World Series: Is Game 2 must-win for the St. Louis Cardinals? Maybe. (+video)
The St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Boston Red Sox, 8-1, in Game 1 of the 2013 World Series Wednesday. It was just one game, but Game 2 Thursday could be huge.
Well, that officially qualified as a complete dumpster fire for the St. Louis Cardinals.
In the first two innings of Game 1 of the 2013 World Series, Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright gave up five runs – and it could have been more. The Cardinals' best fielder, shortstop Pete Kozma, looked as though he'd dipped his glove in concrete, making two key errors on simple plays. Meanwhile, the team's best play of the night – Carlos Beltran robbing Red Sox slugger David Ortiz of a grand slam – might have seriously damaged their World Series hopes. (Slamming into the wall, Beltran had to leave with a rib injury.)
Of course, the Cardinals' 8-1 loss at Fenway Park in Boston Wednesday night was just one game.
Then again, maybe it wasn't.
Maybe, Game 2 Thursday night is now as close to a must-win game for the Cardinals as a Game 2 can possibly be.
Of course, Game 2s are not typically seen as make-or-break affairs. It is Game 2, after all. There could be five more. And for the visiting team, especially, losing the first two games of a seven-game series is not usually seen as a reason for outright panic.
But what if the Red Sox do win Thursday? What if the Cardinals trot out their two best pitchers – Wainwright and Game 2 starter Michael Wacha – and don't win either? What if it's up to Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly – the presumed Game 3 and 4 starters, who are talented but unlikely to strike fear in Boston hitters – to pull the Cardinals back into the series?
Of course, they could do it, but it is not something the Cardinals want to contemplate. They want (need?) Wacha to win Thursday and even the series.
The good news is that he's well up to the job. So far in the postseason, he's been Tom Cruise, the Iceman, and Goose all rolled into one. His earned-run average is so microscopic (0.43) that scientists from across the river at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been called in to find it.
The bad news is that, by the reckoning of Major League Baseball, he's still wearing diapers. At age 22, Wacha has started a grand total of nine regular season games. Most of them were pretty good, mind, but the rest of this young Cardinals team pretty well wet the bed in their first taste of World Series action Wednesday.