Sunday, October 9, 2011

NLCS Game 1: Cardinals at Brewers

US Presswire photo
Nyjer Morgan will be a key figure in this series between intense rivals.
This National League Championship Series features no shortage of star power. Pujols. Fielder. La Russa. Braun. Carpenter. Greinke. Yet all the attention leading into this showdown between the Cardinals and Brewers was centered on ... Nyjer Morgan and a squirrel.

Yep, this is going to be quite a series. Tony Plush has thrust himself onto the national stage, both because of his performance on the field (his game-winning single Friday night to eliminate the Diamondbacks) and his antics off the field (dropping several F-bombs on live TV, not to mention referring to Albert Pujols as "Alberta" on Twitter a few weeks ago).

And it's not all sideshow theater. Nyjer legitimately is going to play a key role in this series. As we all saw here in 2009, when he's on his game and channeling his energy in positive ways, he can be one of the most dynamic players in baseball. And as we saw last year, when he's off his game and channeling that energy in negative ways, he can cause damage to his own team. (Of course, he's not in the lineup today with lefty Jaime Garcia on the mound for St. Louis.)

How will this series all play out? Will Morgan or the St. Louis Rally Squirrel prevail? Scroll down for my prediction...

Where: Miller Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m.
Radio: WSPZ (570 AM), XM 185
Weather: Sunny, 74 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from CF
SS Rafael Furcal
CF Jon Jay
1B Albert Pujols
RF Lance Berkman
LF Matt Holliday
C Yadier Molina
3B David Freese
2B Ryan Theriot
P Jaime Garcia

RF Corey Hart
3B Jerry Hairston
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
2B Rickie Weeks
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
CF Carlos Gomez
C Jonathan Lucroy
P Zack Greinke
PREDICTION: This should be a fantastic series, pitting a couple of fierce rivals (not to mention a bunch of really talented players and pitchers) against each other. The key for the Brewers: Jump out to a strong start in their raucous home ballpark, where they've played so well all year. The Cardinals, with Chris Carpenter slated to start Game 3 at Busch Stadium, are capable of extending the series even if they fall into an early hole. But if the series comes back to Miller Park, it's tough to go against the Brewers, even if Carpenter would start a possible Game 7 against Yovani Gallardo. MILWAUKEE IN SEVEN.


baseballswami said...

I think this is going to be an interesting and exciting series. Even though Nyger did a good baseball thing, I am still glad he is not here. I find his behavior boorish and tiresome. As long as things are going well, the Brewers will be fine with him. Let things start to turn south and then it will be another story. The mlb guys were praising his energy and baseball playing but really cautioning that his team is going to have to keep him under control. Calling Pujols Alberta, dropping f bombs, starting fights - that stuff could come back to haunt his team. The cardinals are champion grudge holders and do you really want to tick off Pujols? Anyway -- looks to be an interesting series. The other series? Not so sure that Detroit has enough to overcome the Rangers.

Teh Rally Squrrel said...

Watch for me to make a big entrance into Miller Park.

Teh Rally Sqrrel said...

And no, I'm not nutz, but I do like them.

natsfan1a said...

Let's go, Cardinals! (clap-clap clap-clap-clap)

NatsLady said...

Texas-Detroit is postponed. I thought they had a drought in Texas?

NatsLady said...

oooooh, Fielder just HPB. Warning issued.

baseballswami said...

ooooooh - NatsLady -- warnings issued, now neither pitcher can throw inside. LaRussa knows the Brewers can't retaliate. Only bottom of the first.Garcia struggling.Should be a good one. I had not heard about the other game - I thought Texas was in a drought, too.But this one should be good.

NatsLady said...

This is where Nyjer could cost his teammates. With all this "bad blood" he stirs up, now his pitcher is handicapped by the warning. And he's not even in the game.

baseballswami said...

Mitch Williams said on mlb last night that either Braun or Fielder was going to wear one today - he has been associated with the game for a long time and he knows a few things. Nyger has no filter and does not see consequences ahead. Greinke seems to have figured things out now - don't you think? What a fascinating guy - did you see him studying defensive alignments between innings?

NatsLady said...

Boy, that was fast. The announcers had barely gotten the words out of their mouth, "Garcia needs to put up a zero here after his teammates delivered the lead for him," when he completely lost it. Lead all gone!

NatsLady said...

What are those socks????? No, I can't see a lot of stuff because of watching only the "companion" coverage. But Greinke is a smart guy.

Ooooops, Dotel and terrible throw. Can't get over the socks. They can't wear a hat to honor the NYFD but they can wear THOSE socks?

baseballswami said...

Well - that was some display of offense! Either that, or bad pitching... Yes, NatsLady - those socks are pretty darn ugly. I recall seeing them before in highlight shots, but I don't think they wore them when they played us.I cannot believe that Milwaukee would even consider breaking up the Braun/Fielder team. they are magic back- to- back.

Anonymous said...

Hairston is killing it!

SCNatsFan said...

How tough it must be to be a Brewers fan right now knowing if Cecil resigns then can be like this every year, if not you get Pena/Lee/washed up 1B there next year. Enjoy it while you can... really like this franchise.

baseballswami said...

Cecil is Prince's Dad..... Gee - maybe the Brewers can sign Pujols to play first base! Seriously -- which one of these guys is going to make more money? It's odd that both of the top free agent first basemen are playing in this game right now.Both teams could change so much by losing them.

Gonat said...

Zach Greinke continues his horseshoe run of luck. Gives up 6 runs and gets 9 runs in support.

He is a good pitcher but far from very good. 3.88 regular season ERA is a #3 or #4 production.

Drew8 said...

I don't see how we can call Greinke a star. Even if you chalk up his 76-73 career mark to poor run production, his ERAs are less than impressive.

He had one remarkable year sandwiched amid years of mediocrity. He came to the NL -- away from the DH -- and posted a 3.88 ERA! Even John Lannan had a better ERA than Greinke this year.

natsfan1a said...

I've seen then rocking those socks lots of times.

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