As it turns out, October magic is not an unlimited resource.
When San Francisco blew Game 7 of the NLCS open in the 3rd inning and jumped out to a 7-0 lead, people at home must’ve been smirking like, “Well, here we go again.” The never-say-die, cardiac Cards had dug themselves into another hole just begging to be rallied out of.
Instead, silent bats stayed silent. What should’ve been an exciting and heated elimination game proved to be more of a slow, painful send-off for the defending national champions. Matt Cain remained dominant on the mound and then transferred control seamlessly to a bullpen that did not disappoint. Heck, even the Giants bats added some more elbow room to the lead.
No one could’ve really seen this kind of loss coming. After everything St. Louis has been through the last two seasons, the wimpy retreat into the offseason we saw last night felt almost like 25 imposters had taken the field for the away team.
It just goes to what the marketing campaigns have told us all along: you can’t script October. Time and time again, we counted the Cards out. And when we finally thought we knew better, we were wrong AGAIN.
The downside of last night’s NLCS finale, of course, is that it didn’t do the story of these two teams justice. These were the last two teams to win the World Series fighting for the right to go back. The Cardinals lost Pujols to free agency. The Giants lost Wilson to injury and Melky to PED’s. It’s a shame that MLB’s two most resilient ball clubs had to be in the same league this year.
I mean REALLY resilient. The Giants went down 0-2 in a best-of-five series with the Reds and won three straight in Cincinnati. The Cardinals went to the home of the NL East’s two most formidable teams and eliminated them both.
But that will to keep fighting came out of only one team last night. I can’t remember a League Championship Series that was so heavily lopsided both statistically and emotionally. Heck, mother nature even tried ending the game prematurely out of mercy for St. Louis!
Slightly changing topics now, I also don’t get this groundswell of support for winning Marco Scutaro a World Series ring. Don’t get me wrong, he was absolutely sensational in the NLCS, but there are dozens of Marco Scutaro’s in the big leagues that deserve to get to a title. In another year, I might’ve been more behind this as a feel-good story. But in 2012, the only win-one-for-the-Gipper story was Chipper and the Braves and their October lasted only one game.
Then there’s the Tigers, whose dominating sweep of the Yankees feels as though it were a month ago after all the ups-and-downs in the last three games of the NLCS. The only sub-90-win team to take their division, Detroit was quickly glossed over by many casual fans. But I said it from the beginning: this is a ballclub built for the modern postseason. They can slug and they don’t strike out. When you put the ball in play, good things happen. It’s just that simple. If you don’t believe me, ask Hunter Pence.
Now that the Giants have eliminated the Cardinals, San Francisco would be wise not to follow suit and underestimate the Tigers. Justin Verlander is going to have two if not three starts in the series. If they get behind three games to one like they did with St. Louis, I’m not so sure they can come back again.
Like I said, October magic does run out.
NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
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