If you watched every minute of all three games yesterday, I salute you. If you followed along with all three of our liveglogs, then I think you need an intervention. No more drinking red wine out of soda cans, fella. Speaking of which, thanks to Tuffy and Sooze for doing such great work in their respective glogs.
Let's take a gander at three individuals who, for better or worse, made a big difference in whether or not their teams succeeded:
- Matt Holliday, Cardinals: Yes, Holliday made an error. Yes, Holliday should have easily caught that line drive that would have ended the game. Yes, that single glaring misplay will cause the entire city of St. Louis to cast Holliday out as a pariah, sending him to the welcoming arms of Yankees fans next season. But only an impassioned and narrow-minded Cardinals fan would look at the Cards' loss and focus their blame entirely on Holliday. After all, reliever Ryan Franklin gave up the game-tying hit in the inning, then loaded the bases on walks, and gave up the game-winning hit as well. The Cards hitters put 11 runners on base but could only plate two. Tony La Russa was seen picking his nose on the dugout cam. You gotta spread the blame around! But this will always be remembered as the game Matt Holliday tried to catch a baseball with his taint; let it be so.
- Heidi Strobel, Hamels Family: Sure, Cole Hamels had an ineffective start and yes, he wasn't pulled from the game because his reality-show wife was going into labor. But Heidi was indeed going into labor and Cole had his bags pulled from the team charter so he could rush out to the hospital once he learned the news. Was the pending birth in the back of Hamels' mind all day? Probably. Did that cause him to struggle on the mound? Doubtful. Cole Hamels is a professional pitcher. I can't pretend to know what goes on inside that head, but this is a dude with a 2.26 ERA and 37 K in 41 career postseason innings. As a professional, we can only hope that he separates his personal life from his workaday life on the mound; but then again, all Cole ever wanted was little babies romping on his bed.
- John Lackey, Angels: Seven innings pitched, four hits, four Ks, one walk, no runs against the hard-hitting Red Sox lineup. Retired Dustin Pedroia on a simple fly out after "Country" Joe West extended the third inning by calling a catcher's interference call. First postseason win for Lackey since the 2002 World Series. First time the Angels have ever won game one of an ALDS series. Like the cheesy backdrop behind the centerfield wall in Angels Stadium, Lackey is the rock of the team.