The Cardinals should win the World Series, if history from the last 18 years is any barometer. Since 1993, every home team that has won Game 1 of the World Series has won the Series.
The Cardinals' 3-2 win
But as often has been the case in the Cardinals' remarkable run from 10 1/2 games out of playoff contention on Aug. 25, there were many lesser lights involved as key players.
Five relievers, all appearing in their first World Series game, got the final nine outs, and the last seven Rangers were retired in order.
Left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski struck out both batters he faced even though both were right-handed, and right-handed reliever Octavio Dotel fanned one and got a tapper to the mound. Veteran left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes, 41, got Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, the only man he faced. Right-hander Jason Motte worked a perfect ninth for the save.
Motte has given up just one hit and fanned seven in nine postseason innings.
"A lot of times games are won or lost based on how the other guys play," said right fielder Lance Berkman, who drove in two runs with a weirdly hopping single in the fourth inning. "We wouldn't be here without those guys."
Those "other guys" included pinch hitter Allen Craig, who broke a 2-2 tie with a two-out, run-scoring single in the sixth.
"It's a luxury," said Berkman, "to have a guy who could probably hit fourth in most teams' lineups sitting over there waiting for his opportunity."
3B David Freese, who doubled in the sixth inning, extended his hitting streak in the postseason to 11 games. He is batting .459 (17-for-37) with five doubles, four homers and 14 RBI. A hometown boy, Freese played his first World Series game in familiar surroundings. "I get caught looking at the fans and just seeing the excitement, and it's awesome to be a part of," said Freese.
2B Skip Schumaker, who was off the roster for the previous round with an oblique injury, was put back on for the World Series. But Nick Punto started at second base on Wednesday against Texas LHP C.J. Wilson, and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa suggested Schumaker would see more action as a fourth outfielder than as an infielder. "Whether he plays second … he hasn't played in a couple of weeks," said La Russa. Schumaker took the place of rookie OF Adron Chambers, who had limited exposure in the National League Championship Series. Schumaker, indeed, finished Wednesday's game in right field.
RHP Jake Westbrook, 5-1
LHP Jaime Garcia, who
will start Game 2, will be the first Mexican native to start a World Series game
since Los Angeles' Fernando Valenzuela in the 1980s. "I'm thrilled to hear
that," Garcia said, "and I'm going to go out there and represent the team, my
family and not only my hometown (
RHP Chris Carpenter has made four postseason starts for the Cardinals this year. And the Cardinals have won four, including three credited to Carpenter.
OF Allen Craig has driven
in three runs in his last two at-bats off the bench. In Sunday's clinching Game
6 of the National League Championship Series, he knocked in two runs with a
third-inning hit. His pinch single on Wednesday drove in the winning run in Game
1 of the World Series. Craig figures to play all three games this weekend in
BY THE NUMBERS: 2.38 - Cardinals' bullpen ERA for the postseason.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's our guy. When he takes the mound, we feel like we're going to win the game every time."
- RF Lance Berkman on RHP Chris Carpenter, Wednesday's winning pitcher.
2B/OF Skip Schumaker (strained right oblique) was injured in Game 5 of the NL Division Series. He was left off the NL Championship Series roster but was back on the roster for the World Series.
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.
NEXT GAME – World Series Game 2
Thu., October 20: vs. RANGERS: Jaime Garcia vs. Colby Lewis, 7:05 P.M. CDT (FOX Network, ESPN Radio, KMOX).
10:00 AM Representatives of Major League Baseball and the St. Louis Cardinals will join the family of Roberto Clemente on a visit of Loyola Academy of St. Louis.
Starlight Fun Center
Donation (11:30 AM): MLB works with
Starlight Children's Foundation to purchase a Fun Center™ on behalf of all four
Clubs in the League Championship Series. Today, Vera Clemente along with MLB and
Club executives will dedicate the
Roberto Clemente Award Presented by Chevrolet: Major League Baseball will announce the recipient of the 2010 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet at a press conference prior to Game Two of the World Series. The Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions, including sportsmanship and community involvement, on and off the field.
• 3:00 – 5:45 P.M. A Pre-Game Rally in
Live music featuring Fat Pocket and Griffen and the Gargoyles, entertainment, prizes and more
Appearances by Fredbird, Team Fredbird, and the Cardinals Rally Squirrel
Photo opportunities with Mike Matheny, Jack Clark, and the ‘82 and ‘06 World Series trophies
• Gates will open at 5:00 P.M. CT
Fans will receive a Rally Towel sponsored by Chevrolet
• Pre-Game Ceremony Details:
Roberto Clemente Award presentation on-field ceremony
First Pitch by Lou Brock
National Anthem – Trace Adkins
VIDEO FROM FOXSPORTSMIDWEST.COM
St. Louis sounds off on edging Texas during Game 1 of the World Series.
