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Category: St. Louis Cardinals

World Series notes: La Russa never kissed off season

The Cardinals opened spring training eight months ago by sending their ace pitcher, Adam Wainwright, off to have season-ending surgery. So, Manager Tony La Russa was asked Thursday, if someone had told him then that his team would be in the World Series, playing Game 6 at home, how would he have reacted?

“I would have kissed your butt at home plate opening day,” he said to laughter.

“We’ve mugged a couple of chances to be in a better position. But … we’ve had a lot of fun. We’ve popped champagne three times.

“Postseason never disappoints, even just getting in and playing the division series and losing. You get to the World Series, this is the most enjoyment you can have. I’m enjoying it more than ever.

“I don’t know if this makes a difference, but I always enjoy this part.”

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World Series managers differ on 'Moneyball,' too

St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa is not a big fan of the "Moneyball" philosophy that Billy Beane brought to Oakland, one that emphasizes statistics such as on-base percentage over traditional metrics like batting average and home runs.

"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 it's all about getting on base by drawing walks," La Russa said. "The fact is that the guys that have the best on-base percentage percentage are really dangerous hitters whenever they get a pitch in the strike zone."

Despite his reservations about the concepts, La Russa said Wednesday that he would take advantage of the postponement of Game 6 of the World Series and go see the Brad Pitt movie version of "Moneyball," which is based on Michael Lewis' book about Beane's time as general manager of the Oakland Athletics.

"I think Brad Pitt is a great actor," La Russa said, smiling.

Texas Rangers Manager Ron Washington has a slightly different take on the subject. Washington was in Oakland during the period depicted in the film and was supposed to appear as himself in the movie, but the timing didn't work out and his part was played by actor Brent Jennings.

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Game 6 of World Series postponed because of bad weather


The Texas Rangers will have to wait at least one more day to try to win their first World Series title after Wednesday's scheduled Game 6 was postponed because of threatening weather.

Major League Baseball had an afternoon meeting with representatives of the Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals and announced at 2:15 p.m. CDT -- less than five hours before the scheduled first pitch -- that the game would be pushed back a day.

The Rangers lead the best-of-seven series, three games to two

A 50% chance of rain was forecast for game time. And though the skies were overcast and threatening Wednesday afternoon, no rain had fallen since a light morning mist. The protective tarp remained on the Busch Stadium infield.

"Given the desire to play a game of this magnitude without interruption, and an outlook with better conditions over the next two nights, Major League Baseball, along with the Cardinals and the Rangers, determined that making the decision early would be the most prudent course of action to allow fans enough time to plan accordingly," MLB said in a release.

Clear skies but low temperatures are forecast for Thursday.


For Texas and St. Louis, relief is a phone call away

Cardinals' bullpen moves also deserve credit for success

Bill Plaschke: Jamie McCourt's Dodgers' legacy is one of taking and not giving

-- Kevin Baxter in St. Louis

Photo: The tarp covers the field before Game 1 of the World Series. Threatening weather has caused the postponement of Game 6. Credit: Doug Pensinger / Getty Images.


Nowitzki delivers the heat for Rangers

Dallas Mavericks center Dirk Nowitzki threw out the first pitch before the Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday, delivering a low strike –- which was better than his performance in July after the Mavs won the NBA title.

“This time they told me to throw a four‑seam fastball,” said Nowitzki, who wore a blue Rangers jersey and cap. “I still don't understand what that means.  But I think that's the grip I had. Or was it a two‑seam fastball? I forgot.”

As for the NBA lockout, Nowitzki said he’s disappointed there hasn’t been more progress in talks between the league and the players.

“We were all hoping with the mediator that something was going to happen, and just talks broke off, so it's very unfortunate,” he said. “Hopefully we can get something going here anytime soon. But it doesn't look good.

"I've just been keeping in shape, working out, doing lots of cardio and lifting a little bit and running. If the season will start any time soon, I think I'll be ready.”

Nowitzki grew up in Germany, where baseball is a minor sport. Still, he was asked if he would consider an offer to try out for the Rangers if the NBA lockout continued.

"I  would love that," he said before turning serious.

"If there's no settlement I'll probably go back home soon, start training with my coach again," he said.  "It's time to really get back in the routine. Got to keep the options open, maybe see what's going on overseas."


