10/14/06 2:15 AM ET
NLCS turning into a free-for-all
Offenses turn it up a notch as series shifts to St. Louis
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
But the Cards were only a step behind in new Busch Stadium -- the first ballpark, incidentally, to host postseason baseball at the end of its maiden season since Atlanta's Turner Field, in 1997. St. Louis went 49-31 at home (the missing game being a rainout against the Giants which did not have to be made up).
Suppan personifies that good down-home feeling. He not only went 7-2 at Busch (compared to 5-5 away from home) but had an ERA more than two runs lower than on the road (3.18 to 5.36).Removing Scott Rolen from his Friday lineup had clearly pained La Russa, who continues to keep a watchful eye on his regular third baseman, looking for any sign that he might be ready to cut loose from his 1-for-14 postseason. "It's not an enjoyable decision, with one of our core guys," La Russa said. "There's something preventing him from being right. But it's just one game at a time." La Russa's difficult choice, of course, was reinforced by Spiezio's typically clutch performance in Game 2. His two-run triple tied the game in the seventh and, for punctuation, he added a run-scoring double to further the winning three-run rally in the ninth. Trachsel may not be the right guy to mend Rolen's confidence -- however much that compounds his weak left shoulder. Rolen is a soft 10-for-41 lifetime against the right-hander, with seven RBIs but also 10 strikeouts. Rolen did enter Friday night's game defensively in the bottom of the ninth, so his return to the starting lineup for Game 3 is a possibility. The comeback win, on a night when ace Chris Carpenter simply lacked his "A" game, may not have given the Cardinals an outright advantage in the series. But it did get them back into the series. "Everyone got the big hits to give us an opportunity to win and get us back to St. Louis 1-1," said Carpenter, whose spotless career postseason record remained at 4-0 thanks to the comeback. "I just didn't have very good stuff. "I battled all night long, as long as I could. Now I hope to get another opportunity." That opportunity would come in Game 6, which would be back in Shea Stadium on Wednesday. There will be plenty of Busch bedlam before we get to that point.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.