Hear from St. Louis after the Game 1 win over Texas.
Cardinals players share their thoughts on the 3-2 win against the Rangers.
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi recap the Cardinals' 3-2 Game 1 victory.
Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi preview Game 2 of the World Series.
Tony La Russa's post-game comments (from MLB and ASAP Sports)
Q. Talk a little bit about Carp tonight and what a great performance by him.
TONY LA RUSSA: It was a great performance. They're a great hitting team. If you don't make a lot of pitches, they're going to bang you around. I thought early in the game as close as it was, for both pitchers the balls were very slick. They were having a little gripping thing but both of them just competed, and they both did a good job. The thing about Carp, he was exactly what we needed.
Q. Would you talk about the play that Albert made behind the bag on Young there with two outs and a runner on third in the top of the sixth, big play in the game.
TONY LA RUSSA: I enjoy talking about it because he's just not a great hitter, he's a great player. You'll see him do something on the bases. Defensively he's a Gold Glover several times now and he's clutch. He knows exactly who the runner is, who the hitter is, the situation. He's so aware of how the game is being played. That's the play of the game, really, for us. And Carp getting over Young is a good runner, so Carp getting over to first base is the second part of that good play.
Q. How impressive is it for Allen Craig to be sitting on the bench in a cold weather game and come through in a clutch?
TONY LA RUSSA: Cold weather game, sitting on the bench, World Series, Ogando, it's not a very good situation, but he's got a history in our system. That's why we like him so much. He's got a history of taking great at bats, especially runners in scoring position, so he should have a really great career.
Chris Carpenter, Lance Berkman, David Freese post-game comments
Q. I know you've only played five World Series games, but you've got quite a few hits already in those five games. Would you discuss just being in this atmosphere and how you seem to thrive?
LANCE BERKMAN: You know, I think it's just a matter of having some good games and good fortune. It's such a small sample that if you do really well, then people want to lodge you as a great clutch player, and if you do bad, they want to say, well, he can't get it done when it counts. But the reality is it's just such a small sample of at bats that you just hope that you're feeling good, that you're swinging the bat well and that you're seeing it okay when you get up there in those big spots. As a guy that's been around a little bit, you try not to do too much, just try to stay within yourself and have a good at bat and hopefully the results will be there.
Q. Everybody talks about Pujols and Holliday, but can you talk about the role players tonight from Rzepczynski to Allen Craig and what they did tonight?
LANCE BERKMAN: Well, we wouldn't be here without those guys. They've been tremendous. You can't win it takes 25 guys to win, and obviously you've got your headline players like you mentioned. The guys that are kind of the stars, but really, a lot of times games are won and lost based on how the other guys play, and tonight Zep had a great inning or two thirds of an inning, I guess, and Allen got the big hit. He's been getting big hits for us all year long. It's a luxury to have a guy that could hit probably fourth in most teams' lineup sitting over there waiting for his opportunity. Dotel has been great for us, Arthur got a big out. You go down the list of guys that contributed, and that's how you win.
Q. If you guys could maybe each comment about this, but getting off to that 1 0 start, talking about tonight's big win.
DAVID FREESE: I think especially in the post season that's what you want to try and accomplish is set the tone, get ahead. You've got a guy like Chris Carpenter on the mound, you get a lead, your chances are pretty good. He beared down for us tonight and obviously a team effort grabbing that victory.
LANCE BERKMAN: Yeah, I think it's whenever you have an opportunity to win a game at home especially, it's important that you go ahead and do that. I thought we put ourselves in a position to win, and if somehow you let them come back and win that game, psychologically it's tough. On top of the fact that if they steal one here from you at home, then you've got to go to their place. It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out, but I feel like we have to win the National League style games if we're going to win this thing, and tonight was a National League style game, 3 2, good pitching, good defense, timely hitting. And I don't think that we want to get into a gorilla ball type series with these guys. We'll see what happens when we add the DH and go to the American League ballpark. But when we have the National League style and we have the advantage, we have to capitalize.
Q. Lance, everyone talks about your leadership in the clubhouse. Is this something that's just a natural part of your personality or do you make a conscious effort to be a leader? And is there anyone early in your career that you sort of looked up to in that role?
LANCE BERKMAN: I think just becauseyou see all this gray in my beard that kind of makes you de facto leader. Whether you want to be or not, guys are going to kind of look to you because you've been around awhile. But I do enjoy the interaction with my teammates. I think that's one thing that's special to me about this particular team is we just enjoy each other's company. It's just a great group of guys. It's not just one guy. You've got to have guys like Carp and Yadi and Albert. Everybody has got to be pulling, all the veterans, Matt. So it's not one particular guy, so if you get a group of guys that feel that way together, then you've got a great combination. For me early in my career obviously it was Jeff Bagwell, Brad Ausmus, Bill Spiers is another guy that I think real highly of and I think had a big impact on me when I was a young player.
