Grand Central Series

Bill Chuck reports on the NLCS Game Seven and looks forward to an all-Central World Series.

The National League Central Champion St. Louis Cardinals defeated the National League East Champion New York Mets, 3-1 last night to earn the right to face the American League Champion Detroit Tigers who were the American League Wild Card representative from the American League Central division. Whew!

This was a game in which a catcher named Yadier Molina out-Carlosed the Mets with a 9th inning two run homer off of Aaron Heilman, who out-Wagnered the Mets closer, by surrendering the tie-breaking runs.

This was a game that the Cardinal pitcher, Jeff Suppan, out-Carpentered the reigning Cy Young Award winner and proved who truly was the post-season ace of the staff. And, this was a game in which the Mets starter, Oliver Perez, out-Glavined, and certainly, out-Trachseled his cohorts by pitching an outstanding clutch game when everything was on the line.

In fact, Suppan and Perez were only the fourth pair of opposing starters who both pitched at least six innings and allowed one earned run or none in the deciding game of a best-of-seven series. The others: Jack Morris and John Smoltz in 1991, Ralph Terry and Jack Sanford in 1962 and Christy Mathewson and Hugh Bedient in 1912, all in the World Series.

This was a game in which, Mets outfielder, Endy Chavez, out-Amorosed Scott Rolen with one of the greatest catches in post-season history, not only robbing Rolen of homer, but turning it into a double play that preserved the 1-1 tie.

This was a game in which Cardinals rookie closer, Adam Wainwright, out-Isringhausened the Mets by closing the door with tying the tying and winning runs on base in the 9th. Wainwright was only the second rookie to earn a save in the deciding game of a postseason series (and the first to do so in a best-of-seven series). The other was Pete Ladd of the Brewers in the 1982 ALCS.

This was a game won by a St. Louis team that almost out-Mauched the league by coming dangerously close to blowing an 8½-game lead over the Astros with 12 to play. And, who are now preparing to face the Tigers who went 19-31 over its last 50 games and did blw their first place lead to the Minnesota Twins.
"It's an improbable championship when you win 83 games," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa admitted. "But all I could think about, coming to the park, was that old saying: 'When you get to 90 wins, that's when you know you're a good team.' Well, this was No. 90 tonight [counting the playoffs]. So I guess now we're good."

This was a game in which Cardinals homers, played the same pivotal role it had throught the series. The Cardinals winning home run cam from Molina who all of .216 this season and hit all of six regular season homers. So what? earlier in the series Jeff Suppan homered which made his total for the year, including the regular season, one. They got a tie-braking homer from their backup outfielder, So Taguchi, whose total home runs since the end of June now totals - one. They got a home run from their sparkplug shortstop, David Eckstein, who in his final 462 at-bats of the season had

You could look at this LCS in two ways for the Mets - they exceeded expectations by advancing to the Game 7 with a decimated pitching staff; or, they disappointed by their inability to hit and deliver as they had all season. No matter how you look at it, the Mets' glass is not just half-empty, it is bone dry this morning.

The only thing I know for sure is that the Detroit Tigers are not the only team of destiny in this World Series.
Oakland Athletics vs. Minnesota Twins
OAK wins 3-0

Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees
DET wins 3-1

St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres
STL wins 3-1

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets
NYM wins 3-0

Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics
DET wins 4-0

St. Louis Cardinals vs. N.Y. Mets
STL win 4-3
Gm Date Site Time (TV)/Result
1 NY, 2-0 @ NYM WP Glavine - LP Weaver
2 STL, 9-6 @ NYM WP Kinney - LP Wagner
3 STL, 5-0 @ STL WP Suppan - LP Trachsel
4 NY, 12-5 @ STL WP Perez - LP Thomson
5 STL, 4-2 @ STL WP Weaver - LP Glavine
6 NY, 4-2 @ NYM WP Maine - LP Carpenter
7 STL, 3-1 @ NYM WP Flores - LP Heilman

STL vs. Detroit Tigers
The Game 1 starters have yet to be announced, although the Tigers can choose anyone they'd like including Don Mossi. The Cardinals will either start Jeff Weaver on three days' rest or rookie Anthony Reyes on full rest.
Gm Date Site Time (TV)/Result
1 Sat. Oct. 21 @
Detroit 7:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
2 Sun. Oct. 22 @
Detroit 7:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
3 Tue. Oct. 24 @ STL
8 p.m. ET (FOX)
4 Wed. Oct. 25 @ STL
8 p.m. ET (FOX)
5* Thu. Oct. 26 @ STL 8 p.m. ET (FOX)
6* Sat. Oct. 28 @ Detroit 7:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
7* Sun. Oct. 29 @ Detroit 7:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
* - If necessary

All games can be heard on ESPN Radio
The St. Louis Cardinals have faced the Tigers in two memorable Series.

