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Cardinals lineup has too many silent bats

Monday - 10/28/2013, 5:18am  ET

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- None of the St. Louis Cardinals' hitters did much in Game 4 of the World Series.

"It's not because we didn't have a good plan," Carlos Beltran said. "We just couldn't put anything together."

For many of them, that's been a recurring theme.

The Cardinals are batting just .235 entering the Monday night rematch between Game 1 starters Jon Lester and Adam Wainwright.

Cleanup man Matt Adams is batting .176 with no RBIs, Jon Jay is at .154 and David Freese, the 2011 World Series MVP, is an anemic .083 with one hit in 12 at-bats. The shortstop combination of Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso is 0 for 14.

"This is not a good time to not be productive," Freese said. "We're still in a good situation. We will come to the yard happy."


BIG OUT: The World Series had another bizarre ending -- this time, a pickoff at first base.

One day after the Cardinals walked off (tripped off?) with a win on an obstruction call, Game 4 ended with St. Louis rookie pinch-runner Kolten Wong caught leaning.

Wong, his eyes red after the game, took full responsibility.

"I just got a little too far off and my back foot slipped out," Wong said. "He just made a good throw. I slipped and that's it."

It was the first postseason game in history to end on a pickoff, according to STATS. Game 3 was the first World Series game to end on an obstruction call.

Pinch hitter Allen Craig singled off the right field wall with one out in the ninth, normally a double, but he stopped at first because he's hobbled by a foot injury aggravated on the obstruction play. Wong pinch-ran and was picked off by Koji Uehara with Beltran, among the best postseason hitters ever, at the plate.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Wong had been told that Uehara has a good move.

"He was reminded once he got on base, and also he was reminded that the run didn't mean much, be careful, shorten up," Matheny said. "And he got a little extra, then he slipped and the slip cost him."


TRUE GRIT: Troublesome shoulder or not, Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz turned in a brief but effective start in Game 4.

Buchholz used guile, not velocity, to keep St. Louis hitters off-stride and mostly in check Sunday night. He lasted just four innings but allowed only an unearned run.

He didn't get the decision, but his gutsy performance was crucial in the Red Sox's 4-2 win to even the series 2-all and ensure it will be decided in Boston.

"I don't think I had the fastball I usually had," Buchholz said. "But I had some more movement on my other pitches and had some good defense behind me. I was able to stay away from that big inning."

Buchholz missed three months of the regular season with an injury to his right shoulder. Pitching in the AL championship series, he said the shoulder didn't feel quite right, like it was weak or fatigued. There was speculation about whether he could make his first World Series start.

He did, and he's a big reason the Red Sox have regained home-field advantage.

Not that it was easy. The Cardinals put two men on base in every inning but the 1-2-3 first against Buchholz. The only run they could push across against the 29-year-old right-hander came in the third when Matt Carpenter singled and hustled to second when center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury misplayed the ball, then scored on Beltran's single.

Buchholz, 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in his abbreviated regular season, survived by mixing speeds and hitting the corners. His fastest pitch was clocked at 90 mph.


LONG TIME: When the Cardinals and Red Sox met in the 1967 World Series, the average length of the seven games was 2 hours, 22 minutes.

My, how things have changed.

All four World Series games this season have exceeded three hours: Game 1 was 3 hours, 17 minutes; Game 2, 3:05; Game 3, 3:54 and Game 4, 3:34.

Long games have been the norm in the postseason for several years now. The Red Sox needed nearly four hours to beat the Tigers 1-0 in Game 1 of the ALCS.

Sure, there are more commercials during the postseason, making the wait between innings longer. But it's not just TV.

Watch a baseball clip from the 1970s or earlier and hitters generally stay in the batter's box. Pitcher's get the ball and toe the rubber. Today, 20- to 30-second breaks between pitches are common as hitters step out to adjust their batting gloves or pitchers stalk around the mound.

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