Mid Series Preview: “Stop it. Just stop it.”


Alex Smith
is in charge at Redbird Rants, and now that I’ve got enough confidence built up from watching the Phillies brutalize the Cardinals, I decided to ask him a few highly personal questions about several hot topics.

This is a juicy one.  Better get a glass.

Tony La Russa was handed a magical necklace by Carlos Santana earlier this month that wound up being the key to the Cardinals’ success.  What is the statute of limitations on magical artifacts given to people by musicians?  Given the events of Wednesday, is it fair to assume all the magic is used up?  

Stop it. Just stop it. The necklace is weird looking, Tony La Russa is weird looking, and I don’t buy into the superstitions of baseball whatsoever.

I tend to think the Cardinals run was a result of the fact that they finally figured out how to play consistent baseball, not because of some jewelry artifact. But if there is any magic involved here, it’s not all used up. The Cardinals are hot at just the right time, and I expect there success to give them confidence moving into October.

Look out!  Baseball has allowed Angel Hernandez and Jerry Meals to infiltrate the playoffs!  Joe West is also shuffling around somewhere, grotesquely, but Hernandez and Meals will be patrolling the Phillies-Cardinals NLDS.  How do you see them effecting/ruining things?

What a relief it is to know that West will be doing the Brewers/Diamondbacks series. He certainly wouldn’t be receiving any brotherly love from the fans in Philadelphia, so I think MLB is avoiding a bloody massacre by keeping his face out of this city.

I’d love to know how Joe feels about this because on one hand, he misses out on his beloved cheese steaks, but on the other hand, he’ll get the chance to work on that beer belly in Milwaukee. Look at me completely ignoring your question to talk about Joe West. He’s an attention whore, dammit!

Anyway, I find it interesting that the umpires in the Phils/Cards series get progressively more pitcher friendly from games one to four. The crew chief Jerry Layne gets game one and is one of the most hitter-friendly umps in the postseason, so I suppose there will be opportunities to put runs on the board early in the series. Might I add that the last time Layne worked a playoff series was the 2006 NLCS when the Cardinals upset the Mets in seven games, so clearly he likes St. Louis. HA!

Are these the last few games we see Albert Pujols in a Cardinals uniform, and will the fanbase be in a state of bittersweet melancholy throughout the post season, occasionally sobbing into their hands?  I’m asking you to tell me the future.  Let me know if anything else important is going to happen, but I’m not sure what’s more critical than Pujols’ contract.

Shhhh. We don’t talk about Albert’s contract until the end of the season, remember? Just when the Wild Card title had taken my mind off of Mr. Pujols, you go and bring it up. Thanks.

But seriously, I don’t think St. Louis fans are going into this postseason with the mindset of “OMG, these might be Albert’s last few games in a Cardinal uniform!”  Over the course of the season we have come to terms with the fact that if he leaves, it’s not the end of the world.

I will tell you that I believe this improbable September run to the playoffs makes staying more appealing for Pujols, but who knows? This is me telling you that I can’t predict the future. Sorry. Why don’t I just say that he’ll hit at least one home run in this series? Seems like a pretty safe bet to me.

Matt Holliday is pumped full of cortisone thanks to a finger injury.  Is that going to come back to haunt the Cards or are they cool with sticking Allen Craig out there?  And can’t Holliday use Placido Polanco as an example to follow in the realm of “Players Playing With Bodies That Are 96% Cortisone At This Point?”

Matt Holliday just epitomizes the wear and tear of a 162-game season. I mean this guy has been through it all and has missed time for some of the strangest reasons. With that said, Holliday has not gotten to the Polanco stage of his career quite yet.

At the age of 31, he’s still in the latter half of his prime, and he’s been very productive when healthy this season. A .296 average with 22 HRs and 75 RBIs is nothing to laugh at, and I expect he’ll be healthy enough to play at some point in this series. With that said, there isn’t as much of a drop-off from Holliday to Allen Craig as you might think. Whenever Craig is called on to start, he is a versatile player who can get the job done both at the plate and in the field. It’s nice to have a super-utility man.

The Cardinals starting rotation.  Why is it set up the way it is… incorrectly?  And why won’t anyone tell Tony La Russa?

If you know anything about Tony La Russa, you know that you should always expect the unexpected. Part of me wants to believe that he is clowning around once again and outsmarting himself, but the other part of me agrees with the decision to pitch Chris Carpenter on short rest in game two.

Carpenter is the experienced veteran ace of the staff, so if anyone can handle pitching on the road in what could be a make or break game two if the Phils win game one, it’s him. No one will tell TLR because they no it’s not going to change. He’s made his decision, so don’t bother telling him you don’t like it. He’s always right (hahaha)!

Is the bar for baseball set far too high after Wednesday’s crock of insanity?  Will we expect far too much from our playoffs, clenching our fists until they bleed, waiting for the intensity and liveliness of the last day of the season?  ANSWER ME DAMN IT.

There’s no denying the fact that we all witnessed one of the most exciting final weeks of regular season baseball in history, but if you ask me, there is nothing like postseason baseball. No matter how wild the games leading up to the playoffs are, there is no comparison if you ask me. If anything, we shouldn’t raise our expectations just because of the quality of baseball that’s been put on display of late.