
- Manager Tony La Russa, on the buildup of the feud between the Cardinals and Brewers.
2B/OF Skip Schumaker (right oblique) was injured in Oct. 7's NLDS Game 5. He was left off the NLCS roster.
LF Matt Holliday (strained tendon in right palm) re-injured his hand Sept. 27 and left the game, and he didn't play Sept. 28. He didn't start the opener of the NL Division Series, but he appeared as a pinch hitter. However, he felt more pain during the at-bat and was limited to pinch-hitting until he started again in Game 4 of the Division Series on Oct. 5.
RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season. Wainwright was getting closer to throwing a full-strength bullpen session in September, but he will not be allowed to throw his signature curveball until next year.
Mon., October 10: at BREWERS: Edwin Jackson vs. Shawn Marcum, 7:05 P.M. CDT (TBS, ESPN Radio, KMOX).
VIDEO FROM FOXSPORTSMIDWEST.COM
Cardinals on the Game 1 defeat
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa speaks about playing against the Brewers.
Tony La Russa's full post-game comments (from MLB and ASAP Sports)
Q. What went wrong with Garcia in the 5th inning?
TONY La RUSSA: Whatever it was, it was fast. He started out the game just getting the ball up, paid for it, and after that he just ... the delivery came together and I thought he pitched Hart pretty well and got a hopper in the hole. Then, he made three straight pitches right in the middle of the plate, they didn't miss any of them, just went like that.
Q. Best case there with Dotel, when would you have preferred to get him involved there? Was he ready?
TONY La RUSSA: Fielder was Jaime's last hitter. I mean, once he starts throwing the ball in the middle, and there's not much room for margin for error there, once he faces Braun and Fielder was going to be his last hitter, and Dotel was ready for the next guy.
Q. There wasn't a read there for Braun?
TONY La RUSSA: The guy is cruising, there's a ground ball, he makes one mistake. How many hits does he have at that point? Maybe so, because that's strategy.
No, he was not ready for only when I saw him throw the ball up the middle to Braun, I said that's enough. And he tried to make a pitch to Fielder and it's a two-run homer. No, I wouldn't have made a move to Ron. He was throwing the ball better than that. He made one mistake. He made one mistake. It's a tough League, but it's not that tough.
Q. Did you have someone up in the first inning?
TONY La RUSSA: Yes.
Q. Who was that?
TONY La RUSSA: Lynn.
Q. Why was that?
TONY La RUSSA: Because he was throwing everything right here. He walks Hairston, and then he gives up a two-run homer first pitch. He hits Fielder, it's the same pitch. They're all right here.
Lynn was ... he put it together, and after that he was good, like he can be.
Q. Given the damage you did against Greinke, how much of a missed opportunity was that?
TONY La RUSSA: We took a bunch of good at bats. You get five, and then we had a chance, first and third with nobody out with Albert. I thought we competed on the offensive side great all night. I wish we could average six runs a game for the rest of the series. We didn't take our chances.
Like I said, it was a weird inning, because he was really good, and then just three pitches, bam, bam, bam, it was gone. I don't know. I think he's just young. He has to learn.
Q. It looked like the umpire warned both benches after Fielder got hit. Do you think there's a little too much with the narrative built in that that warning is a little early?
TONY La RUSSA: Well, I think I'm sure the umpire and crew knows it, we've had our disagreements. But the guy who gets hit, hits a home run, the next guy gets hit. I certainly can't fault the umpire.
But, you know, you can't go out and argue those things, or you get thrown out. I didn't say anything. What I would have said is, if you watched the way Jaime pitched that whole inning, every fastball he threw was in that same area, out away from the right hander or in on Fielder. They just looked bad, but he was just trying to get the ball somewhere near the glove. But I don't fault the umpire.
Q. How much do you think that warning may have hurt Jaime?
TONY La RUSSA: Hurt him? He cruised. He pitched great, he got us three zeroes, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. 5th inning is a tough inning, the top of the lineup, some good hitters.
We were watching him closely. If you looked at how he pitched Hart. He just went three scoreless innings, we were encouraged, just got to watch him close.
There was a changeup up to Hairston right in the middle of the plate. He was trying a little sinker, hits the ball on the right-field line. I think he got a slider in the middle of the plate, it's 2-0. It was just bam, bam, bam.
