World Series live blog: Game Five

Hardball Times copy editor Greg Simons is not one of those people the TV moguls feared would will be put off by a Middle America World Series. He’s a lifelong Cardinals fan. As with Games One, Two, Three and Four , we asked him to put on his red cap and share his observations as he watches.

Nice subtle shot by A.J. Pierzynski about Ron Washington not “selling his players out to the media.” Gee, what manager might A.J. know who does something like that? I’m looking at you, Ozzie Guillen. I can’t wait to see how Guillen gets along with Logan Morrison.

First inning
Let’s see if Rafael Furcal can give all the Cardinals fans a gift on his birthday.

Close, but not quite, as he repeats last night’s first at-bat with a rocket into Adrian Beltre‘s glove.

Albert Pujols with a loud out to center, but the side is retired in order.

A walk to Josh Hamilton, but no further damage allowed by Chris Carpenter.

Second inning
Matt Holliday‘s football background is obvious, as he runs like a linebacker.

Hey, back-to-back walks. The Cards can do something with this.

Too bad Holliday wasn’t a wide receiver. A wideout might have been able to advance to third on that fly ball to right. Of course, a wide receiver wouldn’t have Holliday’s power, so it’s a good tradeoff overall.

Yadier Molina—professional hitter. Yadier Molina—not a professional baserunner. Okay, yeah, he’s both, but you know what I mean.

Nice work by Skip Schumaker to get the run in, and a nice assist by Mitch Moreland to make sure it happened.

Whoa, stellar defense by Daniel Murphy to keep the score close.

Third inning
The Rangers’ defense has another lapse, allowing Furcal to get to second.

Oh, good, a bunt. With the big boppers up, Tony La Russa chooses to give away an out to play for a single run. (Smacks forehead.)

An intentional walk to Pujols? Interesting counter move. Both managers seem to want to give gifts to the other. Save it for the holiday season, guys.

Derek Holland really is a goofball. As a fellow lefty, I applaud his actions. And that Harry Caray imitation was nice. I grew up listening to (and mostly disliking) Caray calling Cubs games. And Holland is from Newark, Ohio. I’ve been there a few times.

Mental Health and the CBA
A particular bit of language in the latest CBA could have negative consequences for some players.

I was nearly so engrossed in the Holland conversation that I almost missed the double play that ruined a potentially big inning for St. Louis.

Carpenter tames Napoli this time around.

Man, this Rangers lineup just has no letup to it. They start Mitch Moreland, and he cranks a homer from the ninth spot in the lineup. Tim McCarver did a nice job of mentioning his power just seconds before the blast.

His name is Elvis Andrus, and he bunts—a lot. That one was particularly nice.

A 6-3 groundout. We love ya, Carp.

Fourth inning
That strikeout pitch to Lance Berkman finshed well, appearing to just catch the back of the plate.

Ouch! We don’t need David Freese hurting himself again.

Nice range by Ian Kinsler to haul in Molina’s flare.

Carpenter’s curveball is bringing Beltre to his knees. But based on that replay from his time with the Red Sox, Beltre can do amazing things when swinging from his knees. That should be part of George Costanza’s dad’s feats of strength as part of Festivus.

Fifth inning
Two more baserunners, and no one out. I like it.

Another bunt attempt? Someone please teleport me to Texas so I can handcuff La Russa and Jose Oquendo so they can’t keep doing this!

Yes, it worked, but it gave up an out—again!

The whiff, the walk, and the weak grounder to snuff the rally.

Based on their chanting his name every single at-bat, I think the fans like Mike Napoli.

The 4-1 putout is one you don’t see every day.

If Carpenter had come up with that ball cleanly, I’m not sure he would have gotten an out, because Pujols was hanging out in no-man’s land, not going for the ball, not covering first. That’s a couple odd balls to the right side of the infield.

Ah, no harm, no foul.

Sixth inning
With C.J. Wilson exiting the game while trailing, he can’t get the victory, so unless he pitches in relief later in the Series, Wilson will be winless in the postseason. That’s less than ideal heading into free agency.

