So Taguchi? Ya gotta be kidding me, Billy!
Like every other wearer of blue and orange, I was huddled in worry about Big Bad Albert, who’d shown signs of getting his pilot light relit in his seventh-inning battle against Mota. Worried about Albert. Worried about Billy Wagner pitching in a non-save situation. Worried about So Taguchi? Only on the off-chance that he might eke out a walk ahead of his Pujolsness.
In an effort to be philosophical about it all, I suppose Billy was due for a stinker after a half-season of almost universally praiseworthy work. And from early on this game had the look of an ugly, no-rules pig pile with groin kicks and eye gouges and unchivalrous things happening down in the muck: Maine and Carpenter couldn’t find their release points, Jim Joyce couldn’t find the strike zone, Fox couldn’t find a radar gun that didn’t add 3 MPH to everybody, and I was absolutely unable to find solace even in a 3-0 lead. Too much unease in the night.
By the way, if you’re at home and feel like the anxiety of October baseball may finally shred what’s left of your sanity, try TiVo. With Emily at the game tonight, the duty of getting Joshua through bath and into bed fell to me. Reluctantly, I paused Fox at about 7:45 and unpaused it at 8:18, expecting to zoom through half an hour of blather and catch up to live action just in time for first pitch. I quickly realized the game had actually started at 8:05, meaning I was 14 minutes behind real life and wouldn’t catch up until the middle innings.
The funny thing? On delay, even an NLCS game seemed less important — at least for me, there’s something about watching plays you know already happened that robs them of their power. I actually found myself doing little chores and flipping through a magazine in the early innings, something that’s fine for the regular season but borderline treason in October. And then, the instant I caught up and TiVo and real life were once more in sync, the tension arrived so fast and hit so hard that it was like a pile-driver into the couch.
Unfortunately, I caught back up not long before things went awry. With Mota on the mound, I do wish Pedro had called a pitch in from the dugout against Scott Spiezio and that ridiculous thing on his chin, which I believe is known as a landing strip when adorning another region of the other gender. With Wags nearing the end of his implosion, I wish somebody had reminded him that Spiezio seems incapable of hitting anything offspeed, so why on God’s green earth would you throw him another fastball? I wish Shawn Green had made what would have been a fairly incredible catch. On the other hand, I got my wish that Spiezio’s ball wouldn’t go out, which it seemed certain to do, and wouldn’t be erroneously but understandably revised into a home run, which it wasn’t.
Reyes is awake. Delgado is hammering the ball (and the occasional grounder smacked his way, but oh well). Most of our bullpen did just fine. But we’re grasping at straws here. Because tonight sucked, and now we go to St. Louis and trot out Trachsel and Oliver Perez, which could potentially suck a whole lot worse.
For a team that apparently expired in the last days of September, the Cardinals sure are a nasty breed of undead. Can we win three more games before they do? Of course we can. But will we? Going to St. Louis up 2-0 with Carpenter behind us wouldn’t have killed the Cardinals, but it would have planted a stake in their collective heart while we hunted around for wafers to stick in the mouth and waited for sunlight to turn them into smoke. Now? It’s pitch black and there are things going bump in the night.