It's unusual for a guy throwing the ball that well to miss. He's probably upset. Human nature.
Q. Is too much being made about whether or not you guys like each other?
TONY La RUSSA: Yeah, yeah. I think it's really a disservice to the competition. I think both teams have talked about with what's at stake here, we're going to compete as far as we can correctly.
And what I explained, I'm not even going to say yesterday, in divisional play I'd be willing to challenge anybody here to show me one division that didn't have one or two sparks. We play each other 15, 16, 17, 18 times. I mean, I can, off the top of my head, know what happened in every division in baseball.
We just play each other. And everybody reads the situation their way. But if you take the 18 games we play, other than a couple of three situations, the other two of them haven't won a game. There wasn't anything other than just two teams trying to beat each other.
I can give you one more, it's personal, and I think with a little bit of experience I can speak to a personal opinion, I think there are even some fans, or media, that are going to be disappointed if there isn't some crap flying in this series, and that's a shame.
I don't want our players and their players to be egged on, and I don't think they will. We're going to play as hard and good against each other as we can.
Game 2 starter Edwin Jackson comments
Q. This season being able to work with Coop in Chicago and then Dunc in St. Louis, what have those two pitching coaches brought to your game and helped you with this season, anything delivery wise or approach wise that you think has contributed to the successful stretch you've had?
EDWIN JACKSON: Those are definitely two of the best pitching coaches in the game. Everybody speaks real highly of both of them. They both just got me to pitching contact, stand consistent around the plate, and at the end of the day trust what you have. And you don't have to do more than what you need to do to get outs. That's pretty much been the main thing. Cut down walks and make hitters put the ball in play and take your chances. Let the defense work behind you.
Q. We haven't seen you here long, but it seems like your demeanor is pretty much always the same. You seem like a guy that doesn't get high or low. Is that something that has always been the case or is that something you learned coming into the bigs?
EDWIN JACKSON: That's pretty much just been me, pretty even keel, you know. I can't tell if I have my best day or my worst day, and just stay the same. It just always helps for me to never get too high or never get too low. Pretty much stay the same person every day.
Q. You've had a little trouble in your first inning and then settled in. Is there any reason for that or do you look and see if you can warm up differently?
EDWIN JACKSON: I come into the game ready. I gave up six runs on 5, 6 pitches. That might be a first in my career. I felt like I was throwing strikes. You throw the first of the game double. There's nothing you can really do about that first pitch of the game. Utley hit a triple on a pitch that I didn't think was a bad pitch. I know sometimes it's been erratic around the strike zone and then lock in throwing strikes. They came out throwing strikes that game. They just put the ball in play early.
You see with most pitchers if you don't get them early you don't have a chance to get them. It's not necessarily just myself. I think that's the case for pitchers around the League, even watching games going around, if you don't get good pitches early, then you don't really have a chance to get them.
It's just one of those things that hitters come in ready to swing early. Most of the time the early innings is where most of the damage happens.
Q. Your mindset several months ago, different ballclub. Then you come to the team. Then you're in the playoffs and obviously work out the best case scenario for you. Take us where you were, thinking if this opportunity would even be possible.
EDWIN JACKSON: In this game you really don't know what's going to happen. I've been traded 6, 7 times. It's hard. You just prepare for what you have going on then. I had no clue that I'd be playing in October. Right now in Chicago when we were playing, it was still kind of close when I got traded.
Then you come to a team that's even closer, I think it was two games out of the first when I got over here. It was an even greater chance to get to the playoffs. Then we get down 10 1/2 and we fought back. It's definitely been an interesting season.
But it has been a fun one and we're enjoying the ride right now. I wouldn't have it any other way.
The trade coming over to a playoff contention team is something you never would ask not to be traded to a playoff contention team.
Q. When you look at yourself and the relievers and everybody who came over, and how you guys did that run, how much do you think you guys made an impact on this run?
EDWIN JACKSON: I think it was just a couple of pieces that they needed to fill in to what they already had. And it just made one complete piece. We came over and definitely the guys made it easy on us. They welcomed us in, open arms. And they definitely made it easy to come in and get adjusted to the system that they have. That's always a big help when the team welcomes you in and makes you feel comfortable.