In 1934, the Cardinals beat the Tigers in seven games. In this Series, the Tigers took a 3-2 series lead back home to
Detroit, but the Cardinals won Games 6 and 7, including an 11-0 Game 7 victory. These classic Cardinals were known as the "The Gashouse Gang" and Dizzy and Paul Dean brothers racked up all four wins.

In 1968, the Tigers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win. Mickey Lolich had three of the victories, including a Game 7 win over Hall of Famer Bob Gibson.

The Tigers swept
St. Louis in a three-game series June 23-25 at Comerica Park. The Tigers outscored the Cardinals 21-13 and posted a 3.96 ERA, compared to 7.36 for St. Louis.

Both managers have won a World Series before, Jim Leyland with the Marlins in 1997 and Tony La Russa with the A's in 1989. One of these managers will become only the second manager (Sparky Anderson) to win a World Series in both leagues.

Leyland spent the last five years scouting and working for La Russa and the Cardinals before returning to the bench this season.

The Cardinals now have two pennants in three years and 17th overall but are without a World Series championship since 1982.

The Tigers Detroit won it all in '84 and have eight pennants.

In 2003, the Tigers lost an AL-record 119 games.

The Tigers have won seven straight games since losing their postseason opener to the Yankees.

Two members of the Cardinals are former Tigers.
Right-hander Jeff Weaver, who won two games in the playoffs, pitched for the Tigers from 1998-2002. Outfielder Juan Encarnacion played for
Detroit from 1997-2001.

The Tigers' second baseman Placido Polanco played for the Cardinals from 1998-2002.
(Won 4, Lost 5)
1984: Beat San Diego Padres, 4-1
1968: Beat St. Louis Cardinals, 4-3
1945: Beat Chicago Cubs, 4-3
1940: Lost to Cincinnati Reds, 4-3
1935: Beat Chicago Cubs, 4-2
1934: Lost to St. Louis Cardinals, 4-3
1909: Lost to Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-3
1908: Lost to Chicago Cubs, 4-1
1907: Lost to Chicago Cubs, 4-0
Record: Won 26, Lost 29

(Won 9, lost 7)
2004 Lost to Boston, 4-0
1987 Lost to Minnesota, 4-3
1985 Lost to Kansas City, 4-3
1982 Beat Milwaukee, 4-3
1968 Lost to Detroit, 4-3
1967 Beat Boston, 4-3
1964 Beat New York, 4-3
1946 Beat Boston, 4-3
1944 Beat St. Louis Browns, 4-2
1943 Lost to New York, 4-1
1942 Beat New York, 4-1
1934 Beat Detroit, 4-3
1931 Beat Philadelphia, 4-3
1930 Lost to Philadelphia, 4-2
1928 Lost to New York, 4-0
1926 Beat New York, 4-3
Record: Won 48, Lost 51

The first World Series between St. Louis and Detroit was 72 years ago, and no two franchises have met twice in the Series over such a long span while representing the same cities. The Athletics and Giants had an 84-year span (1905-1989), but both teams moved during that time.
In 12 of the past 13 World Series, the team with more rest going in won. Which means the Tigers probably have an edge. The one exception was in 2000, when the Mets qualified for the World Series a day before the Yankees, but lost.

No team has ever had more rest than these Detroit Tigers who presumably went on a five-day, four-night cruise while waiting for the Series to begin.

October 20, 1982, the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 in Game 7 to win the World Series.

Those Cardinals are sure good in Game 7. In fact, this was the 10th Cardinals team in history to win a Game 7.

The Mets had two hits in the 1st inning, two in the 9th and none in between. Only two other teams in postseason history scored in the 1st inning and then failed to get a hit from the 2nd through the 8th inning: the Cardinals in a 2-1 loss to Herb Pennock and the Yankees in Game 1 of the 1926 World Series, and the A's in a 2-1 loss to Jose Rijo and the Reds in Game 4 of the 1990 Series.

Oh you folks at Elias Sports, what would we ever do without you?

Billy-Ball is a baseball column by Bill Chuck who enjoys the fun of the game and, more important, enjoys making fun of the game. Bill's quirky look at the idiosyncrasies — and the idiots — of the sport is published Monday through Friday during the baseball season. For your free subscription, click here.

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