Rounding Third: Young guns get Cards right where they need to be

Philadelphia, PA ( - Yes the St. Louis Cardinals were awful in their World Series Game 1 loss on Wednesday. They committed three errors, were baffled by Jon Lester and just seemed completely overmatched against the Boston Red Sox.

In a word, the Cardinals were embarrassed.

They say you have to have a short memory in this game and apparently that was the case for St. Louis. Whatever happened in Game 1, none of it matters anymore because the Cardinals were able to bounce back on Thursday and will head back to St. Louis exactly where they needed to be in this best-of-seven set - all tied - following an improbable come-from-behind, 4-2, win in Game 2.

David Ortiz's two-run home run put the Red Sox ahead in the sixth, but the Cards answered right back, plating three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 4-2 lead.

Two of those runs in the pivotal frame were charged to Boston starter John Lackey, but it was lefty Craig Breslow, who will wear the goat horns. It was his throwing error that allowed the go-ahead run to score and he later served up an RBI single to Carlos Beltran to cap the scoring in the inning.

As bad as his error was, Breslow's biggest mistake was walking Daniel Descalso to load the bases. Descalso came into the game hitting a mere .188 this postseason.

Then, the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen took over.

Boston's relief corps may have received most of the headlines heading into this series, but it was the young Cardinals relievers who stole the show on Thursday.

Carlos Martinez relieved Michael Wacha in the seventh and pitched two scoreless innings, including a tension-packed eighth.

Jacoby Ellsbury reached on an error to start the inning, but the 22-year-old Martinez struck out Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia after that. Then with the entire world waiting for St. Louis manager Mike Matheny to bring in a lefty to face Ortiz, he stuck with his young hurler. Ortiz singled, but Martinez got out of the jam by getting Mike Napoli to pop out and end the inning.

Then it was Trevor Rosenthal's turn and the 23-year-old flame thrower put an exclamation point on the Game 2 win by striking out the side on 11 pitches.

Including Wacha, the Cards rode three pitchers all 23 and under.

For those of you who may not like the Cardinals, you better get used to them. They are going to be here for a long time.

It was as typical a Cardinals postseason win as you can get. Just when you think they are dead -- and let's be honest when Ortiz homered, a lot of people thought this series was over -- they come right back.

And with a whole new cast of unknowns.

A certain baseball writer may have tweeted, "Big Papi just ended this series," after Ortiz's blast. He was wrong. He forgot why he picked this series to go seven games in the first place.

Buckle in, this is going to be a long series.


St. Louis may be feeling good about itself tonight, but remember this: Teams that have clinched their pennant at home and don't have home field advantage in that time are 0-9 in their World Series appearances.

Also, of the 55 times a World Series has been tied, 1-1, the winner of Game 2 has gone on to capture the Series on 29 occasions. However, that has been the case on just two of eight occasions since 1993 -- Anaheim in 2002 and New York in 2009. The 1993 Phillies, 1997 Indians, 2003 Yankees, 2006 Tigers, 2008 Rays and 2011 Rangers all won Game 2 to square the Fall Classic but went on to lose the Series.


Now the Cardinals return to St. Louis with all the momentum and will try to seize control of the series when it shifts to Busch Stadium for Game 3 on Saturday.

It may have come as no surprise that Matheny named right-hander Joe Kelly his Game 3 starter, but he was hesitant to say who would get the ball in Game 4, leaving the door open for Adam Wainwright to come back on short rest.

Win or lose on Saturday, you have to think that's a strong option for Sunday.

Kelly posted a 2.69 ERA in 15 starts and 22 relief appearances during the regular season. Over three postseason starts, though, he is pitching to a 4.41 ERA in 16 1/3 innings.

He will be going on nine days' rest and hasn't pitched since Game 5 of the NLCS last Wednesday.

Meanwhile, with Clay Buchholz apparently not 100 percent, Boston will turn to former National League Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy, who is 0-1 this postseason with an 8.31 ERA.

Peavy gave up a run in 5 2/3 innings to beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, but was tattooed by the Detroit Tigers in his lone ALCS start to the tune of seven runs in three innings.

"The ball was moving, and I just have to be able to harness that a little bit better and stay under control," he said. "A lot has to do with me getting going too much, moving a little too fast. I just wasn't staying back."

Acquired from the Chicago White Sox at the trade deadline, Peavy was 4-1 in 10 starts for the Red Sox with a 4.04 ERA.

"I've never wanted anything as bad as I want this," Peavy said. "For us to be a step closer, to be in the dance, to have a chance at a championship is as big of a blessing as I've ever had."