And the group of guys that we brought in, pretty much veterans for the most part, so there was nobody that had to have a baby sitter with them. Everybody's been experienced. And I want to say between Arthur and Octavio, there's almost 30 years between the both of them. There's definitely a lot of experience they brought in.
Q. Mechanically speaking, how different are you now versus when you first got to St. Louis, would you say?
EDWIN JACKSON: I've changed a little bit mechanically. But I'm not really a mechanical pitcher. When I start thinking mechanics is pretty much when I get out of sync.
I'm pretty much of a rhythm guy. When I get too smart for my own good and try to do this and try to do that, I kind of get out of sync. I pretty much see the glove and throw the ball to the glove type of guy.
Q. When you look at the Milwaukee lineup, what stands out for you?
EDWIN JACKSON: I mean, there's a lot of energy. You have guys that can run. You have guys that can hit for power. It's just an aggressive young team.
Q. Talk about being so even keel, is it difficult, though, to not walk out in a playoff game and say this is a chance to put my stamp on a career?
EDWIN JACKSON: I think it's as difficult as you make it. You probably have more adrenaline from the bench watching it than the people that's playing. Once you get in the game and the feeling takes over, it almost feels normal.
It's definitely a more nervous feeling watching it than when you're playing. When you're playing you don't really have time to get nervous. You're just concentrating on what's going on, and you're worrying about what batter is up and what you want to throw and one pitch at a time.
If you're worried about anything else besides pitching then you're pretty much in trouble.
Q. What was your takeaway from the game you had here where the team just kind of needed you to shoulder some innings and the ERA took some bruising a little bit. Was that an easy start to get or do you think it was an important game for you and your game?
EDWIN JACKSON: What start? It's that simple. I mean, I'm a competitor. I mean, I can take my beatings and I can handle that. It's not my first one and it probably won't be my last. I feel good and I feel strong. And I continue to challenge hitters, regardless of what the score is.
Q. How much has your experience helped in playoffs to where you are right now?
EDWIN JACKSON: It definitely helps a lot. Coming out of the pen and starting is definitely a different feeling. The pen is an instant adrenaline rush. Whereas to starting, you pretty much know when you're going to start, so it's a buildup. But out of the pen you can't afford to really come out and try to get in a groove. At the pen you pretty much have to come out throwing strikes. You have to come out game ready. You have to come out attacking hitters.
It could be a situation where there's men on base and you need to make pitches instantly, right then. But definitely it's a different feeling coming out of the pen and starting. The only difference is if you can warm up quick, then in that aspect it's pretty good if you don't need the extra time to get loose.
Q. When you saw enough of the other League before you got traded, then you come over here and played exceptionally well the last six weeks and beat the Phillies, based on what you've seen this year, how would you rate this team's talent and the way they're playing against what else you've seen this year, I guess among the other teams that are still in the tournament?
EDWIN JACKSON: Definitely I'd say we're playing some of the best baseball we're playing all year. Obviously I wasn't here early in the season. But since I've been here, what we've done has been incredible, to come back like we have and leave it on the field.
The heart that we've shown and the perseverance has been definitely astonishing, to sit back and watch. When you sit back and watch everything that we've done it's been amazing. It's been a pretty good run, and we're definitely enjoying it, and we're just running off the high right now that we have from the fight that we fought to get back.
Q. Any comparison to be made between the other teams still around?
EDWIN JACKSON: I don't know, we'll see. We'll see. At the end of the day the comparison is going to be made to who wins, win ballgames, that's the main thing. You can compare teams and if they don't win, it's irrelevant, you know. The main objective is to win the ballgames regardless of how the team is or how you compare to any other team. At the end of the day the winner is standing and the loser is going home.
Q. Some pitchers in the postseason attempt to convince themselves that this is another start, a day at the office. Do you take that tack?
EDWIN JACKSON: You have to. You have to go out and you do that to be relaxed. This is not necessarily a game that's not important. Obviously you know the game is important. But that's what you do. That's a person's routine, 162 games, that's the approach everyone's been taking. And it's just the method you do to go out and be relaxed and not get overwhelmed what's going on around you.
The fans can be hostile. Of course obviously, if you're playing away from home, you have that against you, and you have to do whatever you can do to blank everything out and feel as relaxed as possible.