Yes, of course, that sounds very familiar — we’ve gotten used to seeing that throughout October. Even better? It definitely applied to more than one rookie in last night’s 3-1 Cardinals win over the Giants.
Matt Carpenter stepped up the biggest, with his third inning two-run blast over the Cards bullpen (which you can see here). It gave the Redbirds a 2-1 lead. And he was only in the lineup because Carlos Beltran strained his knee during his first inning at-bat.
How’s that for October rookie magic? (Speaking of, here’s an interesting tidbit from the MLB Twitter last night: Carpenter and Pete Kozma are the first Cardinals rookie teammates to homer in the same postseason.)
Plus a great story about the homer was that Carpenter’s parents were there to see it — they’d left Prosper, Texas, at 2:30 a.m. to reach St. Louis, not having any clue what Matt would actually do during the game. Check out this terrific article about the Carpenters by Adam McCalvy if you haven’t yet read it.
Yet Matty Carp was not the only rookie in the spotlight last night.
In from the bullpen to replace Kyle Lohse in a tense situation in the top of the sixth inning was Trevor Rosenthal. Lohse had given up back-to-back two-out singles to Brandon Crawford and Matt Cain, two of the seven hits he allowed on the night to go with five (ouch) walks. Rosenthal, in another high-pressure October situation, had everything firmly in control as he faced Angel Pagan. He delivered six pitches — 98, 98, 82, 99, 101 and 100 mph, four of which were strikes — before getting Pagan to ground to short for the inning’s final out.
It was Trevor’s fifth appearance of the postseason. In 4 1/3 innings, he’s allowed one hit and walked one while striking out seven.
Just a reminder: he’s 22. Last year he pitched for the Quad Cities River Bandits in the Midwest League.
Another rookie contributor: Shane Robinson. His bases-loaded ground-out in the seventh inning drove in the Cardinals’ third run, which allowed everyone to breathe just a little bit easier.
Right after that, the umpires decided that the rain was too much to keep playing in — and thus began the 3 hour, 25 minute rain delay during the ultimately 3 hour, 2 minute game.
And things progressed rather quickly once play resumed.
During the rain delay, one of the hotly debated topics was who would pitch for the Cardinals in the eighth inning. Mike Matheny’s choice was Jason Motte for a six-out save — a task which he completed quickly and easily, needing only 19 pitches.
Speaking of Matheny’s choice of Motte for the two innings, I can’t be the only one noticing an incredible amount of negativity from Cardinals fans on Twitter these days. To a degree, I get it — Twitter is an immediate outlet for emotional reactions, plus the emotions of the playoffs are that much more intensified. Yet last night’s constant barrage from many fans about their absolute certainty the Cardinals were going to lose this game was kind of unreal.
Guaranteed loss when Beltran left the game (and loss of the rest of the postseason too). Guaranteed loss when Rosenthal only pitched one-third of an inning. Guaranteed loss when Edward Mujica pitched before the rain delay (even though it was the seventh inning, so of course it was Mujica). Guaranteed loss when Boggs had to come in during the seventh — further guaranteed by the double-switch that brought in Robinson too. Guaranteed loss when the rain delay came, because Boggs wouldn’t be able to pitch the eighth. Absolute guaranteed loss with the decision to go with Motte in the eighth, and a further guaranteed loss for tonight since he obviously wouldn’t be able to pitch.
Things were mysteriously quiet, however, after the victory.
As I said, I understand to a point that Twitter is about emotion. But, Cardinals fans, do you ever stop and realize what this team has actually accomplished this October so far? And do you think for half a second before tweeting that maybe you don’t have to overreact negatively when the game still is being played and the team has the lead?
Ah, well. Twitter is free and voluntary and does include an unfollow button.
Tonight it’s Game Four, with Adam Wainwright looking to bounce back from last Friday night’s NLDS Game Five outing against Tim Lincecum. Game time is 7 p.m. Central and there’s a 30 percent chance of rain at game time.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.