Yankee Stadium has been a Mausoleum

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It’s hard to truly gauge crowd noise from the TV broadcast. TBS, for example, is notorious for over-amplifying the crowd via some unique mic placement (they did it with the Braves for years and still do it now that they broadcast national games).  At the same time, the Indians broadcasts I watch most nights during the summer seem unnaturally quiet compared to the way I know that ballpark sounds in person.

But despite the vagaries of technology, it’s been pretty obvious how quiet Yankee Stadium was during the first two games of the Series (where is this guy?).  Buck and McCarver talked about it at length last night, and today FOX’s Ken Rosenthal gets the Phillies’ take on it:

Thank goodness the World Series is leaving New York so we can get a little atmosphere.

“Our ballpark is so loud and rowdy, I was really expecting some of that here,” Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. “It was very tame and civil.”

…From mystique and aura to tame and civil. What has the Bronx come to?

“Expensive tickets running loud people out,” Rollins said, referring to the high prices at the new Yankee Stadium . . .I asked the three Phillies outfielders in Game 1 — Ben Francisco, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth — if they had heard any abuse from the fans.

“Crickets,” one of the outfielders said, and I don’t even know why I am granting him anonymity; it’s not like revealing his identity would put him in any danger.

I’ve certainly noticed the price-the-passionate-fans-out effect in other venues.  Ohio State basketball games used to be raucous before they moved into a big plush and expensive arena a decade ago.  Almost every new NFL stadium has rendered the previous roar of the home crowd a murmur.

But the Stadium has been loud at times this postseason, so I’m not willing to totally chalk it up to the richies taking over.  There may be some of that — especially considering that the ultra-richies probably buy tickets from the mere super richies for the World Series — but I think the dominating performance by Lee in Game 1 and the stronger than expected outing from Pedro last night had a lot more to do with it.  There has yet to be an instance in either game where Yankees fans had justification to go crazy so, not surprisingly, they haven’t gone crazy.

All of that said, I expect Philly to be positively insane tomorrow night. I mean, even if nothing exciting happens on the field, the roar of Philly fans yelling about how no one believes in them will be deafening enough on its own.

Cardinals take 1-0 NLDS lead over the Cubs behind John Lackey’s brilliant outing

John Lackey
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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John Lackey flirted with a no-hitter but settled for 7 1/3 terrific, shutout innings to beat the Cubs in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday. The right-hander held the opposition to two hits and a walk while striking out five. Lefty reliever Kevin Siegrist struck out two to finish the eighth without issue. Closer Trevor Rosenthal worked around a one-out walk and a two-out single in the ninth to seal the 4-0 win, recording all three outs on called strike threes.

Lackey brought a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but lost it quickly when Addison Russell hit a ground ball single up the middle to lead off the frame. Russell would steal second base but was stranded.

Opposing starter Jon Lester wasn’t too shabby himself, relenting three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out nine in 7 1/3 innings. The first run came around in the first inning on Matt Holliday‘s RBI single, which followed a one-out double by Stephen Piscotty. Tommy Pham pinch-hit in the pitcher’s spot in the eighth inning and launched a solo home run off of Lester to double the Cardinals’ lead. Lester walked Matt Carpenter before exiting. Pedro Strop came in and promptly served up a two-run home run to Stephen Piscotty.

The closest the Cubs came to scoring was when Dexter Fowler sent a deep fly ball to right field with a man on base and two outs in the sixth inning, but Randal Grichuk caught it with a foot or two to spare in front of the fence on the warning track.

The two clubs will play Game 2 of the NLDS on Saturday at 5:30 PM EDT. Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs and oppose Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia.

Astros err in letting Scott Kazmir start sixth

Scott Kazmir
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Scott Kazmir went winless with a 6.52 ERA in six September starts. He allowed 41 hits, eight of them homers, in 29 innings, posting an 18/11 K/BB ratio. When the Astros got five innings of two-run ball from him Friday against the Royals, they should have thanked their good fortune and moved right along to the pen.

And they knew this. They must have. Josh Fields got up in the pen after Kazmir issued a one-out walk in the fifth. The left-hander got out of the frame, making himself eligible for the victory in what was then a 4-2 game, but it was still very surprising to see him come back out for the sixth, particularly with the switch-hitting Ben Zobrist (.926 OPS against lefties) and right-handed Lorenzo Cain due up.

Kazmir retired Zobrist, but he gave up a double to Cain. He was then pulled, even with the left-handed Eric Hosmer coming up. Manager A.J. Hinch had committed my biggest baseball pet peeve: he sent his starter back to the mound with the idea of pulling him after his first mistake.

It worked out terribly. Oliver Perez gave up a pair of soft hits to Hosmer and Kendrys Morales before walking Mike Moustakas. Fields then entered and walked the unwalkable Salvador Perez to tie the game at 4. The Astros gave up another run in the seventh and lost the game 5-4.

Maybe that’s the way it would have worked out anyway. Kazmir did give up just the one baserunner. It might not have even harmed the Astros if Perez had better luck.

Still, the thinking that went into the decision was disturbing. It’s always better to bring that reliever in with no one on base when you can. That’s especially the case with this Astros pen, which lacks a double-play specialist, much less a Wade Davis. But anyone in that pen would have been a better choice than sending Kazmir out to face Zobrist and Cain for a third time. Hinch needs to be more aggressive going forward.

Cardinals’ giveaway incorrectly claims ownership of 2001 division title

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The Cardinals have won so many division titles, it’s tough to keep track of them all. At least, it would be tough if it weren’t for Baseball Reference.

40,000 rally towels were given away to fans at Busch Stadium ahead of Friday’s NLDS Game 1 against the Cubs. The towel listed all of the years the Cardinals won the NL Central… and 2001. That year, they tied with the Astros for the best record in the National League at 93-69. However, because the Astros won the season series 9-7, they were awarded first place and the Cardinals took the Wild Card.