Losing a game like they did at home in Game 4, looking ahead at Jon Lester tomorrow night in Game 5 must be a daunting task for the St. Louis Cardinals. So how do they recover and win in Game 5?
First, the Cardinals need to shake off Sunday’s loss. The moment Jonny Gomes made contact with his two-out, three-run home run off Shane Maness, you could hear the oxygen get sucked out of Busch Stadium. Then when pinch runner Kolten Wong was picked off first base, an overwhelming wave of momentum drifted toward the Boston Red Sox. The Cardinals may never fully recover from those turn of events.
Coming back from such a rough blow is possible, though a few things will be needed.
In Game 1 of this series, Lester shut down the Cardinals, throwing 7.2 innings of scoreless baseball. In order to overcome another Lester masterpiece, three names will have to step up for St. Louis. The most important name is Adam Wainwright, who was ineffective in his Game 1 matchup with Lester. He allowed five runs (three earned) over five innings. Wainwright will need to outperform Lester this time around in order to give his team a shot at winning Game 5.
Outfielder Matt Holliday hasn’t been terrible in this World Series, but he looked the part in Game 4. He ended a Cardinals rally in the seventh inning by grounding out to second base with two runners on base and finished the game 0-for-4. Holliday needs to be the hitter he was throughout the rest of this postseason, otherwise Boston is just going to pitch around Carlos Beltran.
The Cardinals’ World Series hero in 2011, David Freese, is 1-for-12 through the first four game of this series. Especially with Allen Craig being very limited the rest of the series, Freese has to needs to find some of his old magic to help out the middle portion of that lineup. St. Louis cannot afford for Freese to remain unproductive.
Those three guys would be a good start at a rebound win in Game 5 for the Cardinals. If they fail to step up, the Red Sox will be able to seal up the series at home in Game 6.