Where NBA owners stand on the lockout

A Game 7 in World Series could boost ratings

Ex-Dodger Rafael Furcal played his cards right in joining St. Louis

-- Kevin Baxter, reporting from Arlington, Texas

Photo: Dirk Nowitzki throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday. Credit: Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

World Series notebook: Rangers' repeat appearance not enough


The Texas Rangers are the first American League team to make consecutive appearances in the World Series since the New York Yankees in 2000 and '01. But Texas General Manager Jon Daniels said Saturday he has no intention of resting on those laurels.

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment: just making the playoffs, winning a division, obviously advancing to the playoffs and advancing into the World Series,” he said. “We talk a lot about [how] we didn't want to be known as a one-hit wonder. We don't want to look back 10 years from now and say it was a nice accomplishment but we weren't able to build on it.

“We’re not happy with getting there twice. We want to win it and try to build something where we look back after 10 years and we’re not just comparing, you know, who’s better, 2010 versus 2011? But 2011 versus 2015, 2013 versus 2018. Obviously that’s the dream for every club. We’re definitely motivated, and the bottom line is the players have to get it done on the field. And they have.”

What’s in a name?

For the record, it’s pronounced zep-CHIN-skee. But Cardinals reliever Marc Rzepcynski said only two people have gotten his surname right the first time they tried and both were teaching assistants at UC Riverside whose families were from Poland.

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Rangers' lineup is feeling Josh Hamilton's pain in World Series

Texas Rangers Manager Ron Washington said outfielder Josh Hamilton, who has been bothered by a left groin strain for about six weeks, was far from 100% during the American League Championship Series. And despite three days off before Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday, the injury appears to have worsened.

Hamilton, the AL's most valuable player in 2010, winced after taking a swing a couple of times during an 0-for-4 night in Game 1. And he appeared to have trouble pushing off to make a throw from center field.

But he was back in the Texas lineup, batting third and playing left field, for Game 2 against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday.

PHOTOS: Rangers v. Cardinals in World Series

"One game," Washington said. "He'll figure it out. I have no doubt about it. He's come up big for us, and I expect him to do the same.

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Cardinals' Jaime Garcia hopes to make Mexico proud

Jaime3When left-hander Jaime Garcia takes the ball for the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday, he will become the first pitcher born in Mexico to start in a World Series since the Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.

And though Garcia said Wednesday that the distinction is an honor, it was not something he was shooting for.

"I just found out yesterday," Garcia, who was born in the border town of Reynosa but grew up in Texas, said of the milestone. "I'm thrilled to hear that and I'm going to go out there and represent the team, my family and not only my hometown, but the whole country of Mexico."

He might have to do a lot to match Valenzuela's performance. In his only World Series appearance, Valenzuela pitched a complete game and beat the New York Yankees in a series the Dodgers won in six games.

Be it ever so humble ...

Garcia got the Game 2 start partly based on his statistics in home games, which include a 9-4 record and an earned-run average of 2.55, more than two runs lower than his road ERA.

"He's pitched well at home, so you go with that," Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa said. "There isn't any reason why he can't pitch well on the road. He's got that kind of composure. But when you're trying to find an edge, that's one of the angles you play."

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Cardinals make all the right moves, win World Series opener

Lance Berkman
Tony La Russa played a hunch Wednesday. Or perhaps he was just managing by the book.

Then again, maybe it was really an educated guess from the most educated of baseball managers.

Whatever word you choose to define the moves the Cardinals manager made in Game 1 of the World Series, there is only one way to describe the outcome: successful.

St. Louis rode pinch-hitter Allen Craig's two-out, run-scoring single in the sixth inning and a parade of relievers to a 3-2 victory against the Texas Rangers, drawing first blood in the best-of-seven series before a sellout crowd on a frigid night at Busch Stadium.

Photos: Rangers vs. Cardinals in World Series

The two previous postseason series in the American and National leagues were slugfests that averaged nearly 10 runs a game. But playoff baseball was back in vogue Wednesday, when managing and pitching -- some of it done from a tightrope -- dominated the World Series opener

C.J. Wilson, who hasn't won a game since the Rangers clinched their division last month, started for Texas and struggled early, throwing five of his first six pitches for balls, walking batters in each of the first two innings and giving up a single to start the third. But the left-hander, wearing short sleeves despite a 43-degree wind chill -- five degrees colder than it was at the start of the NHL's Winter Classic on Jan. 1 in Pittsburgh -- didn't allow any of those runners to get past first base.

That all changed in the fourth when he hit Albert Pujols on the foot to start the inning, gave up a double to Matt Holliday, then watched both runners score on Lance Berkman's single.

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