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  • On second thought.....

    After a night of quiet reflection and cleaning out my Cardinal Fan locker, I have decided it was probably too harsh to agree with the assessment that the Redbirds are frauds -- or, more charitably, that they choked.

    This wasn't about desire, or heart, or will to win. They may have indeed pressed too much, but I don't know how the stats boys quantify that, so it will have to remain just an impression.

    This series wasn't about the Cardinals failure as much as it was about Roy Oswalt's success.

    I mentioned this in another thread -- you know how facing a knuckleballer can put a team in a week-long slump? I think Oswalt was so good in Game 2, he put the offense in a tailspin from which it never recovered.

    Look, we hit fine against the Padres. We hit well against Pettitte in Game One. But after Game Two, nothing. That game was significant for another reason -- our best hitter in the playoffs, Reggie Sanders, was injured after misplaying a fly to left. I'm not sure he got another hit the rest of the NLCS.

    If I were Stan Papi, this is the part where I'd display the post-season batting average, number of hits and numer of runs pre-Oswalt in Game 2 and after.

    I think the mastery of Oswalt carried over to Games 3 and 4, which were definitely winnable. Game 5 was more of the same until Albert's miracle. And that brought it back to Roy. He was too damned good.

    Now....I don't understand why we looked so boneheaded at times in the field and on the basepaths, unless they were pressing because of the offensive woes, which is possible. But the entire NLCS, and the entire post-season, really changed for the Cardinals during Game 2. We never recovered. (It didn't help that TLR didn't try to adjust by bringing in healthy players off the bench for Reggie and Walker. Maybe Oswalt got into his head, too. Usually he overmanages. This year he looked paralyzed.)

    What's frustrating about all this is the same thing Reggie touched on. Every year, for whatever reason, the bats suddenly go cold and the team goes dead. Like clockwork.

    But I don't blame the Cardinals this year as much as I credit Oswalt. That was as good a postseason performance as we've seen since Bob Gibson was patrolling these parts. He was the difference.
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
    --Albert Einstein

  • #2
    Kenny...you've got quite a few second thoughts. Nice to see you're a thinkin man's man.

    Comment


    • #3
      QUOTE(Indu WangZi @ Oct 21 2005, 07:18 AM) Quoted post

      Kenny...you've got quite a few second thoughts. Nice to see you're a thinkin man's man.
      [/b][/quote]

      I'm as consistent as a fart in a whirlwind.
      "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
      --Albert Einstein

      Comment


      • #4
        I posted this in the long thread, but I'll post it again...

        I dont think anyone can apply "this team has X percentage chance of winning this series" when it comes to the playoffs. I think the question is irrelevant.

        The reason for this is that I think when the playoffs get here, we throw out all the regular season wins, stats, etc out the window. Its a different ballgame than the regular season. Every play, every game, every pitch means so much more in a 5 or 7 game series as opposed to a 162 game season.

        The playoffs are a sprint, while the regular season is a marathon. The playoffs is about the mental and psychological aspects of the players, managers, even the umpires, moreso than about stats, wins, and statistical probabilities. As Stan alluded to, there is little connection between regular season wins and World Series wins.

        There IS a connection between teams that handle pressure and execute and do the "little things" in playoff games doing well in the playoffs. You cant put a stat on that, much less rely on the regular season stats.

        That explains in part why the best team in the regular season (as far as wins) rarely wins the World Series.

        But it doesnt explain why the Cardinals routinely fail in the mental aspects of the game in the post-season and ultimately lose, and lose badly.

        I think a good summation of what I am getting at is that guys like Donnie Moore, Mitch Williams, Rick Ankiel, etc (and Nick Anderson in the NBA) were deeply affected psychologically by their failures in the playoffs, but had those failures happened in a regular season game, chances are that it wouldnt have made them go haywire.
        “I’ve always stated, ‘I’m a Missouri Tiger,’” Anderson said March 13 after Arkansas fired John Pelphrey, adding, “I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”

        Asked then if he would talk to his players about the situation, he said, “They know me, and that’s where the trust comes in.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have another theory on why the wild card teams seem to do well in the playoffs...

          Typically, the wild card team has to battle right down to the wire and beat out a few other teams in order to win the wild card.

          So they are more "battle tested" than the division winners, and they have already proven that they have the mental makeup to handle the pressure of a down-to-the-wire fight for a playoff spot. Sort of a "survival of the fittest" theory.

          In contrast, the division winners have oftentimes coasted into their playoff spot. They didnt have to battle to the wire with another team in their division. And even if they did, they still may have at least secured the wild card spot.

          Everyone knew by July or August that the Cards were going to the playoffs, barring some major choke job, which rarely happens. The Astros had to battle to the very end to secure their wild card spot, and thus were more mentally sharp and battle tested for the playoffs than the Cardinals were.

          Thats my theory anyway. I havent checked the stats, but I am guessing that the wild card teams have done as good and probably better in the playoffs than the team that finished the regular season with the best record.
          “I’ve always stated, ‘I’m a Missouri Tiger,’” Anderson said March 13 after Arkansas fired John Pelphrey, adding, “I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”

          Asked then if he would talk to his players about the situation, he said, “They know me, and that’s where the trust comes in.

          Comment


          • #6
            QUOTE(Razzy @ Oct 21 2005, 07:55 AM) Quoted post

            I have another theory on why the wild card teams seem to do well in the playoffs...

            Typically, the wild card team has to battle right down to the wire and beat out a few other teams in order to win the wild card.

            So they are more "battle tested" than the division winners, and they have already proven that they have the mental makeup to handle the pressure of a down-to-the-wire fight for a playoff spot. Sort of a "survival of the fittest" theory.

            In contrast, the division winners have oftentimes coasted into their playoff spot. They didnt have to battle to the wire with another team in their division. And even if they did, they still may have at least secured the wild card spot.

            Everyone knew by July or August that the Cards were going to the playoffs, barring some major choke job, which rarely happens. The Astros had to battle to the very end to secure their wild card spot, and thus were more mentally sharp and battle tested for the playoffs than the Cardinals were.

            Thats my theory anyway. I havent checked the stats, but I am guessing that the wild card teams have done as good and probably better in the playoffs than the team that finished the regular season with the best record.
            [/b][/quote]


            Razzy, I agree with you to an extent. The Wildcard team usually gets in because that team is playing its best baseball at the end of the year. That's the only way they're able to fight off the other contenders. That momentum carries over.

            Also, I have another theory about baseball. In the regular season, in my eyes, normally the best teams prevail. In saying the best teams, I mean the entire team from the super stars to the bench players - everyone. Everyone subs in and plays an important role at one point or another. It's all about the interchangeable parts. Thus, I think that's why the Cards normally do well. Tony does an excellent job at handling the entire team and keeping them fresh and focused.

            HOWEVER, when you get into the playoffs, it's all about who has the best and most super stars. I know. Some may say I'm crazy. But, if you have those two or three DOMINANT starting pitchers and one amazing player and two guys hitting better than they ever have in their entire lives, you're going to win. In the playoffs, the individual efforts are what pulls you through. Look at this year. Without Oswalt, I would argue that the Cards could and should have won this series. Off the top of my head, look at those good Diamondback teams. They had Randy, Shilling, Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley and who the hell else? Sure, they had some nice ballplayers, but no one you would get overly excited about.

            That's my take on baseball. Regular season is build for the best team. Postseason is build for the best superstars.
            Official Sponsor of all things Mizzou Football, the non-existant Jose Oquendo STOP sign, and the Rally Hoosier!

            Comment


            • #7
              OK, so Oswalt was great.

              Mulder needed to match him, and then we squeak out a run late (because we allegedly are better at that than they are), and win anyway. Mulder more or less did it one game, took mega-gas the second.

