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Ruminations on Game 1 of the 2013 World Series

When the Cardinals looked like the White Sox and overzealous pitching changes backfired

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

For an 8-1 blowout that was over shortly after it started, Game 1 of the World Series offered plenty of entertainment. Unless you're a Cardinals fan, probably.

It adds a layer of intrigue to any series when the ace gets punched in the mouth. Last year, the Giants tagged Justin Verlander for five runs over the first four innings for an easy 8-3 victory, and it seemed like the Tigers never recovered. Adam Wainwright lasted longer this time around, but that could turn out to be detrimental if Matheny wants to start him on short rest in Game 4.

Anyway, some highlights -- thanks to immediately embeddable video! Can this be a thing for the entire season for all teams, MLB teams?

Liked: The resolution to Dana Demuth's blown call.

In the Baseball Nation chat, Rob Neyer offered the best explanation of the explicable when he said that Demuth, despite the best positioning on the field, missed Pete Kozma's botched catch attempt because he was paying more attention to his feet. Turns out he was right:

DeMuth conceded after the game that he missed the call, saying that he spent too much time focusing on Pedroia's foot sliding into the bag. That forced him to rely on his peripheral vision to watch Kozma's glove, leading him to believe Kozma lost the ball while transferring it to his throwing hand -- not that he never caught it in the first place.

"It's an awful feeling, especially when I'm sure that I had the right call," DeMuth said. "But I've got to be a team here and get the right call, definitely get the right call."

Demuth almost kicked off the World Series with a huge whiff, but his colleagues bailed him out after convening on the field following a John Farrell protest.

Predictably, the reversal brought Mike Matheny out onto the field for another prolonged debate -- he understood the call was correct, but hated the odd overrule of the guy with the best view. The dual arguments created the kind of situation that may allow instant replay to speed up games a little, as inelegant as the system is.

Liked: The Cardinals' first two innings defensively.

If only for the sight of Baseball's Prized Organization devolving into the White Sox. In the first inning, Kozma's drop on a potential double play ball set up Mike Napoli's bases-clearing double. In the second, Adam Wainwright looked like he got spooked by the ghost of Gordon Beckham:

On the flip side, Carlos Beltran's grand-slam robbing grab was awesome in two ways, because he robbed a grand slam, and he did so with no wasted motion. He's one of those players who gets slagged for being indifferent just because he naturally makes so many moments of the game look easy. He made an incredible effort look like nothing -- while his rib cage crashed into the bullpen wall -- and that really takes talent.

Liked: Ortiz blowing up the useless pitching changes.

The game took 3 hours and 17 minutes, and it could've been even more compact had Matheny not run through his whole bullpen while trailing five runs. There's a time for army managing, but using three pitchers in a seventh inning of a 5-0 game (without baserunners that warrant it) seemed like a vain attempt at best, and counterproductive at worst. He basically introduced his entire bullpen to an unfamiliar lineup when there was little to gain.

For instance, Kevin Siegrist is supposed to be the secret weapon against Ortiz, but with two outs and a runner on first, the value of an out wouldn't have changed the game any. And as it so happened, Siegrist didn't even record the out, because Ortiz roped the first-pitch fastball over the Red Sox bullpen to make it a 7-0 game.

Liked: Tim McCarver's analysis of a brushback pitch.

There are already people prodding at the holes in McCarver's commentary -- it's odd that he's never heard the line about a home run ball needing a flight attendant -- but he still has some moments. For instance, with two outs, David Ross called a late timeout during Carlos Martinez's windup. The next pitch was high and tight, and he identified it immediately as a purpose pitch. Yadier Molina's mound visit allowed Fox to show a replay backing it up.

I hadn't noticed the late timeout because the game was out of reach and I was goofing around on Twitter, but McCarver caught my attention with the immediacy of the analysis, and I appreciated it.

Didn't Like: David Freese's slide into first.

With two outs in the ninth, David Freese shot a single to right. Shane Victorino, who plays shallow, charged the play and threw to first. Freese didn't just fail to run through the bag -- he slid feet-first, which is dumber than 10 Puntos.  Nick Punto's reasoning makes sense if you don't think about it, because he feels like he's launching himself toward the bag, even if it's slowing him down. The intent behind feet-first sliding is stopping, so that made zero sense.

If you want to give Freese some benefit of the doubt, he might've been thrown off by the visual of a ball being chucked toward his running line, and the slide was self-defense. But still, he might've been out (his front foot appeared to go off to the side of the bag), and he should've been out on principle.

Wondered About: Amped-up Marine

He stored up a lot of energy for a song that doesn't require it:

But this must be a Boston thing: