Tony La Russa Planned to Watch Moneyball with World Series Game 6 Postponed

With Game 6 of the World Series postponed until Thursday night, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he was going to hit the movie theater to watch Moneyball.

Moneyball has been viewed controversially since the book was released in 2003. It helped change baseball and it shaped the way front offices conducted business. Many people viewed it as progressive, but others felt differently. La Russa is one of those people. The Cardinals manager disagrees with the importance of on-base percentage, which was championed in the book.

“On-base percentage is one of the most dangerous concepts of the last seven, eight years because it forces some executives and coaches and players to think that it’s all about getting on base by drawing walks,” La Russa said to the media Wednesday.

“The fact is that the guys that have the best on-base percentage are really dangerous hitters whenever they get a pitch in the zone. So if a pitcher knows that, he works on the edges. So the question is do they get a good pitch to hit?”

Sounds like the words of a grumpy man, but hey, how many World Series rings does he have and how many do I have?

Rangers manager Ron Washington, who was a coach in Oakland while Moneyball went on, enjoyed the movie. But he recognizes that it was meant to entertain, and that it had its shortcomings.

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Tony La Russa Sets Record for Most Pitching Changes in Playoffs

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa made history Monday for an unusual accomplishment, and no, it wasn’t for making the highest amount of mistakes involving Allen Craig caught stealing. By bringing in four relievers during Game 5 of the World Series, La Russa broke the record for most pitching changes in a single postseason. He has now made 65 pitching changes during the playoffs.

The previous high mark was 62 pitching changes made by the Giants in the 2002 playoffs (they played 16 games). Prior to Game 5 (through 15 playoff games), La Russa had matched the ’97 Indians who made 61 changes in 18 games. With his four changes in Game 5 — including bringing in Lance Lynn solely to issue an intentional walk — La Russa blew right past the previous high mark.

So how did we get to this point? You can really point to La Russa’s odd managing in the NLCS.

Chris Carpenter was the only Cardinals pitcher who lasted long enough to get a win against the Brewers, and it was when he went five innings in Game 3. Out of the six games against Milwaukee, four pitchers were pulled in the 5th inning. Game 6 starter Edwin Jackson was relieved after two innings in the series-clinching victory.

La Russa looked like a genius for most of the playoffs because nearly all of his decisions went well. Now that he’s made a few mistakes — such as having Mark Rzepczynski pitch to Mike Napoli in the 8th Monday — he doesn’t look as smart. It’s amazing how much perception is influenced by outcome, rather than by how sound the decision was.

Albert Pujols Ties Record with Three Home Runs in World Series Game

After being criticized by the media for not speaking to reporters following Thursday’s game, Albert Pujols channeled his frustration into crushing the baseball Saturday night. The St. Louis stud tied a World Series record by hitting three home runs in the same game. Only Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson have also done it. That company seems befitting for Albert.

Pujols also had two singles, went 5-for-6, and set a World Series record with 14 total bases in one game. He drove in six of St. Louis’ 16 runs.

His first homer was an absolute bomb that hit the second deck in left field. It came off Alexi Ogando who yielded a run for only the second time in his 10 postseason outings. His next homer was a two-run shot off Mike Gonzalez that went more towards center. His last homer came in the 9th off Darren Oliver.

Pitching around him may be a good idea for Texas the rest of the series.

The best part about Pujols is that he isn’t ready to marvel at his accomplishments yet — he wants to win the World Series first. If he keeps crushing the ball like this, they will.

Matt Holliday Missed Call by Umpires Leads to Big Inning for Cardinals

The umpires missed a call during the fourth inning of Game 3 of the World Series Saturday night that led to a big inning for the Cardinals. With Albert Pujols at first, Matt Holliday grounded a ball to short. Elvis Andrus made the putout by flipping to Ian Kinsler at second, who threw to first for the double play. Kinsler’s throw pulled Mike Napoli off the bag, but the first baseman managed to tag Holliday.

One problem: Umpire Ron Kulpa didn’t see the tag and called Holliday safe.

