For most of the postseason, the Cardinals have followed a simple formula: Have the starting pitcher go four or five innings, then have the bullpen pitch a bunch of scoreless innings in relief. Michael Lewis, if you're out there, you can call the book Don't Expect This Shit To Keep Working Ball. That's on the house.
But when the Cardinals actually get quality innings from their starting pitcher before turning to the bullpen in the eighth inning, like a normal team, that should be gravy, right? Like, that would be even better?
Shoulda stuck to the template, Cards.
Octavio Dotel, who has been excellent since coming over to the Cardinals, came in for the eighth ining for Chris Carpenter. Dotel allowed a lead-off double to Michael Young, then struck out Adrian Beltre on three pitches. That prompted Tony La Russa to order an intentional walk of Nelson Cruz. Again, there was one out, but La Russa was hoping for a ground ball on which the Cardinals could turn two.
The Cardinals got the ground ball. And La Russa quietly thought, "Hooray for being a genius!" The new pitcher, Marc Rzepczynski, deflected the ball with his knee instead of catching it or letting get through to a middle infielder. And La Russa quietly thought, "OH DAMMIT SO MUCH WHAT IN THE DAMMIT OH NO." Or if you want the visual accompaniment:
And that brought up Mike Napoli with one out and the bases loaded.