              And so it didn't happen. They did what they needed to do to win, and we didn't.

              Comment


              • #8
                QUOTE
                So they are more "battle tested" than the division winners, and they have already proven that they have the mental makeup to handle the pressure of a down-to-the-wire fight for a playoff spot. Sort of a "survival of the fittest" theory.[/b][/quote]

                I don't know about that. You can probably just as easily argue that a number of WC teams (a majority, I'd bet) shoot their wad just getting to the playoffs.

                Comment


                • #9
                  after the cardinals three game series with the red sox, the red sox manager, terry francona, alluded that the cardinals were just not built for the playoffs. st louis fans were furious.

                  imo, francona is exactly right. the playoffs are sprints. and the needed to win lineup, rosters and the way you play the games are totally different than what is needed to succeed over a long 162 game season.

                  during the season, teams are faced with nagging injuries, occasional resting of stars and key players, etc. during the playoffs where there is no tomorrow, it is balls to the wall no tomorrow baseball.

                  you can get away with 2 or 3 players in the lineup the likes of nunez and taguchi during the season, but they really become ineffective at playoff time. the cardinals arguably had the best 5 an rotation in baseball this season. however in the playoffs, 3 is all you really need to win. pujols becomes a far more effective tool during the season as teams cant pitch around him all season. but in the playoffs, they can sure do all they can to try to keep him from beating them. the cardinals just werent built for the playoffs. and until they have a true playoff roster, we will continue to be disappointed in october.
                  Roy Mueller

                  "It's kind of fun to do the impossible."

                  - Walt Disney

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    QUOTE(Reggie Cleveland @ Oct 21 2005, 09:17 AM) Quoted post

                    QUOTE
                    So they are more "battle tested" than the division winners, and they have already proven that they have the mental makeup to handle the pressure of a down-to-the-wire fight for a playoff spot. Sort of a "survival of the fittest" theory.[/b][/quote]

                    I don't know about that. You can probably just as easily argue that a number of WC teams (a majority, I'd bet) shoot their wad just getting to the playoffs.
                    [/b][/quote]

                    Reggie,

                    The last three World Series winners were wild card teams. There is a possibility of a fourth this year, if the Astros win.

                    Since the introduction of the Wild Card in 1995, a wild card team has made it to the Series 7 times (counting the Astros this year), winning it 4 times (5 if Houston wins).

                    Thats 11 seasons of playoffs, in which a WC team made it to the final dance 7 times, when statistically, a wild card team has a 1 in 4 shot (or about 3 times if given 11 chances) at making it to the Series.

                    64% of the time, a wild card team has gone to the World Series, a percentage that is roughly 2.5 times as often as can be expected. Both teams in 2002 were wild card teams (Anaheim-Giants).

                    Meanwhile, only once during those seasons has the team with the best regular season record won the whole shebang, and that was the dominant Yankees team (114-48) of 1998.

                    That is the evidence to back up my theory.
                    “I’ve always stated, ‘I’m a Missouri Tiger,’” Anderson said March 13 after Arkansas fired John Pelphrey, adding, “I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”

                    Asked then if he would talk to his players about the situation, he said, “They know me, and that’s where the trust comes in.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      QUOTE(house77 @ Oct 21 2005, 09:13 AM) Quoted post

                      Also, I have another theory about baseball. In the regular season, in my eyes, normally the best teams prevail. In saying the best teams, I mean the entire team from the super stars to the bench players - everyone. Everyone subs in and plays an important role at one point or another. It's all about the interchangeable parts. Thus, I think that's why the Cards normally do well. Tony does an excellent job at handling the entire team and keeping them fresh and focused.