The Cards ended up with a runner on first and one out instead of nobody on and two outs.

The next five batters reached base (one on a throwing error by Napoli), and the Cardinals scored four runs. You can say that the Rangers made plenty of mistakes after the blown call, but it’s extremely difficult to have outs taken away when you’re in the World Series.

As we’ve said many times before, baseball needs instant replay so they can review plays like this to ensure accuracy.

Pic via @Jose3030

Lance Berkman Says His Gray Beard Makes Him De Facto Team Leader

Lance Berkman delivered a big hit for the Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series. The right fielder doubled in two runs in the fourth, putting St. Louis up 2-0. They beat the Rangers 3-2.

After the game, the 35-year-old veteran was asked about his status as one of the team’s leaders. He gave a pretty humorous response.

“I think just because you see all this gray in my beard, that kind of makes you a de facto leader,” Berkman joked. “Whether you want to be or not, guys are going to kind of look to you because you’ve been around for a while. But I do enjoy the interaction with my teammates. I think that’s one thing that’s special to me about this particular team. It’s just a great group of guys.”

Berkman has enjoyed his finest season since 2008, though he didn’t have a major impact in the NLCS. Wednesday’s double was his first extra base hit since Game 4 of the NLDS. As long as he keeps hitting, and the Cardinals keep winning, I’m sure he’ll be happy to continue joking about his old age and gray beard. And if they continue to win, Berkman will hold bragging rights over C.J. Wilson.

Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Zack Greinke’s Wife Was Not Happy with Her NLCS Seats in St. Louis

The dislike between the Cardinals and Brewers was evident throughout the season and it carried into the NLCS. One of the off-field issues between the teams involved the location of the family section seats in St. Louis. The Brewers were unhappy that the tickets for family members were spread throughout Busch Stadium. Nyjer Morgan reportedly felt it was a “bush league” move by the Cardinals. One person who agreed was Zack Greinke’s wife, who was dissatisfied with her seat.

Following Milwaukee’s Game 5 loss in St. Louis, Emily Greinke wrote on Twitter “Thanks Cards for the lovely seats in the outfield! I hope our behind home plate seats for you mysteriously disappear!”

The photo above accompanied her tweet, so her seat was apparently down the left field line.

The seat problems were said to be a non-issue after Game 3, but obviously that wasn’t the case. I can understand why the Brewers would want to receive equal treatment for their family members on the road. But between Emily’s complaint, and Zack’s pre-series comments about Chris Carpenter, I’m sure Brewers fans have had enough talk from the Greinkes. There is no doubt the Cardinals got the last laugh.

Chest bump to Busted Coverage

Nelson Cruz Wins ALCS MVP After Hitting Record Six Home Runs in Series

Nelson Cruz won ALCS MVP after bashing six home runs and driving in 13 runs against the Tigers. Both marks were a record for a single postseason series. He accomplished another record by hitting extra innings home runs twice during the series.

Cruz’s numbers were staggering. He went 8-22 (.364) with a .440 OBP and 1.713 OPS. Of his eight hits, six were home runs and two were doubles. Yes, you read that correctly — Nelson Cruz did not hit a single the entire series.

Let’s recap his historic ALCS against the Tigers:

Game 1: 1-3, solo HR off Verlander in 3-0 win, 1 run, 1 RBI
Game 2: 3-4, 2B, HBP, solo HR off Scherzer to tie game in 7th, walk-off grand slam off Perry in 11th to win 7-3, 2 runs, 5 RBIs
Game 3: 0-3 in 5-0 loss
Game 4: 1-4, BB, 3-run HR off Valverde in 11th, 1 run, 3 RBIs in 7-3 win.
Game 5: 1-2, 2-run HR off Verlander in 7-5 loss, one run, 2 RBIs
Game 6: 2-4, HR, 2B, BB, 2 runs, 2 RBIs in 15-5 win

I’m guessing Detroit pitchers will be seeing him in their sleep the next several weeks. The only question for Texas is if he can repeat the success in the World Series. Even if he doesn’t, the Ranges have so many bats they should be in fine shape.