If someone could have gotten word to the St. Louis Cardinals a little sooner about the World Series starting on Wednesday night, we all would have appreciated it. Through two innings of Game 1 they looked all out of sorts, like a team that hasn't played baseball in four years, not four days.
It started with a botched double play attempt in the first inning that led to three quick Boston Red Sox runs. Then it continued in the second as veterans Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina couldn't get their communication down on a simple infield popup. The little flare off Stephen Drew's bat leading off the second inning ended up dropping harmlessly between the Cardinals ace and MVP candidate as the usually in sync duo looked on in disbelief.
Yes, that really happened. Think about the embarrassment any major leaguer would feel under those circumstances, and then factor in they're two of the most respected players on the game's biggest stage. That's a lot of whammies, and their perfectly in sync reaction of bending over with their hands on their knees told the story. They would have taken a mulligan at that very second if those were available in baseball.
Unfortunately for St. Louis, they aren't, and the inning only spiraled from there. A second Pete Kozma error followed, and the Red Sox took advantage to add two more runs and build an early 5-0 lead. The only saving grace in the inning was Carlos Beltran's fine effort to take away a potential grand slam from David Ortiz. Though even that took an awful twisted as Beltran was forced to leave the game with an injury.
There's a lot of series left, no doubt. But the Cardinals early performance is equally shocking and troubling. Shocking, because we're just not used to them looking anything other than sharp and resilient in the postseason. Troubling, because the Red Sox don't need the help.
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