Saturday, October 29, 2011
Bullpen wrap: Incredible 2-run, no-hit 5th
By Jeff Caplan
ST. LOUIS -- Game 6 had all the strange twists and turns imaginable in a World Series and then came the St. Louis Cardinals' half of the fifth inning in Game 7.
Who ever heard of a two-run inning coming off three walks, one intentional, and a two hit batters?
"Tonight, obviously, was not good," said Scott Feldman, who started the inning. "Not good."
Scott Feldman left in the fifth inning after allowing a run on three walks, one intentional, and a hit batter.
As the inning unraveled it told the strange, but true story of a Texas bullpen that went from indomitable in the run to the American League pennant to incomprehensible in the World Series. It was a unit on call so often to rescue the starters in the first two series that collectively it was running on fumes in the Fall Classic.
Feldman, and not C.J. Wilson or Derek Holland, took the mound in the fifth inning in relief of starter Matt Harrison. Things began just fine with a groundout to bring up Allen Craig with Albert Pujols on deck. Feldman seemed to get too careful with Craig almost as if to make sure he didn't walk him before facing Pujols. Of course, Feldman walked Craig on five pitches.
Then Feldman got ahead of Pujols 0-2 with two 94-mph sinkers. Then he plunked him with an 84 mph changeup to put runners on first and second. Lance Berkman dribbled one to first to move the runners to second and third and two out. Feldman intentionally walked eventual World Series MVP David Freese to load the bases for catcher Yadier Molina.
Feldman started off 3-0, worked the count full and then threw a 95 mph sinker to the outside corner. Catcher Mike Napoli framed it for home plate umpire Jerry Layne to get a good look. If it wasn't there, it was pretty close, but Lane didn't budge. Napoli's body dropped into the back of his legs, Feldman couldn't believe it and a run walked home to make it 4-2 Cardinals.
"Yeah, pretty close," Feldman said. "I'm not an umpire. If you let me umpire I'd call everything a strike. There's certain pitches you can always look back on and complain about or whatever, but it doesn't really do any good."
So, that was all for Feldman and manager Ron Washington turned to former reliever and No. 1 starter C.J. Wilson in what might have been his final appearance in a Rangers uniform. It was not memorable. His first pitch smacked Rafael Furcal on the back side and second run trotted in for a 5-2 lead.
"Just a fastball that cut, just a little bit too much emphasis on throwing the ball in and kind of reflexively just thinking bases loaded, make sure you get it in there and he just leaned into a little bit," Wilson said. "You can't have any reaction, you just have to focus on the next guy, which was [Skip] Schumaker and I was like, "All right, a lefty, I'm going to eat him up.' So, I had a 100 percent confidence I could get out of that situation without any more runs to score.