                      HOWEVER, when you get into the playoffs, it's all about who has the best and most super stars. I know. Some may say I'm crazy. But, if you have those two or three DOMINANT starting pitchers and one amazing player and two guys hitting better than they ever have in their entire lives, you're going to win. In the playoffs, the individual efforts are what pulls you through. Look at this year. Without Oswalt, I would argue that the Cards could and should have won this series. Off the top of my head, look at those good Diamondback teams. They had Randy, Shilling, Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley and who the hell else? Sure, they had some nice ballplayers, but no one you would get overly excited about.

                      That's my take on baseball. Regular season is build for the best team. Postseason is build for the best superstars.
                      [/b][/quote]

                      This is the best observation I have seen yet. There is a lot of validity to it.

                      I also believe in the Cardinals particular circumstance this year there is a lot to be said for how beat down some of our key veterans were. The older you are the harder it is to recover from being sore as hell.
                      I also don't think you can knock Jimmy too hard since he was put in the 2 hole. Bad spot for him. He is a free swinger getting stuck in a spot where he had to take pitches to try and get Albert up there. He is much better behind him IMO.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        QUOTE(kennyboyerfan @ Oct 21 2005, 08:05 AM) Quoted post


                        If I were Stan Papi, this is the part where I'd display the post-season batting average, number of hits and numer of runs pre-Oswalt in Game 2 and after.

                        [/b][/quote]


                        KBF, I know Stan Papi, I've seen Stan Papi, and believe me, you are no Stan Papi !!!!!111111 [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif[/img]




                        j/k [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif[/img]
                        RIP Stan the Man
                        The StL Blues will NEVER win the Stanley Cup. I repeat, NEVER!
                        I miss TLR!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You are correct, then. I withdraw my statement.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            QUOTE(Reggie Cleveland @ Oct 21 2005, 08:15 AM) Quoted post

                            OK, so Oswalt was great.

                            Mulder needed to match him, and then we squeak out a run late (because we allegedly are better at that than they are), and win anyway. Mulder more or less did it one game, took mega-gas the second.

                            And so it didn't happen. They did what they needed to do to win, and we didn't.
                            [/b][/quote]

                            If Mulder doesn't play like he's been smoking dope for about three years, we still could have won. All I'm saying is that we've been trying to figure out why the light switch flipped. I think it was Oswalt that did it. Maybe that's too simplistic, because I find that easier to believe than the fact that we're just a bunch of choke artist losing bastards.
                            "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
                            --Albert Einstein

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              QUOTE(house77 @ Oct 21 2005, 09:13 AM) Quoted post

                              Also, I have another theory about baseball. In the regular season, in my eyes, normally the best teams prevail. In saying the best teams, I mean the entire team from the super stars to the bench players - everyone. Everyone subs in and plays an important role at one point or another. It's all about the interchangeable parts. Thus, I think that's why the Cards normally do well. Tony does an excellent job at handling the entire team and keeping them fresh and focused.

                              HOWEVER, when you get into the playoffs, it's all about who has the best and most super stars. I know. Some may say I'm crazy. But, if you have those two or three DOMINANT starting pitchers and one amazing player and two guys hitting better than they ever have in their entire lives, you're going to win. In the playoffs, the individual efforts are what pulls you through. Look at this year. Without Oswalt, I would argue that the Cards could and should have won this series. Off the top of my head, look at those good Diamondback teams. They had Randy, Shilling, Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley and who the hell else? Sure, they had some nice ballplayers, but no one you would get overly excited about.

                              That's my take on baseball. Regular season is build for the best team. Postseason is build for the best superstars.
                              [/b][/quote]

                              I do agree with you for the most part about this. "Depth" is probably the one useful attribute for a team during the regular season that carries over the least to the postseason. The Cardinals pitching staff is a good example this year, as we had Carpenter, Mulder and then the other three guys were a tossup. As a result, there was never a game this year where we had a starter where we didn't feel like we had a chance to win on a given night.

                              But while that depth is very important to ensure that a team reaches the postseson, that edge is lost in the postseason, as at least one of those starters heads to the bullpen, and a team really needs to be only 3 or 4 starting pitchers deep to have success in the postseason.

                              Comment

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