I startled my daughter sitting nearby with my groan over Beltre’s swing. Last time he was on his knees at the mercy of Carpenter’s Uncle Charlie; this time he had a moment to kneel down, relax and admire his rocket shot over the left-center field wall. That deserved a big-time head touching.

Napoli once again puts my heart in my throat. GULP!! Okay, breathe again, Greg.

Seventh inning
I’d like Allen Craig to see another low-and-away pitch from Alexi Ogando. He seems to know what to do with those.

Okay, a walk will do. Maybe Pujols will repeat his performance from his last AB against Ogando—423 feet to the left-field seats, in case you don’t remember.

What in the world was that??? Did Allen Craig try to steal on his own? Did La Russa call that? A blown sign? Whoever made that decision, it was stupid, stupid, stupid. Craig was out by a mile, and it took the bat out of Pujols’ hands.

That replay of Craig and La Russa in the dugout looked like Craig was trying to explain why he ran.

On Holliday’s hit, I was chanting, “Score! Score! Score!” even though Pujols probably would have been dead meat at the plate. Holliday getting to second sure helped, though, as the intentional walk to Berkman brings Freese to the plate. C’mon, Freese!

Crap! That fly ball to center is rally killer number…what, infinity?

I have to remind myself that Schumaker came up as an outfielder, and he mainly plays second base because St. Louis needed one (well, sure, every team does…but, y’know), and TLR decided to give Schumaker a shot at the keystone.

I love watching Molina throw down to first. It worked last night, so why not try again?

I was a bit concerned about Carp coming out again for the seventh. Never mind.

Eighth inning
A leadoff single is nice. Now let’s see if St. Louis can bring him around.

Why bring in a pinch hitter to bunt? And why bunt at all? How about trying to score a few runs to put the game out of reach?

Not gonna happen…

I shouldn’t have been worried about Carpenter; I should have been worried about his replacements. And another shoulda: Murphy probably should have been further around third and scored as the ball trickled away from the Cardinals’ middle infielders.

And now, why do you bring in a reliever to issue the free pass? La Russa is over-managing tonight—massively.

Oh, I see, he wastes a perfectly good pitcher in Lance Lynn to use up a bit of time for Jason Motte to finish warming up. I see the train of thought, but it’s derailed. Grrrr!

If you’re going to do something that “clever” why not kill time some other way? Have Marc Rzepczynski slow down, have a pitcher-catcher conversation or two, bring in Kyle Lohse or Edwin Jackson to lob four pitches to the catcher. All this cutesy maneuvering ticks me off. These are the times I despise La Russa.

Thankfully, Motte does his job. The pressure’s on the Cardinal bats now.

Ninth inning
Hmmm, Neftali Feliz plunks Craig.

Who’s up next? Pooh’s up next! (Hey, Craig, don’t try to steal second!)

So, trying to avoid a potential double play, they run into one. Wonderful.

Something tells me we’ll hear about Pierzynski’s taking first base on a dropped third strike back in the 2005 playoffs.

Lots of wasted opportunities by St. Louis (12 men left on base), just enough taken advantage of by Texas. The team that executed best won tonight.

I’ll certainly be sticking around to see what La Russa has to say about Craig’s attempted stolen base in the seventh, to say nothing of the same gaffe in the ninth.

No Pierzynski dropped-strike talk, and no interview with La Russa? I’m disappointed.

The Cardinals are going to have to give the Rangers their first back-to-back losses since late August if they are going to come back and win the Series. That’s clearly an uphill battle, but at least they go home (on their second straight unhappy flight) to try to do it.

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Greg has been a writer and editor for both The Hardball Times website and Annual since 2010. In his dreams, he's the second coming of Ozzie Smith. Please don't wake him up.
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Mike Larson
Mike Larson

Did the Rangers score or did it end 2-2?  Couldn’t tell by the play by play.

Greg Simons
Greg Simons

Sorry about that, Mike.  I guess my Cardinals bias was shining through.  I’ll try to be more thorough, and a bit more balanced, for Game Six.