Q. I have two for David: That's an 11 game hitting streak now, which is a franchise record post season. I'm not trying to be a smart aleck, but have you ever had a longer hitting streak than that in the regular season? And just some thoughts about playing in your first World Series, first game here in your hometown? Was that a bigger deal before the game and once the game starts is it just a baseball game, or what that's like?
DAVID FREESE: Yeah, I didn't really know about the hitting streak. I think a couple times maybe I've bounced around 10 games or so. But it's pretty cool to be a part of that, as long as those hits help this team. But as far as being in this stadium, being from St. Louis and being a World Series, it's unreal. I get caught looking at the fans and just seeing the excitement, and it's awesome to be a part of with this team. But with that said, I've made sure coming into this that we get out on that field that it's just another ballgame, and I think that's definitely helped me. Watching these veterans, especially these two guys next to me, how focused they are and how much they just kind of demand perfection out of themselves, that's what I try and do and just stay focused the entire game and see how it plays out.
Q. What were the particular challenges in pitching in the kind of weather that you had tonight?
CHRIS CARPENTER: Obviously I don't know what C.J. thought, but one thing that I thought was the balls were a little slick with the breeze and the lack of humidity. But besides that, it's the same. It's another game, and we've pitched in weather like this before. I grew up pitching in weather like this, so it was no big deal. Try to make pitches and let your guys do what they need to do.
Q. Just how comforting is it to have a guy like Yadier Molina back there behind the plate that can shut down other teams' running game?
CHRIS CARPENTER: Yeah, I've spoke about Yadi many times. Amazing receiver, very smart young man that takes a lot of pride in his preparation and what he does, forget about his arm and what he can do to control the running game. But he's a fabulous guy. He makes it easy. I've said it a million times, and I just said it a week ago when somebody asked me the exact same question. I read a book called "The Blind Side," and they talk about the left tackle covering the quarterback's blind side, and if it wasn't for the left tackle, he wouldn't have the time to get that pass off to make the quarterback a star or that star wide receiver a star, because he's not doing his job. That's what Yadi is, he's secretly behind the scenes. He just makes it that much easier. He makes me be able to go out there and do the things that I do with zero concern, knowing that he is just on the same page and doing the same things that I'm doing, studying hitters, studying our game plan, knowing that he prepares, knowing all the information that he keeps inside, paying attention to what each at bat is all about. He's phenomenal.
Q. The play where you dove in the first inning, could you talk about that play. And then also Albert's diving play in the sixth and just as a whole how big the defense was tonight.
CHRIS CARPENTER: Our defense was great. Obviously a couple double play balls. That ball in the first, I think we need to work on that one next spring in PFP. But it was just an instinct. He threw that ball, it was a little out of my reach, and I dove. I was like, I'm going to go get it, and it turned out to work out. But his play in the sixth there to get that ball down the line, first of all, I don't know how Mike got a piece of it, but he did, and it could have been a big deal, but Albert was able to get to it, made a great play and got it to me.
Q. David, can you talk about the importance, and I know we're a long ways from the series being over, but the importance of winning the first game in your home park, holding the home field at least for the moment.
DAVID FREESE: Yeah, I think playing a team like Texas, you love to get off to a start like that. We've gone through two teams prior to the World Series where you definitely want to grab that first one. But I think we view it as just a victory. You know, there's three more that we've got to grab, and this is obviously important because it puts us in a position to head that way.
LANCE BERKMAN: Well said.
CHRIS CARPENTER: I'd obviously add one thing to it because it was well said: The one thing about, I'll go back to 2006 when we went to Detroit and won Game 1. I remember the confidence level that our ballclub had going into Game 2 knowing we were facing Kenny Rogers, and it really didn't matter what happened to be honest with you. I remember getting on the bus and everybody was like, whatever, it's 1 1 and we're going back to our place. Is it the defining factor of the series? Absolutely not. But I do remember the confidence level that we had after winning one game, especially Game 1 in their place. I think it's a good thing for us.
Q. Lance, could you speak to the importance of winning games behind Carp in series like this, especially tonight?
LANCE BERKMAN: Well, he's our guy. When he takes the mound, we feel like we're going to win the game every time. I think when that comes true, it just builds. You have confidence when he takes the mound already, and then the job that he's done this post season has built that confidence, and you certainly want to win the games that your ace pitches. I think for us to be successful well, clearly in the post season to this point, it's been a big factor, and I think if we're going to win this series, it's going to be a big factor. We got off to a good start there tonight.
CHRIS CARPENTER: I love you, Lance.