ST. LOUIS — Game Three of the World Series ended on an obstruction call. Game Four ended on a pickoff of St. Louis rookie Kolton Wong. Neither had ever happened for the final play of a Fall Classic game before. These are the two best teams in baseball. What gives?
“We saw some things that didn’t quite look right, but this is a game that has humans involved and there are going to be errors,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said before Game Five. “It’s just going to happen. And we’ve got to figure out how to minimize them as much as we can and get ahead of them.”
Wong has devastated in the clubhouse after Sunday’s game and even tweeted an apology to Cardinals fans.
“There’s nothing wrong with sitting on it for a while and that’s what he was doing last night,” Matheny said. “I think that’s healthy. You realize and go back through your mind and figure out what happened and what you would do differently. You learn from it and move on so that when you get to the park today you put it in the archives and move forward.
“That’s where Kolton is today. He had the veterans talking to him and encouraging him and giving him their own stories of things that they learned from.”
The Cardinals changed their lineup Monday, benching John Jay and inserting Shane Robinson in his place. Jay was just 2 for 13 in the series and batting .191 in the postseason. Robinson, meanwhile, entered Monday 5 for 13 in the postseason and 2 for 5 against Boston.
Robinson batted second after Matt Carpenter. Carlos Beltran was dropped to fourth.
“We’re trying to create more traffic for the guys that can drive in runs,” Matheny said. “Shane has been doing a nice job taking good at-bats. Gives him an opportunity with ‘Carp’ to really set the table and lengthen our lineup through the middle.”
In a move announced an hour before the game, Allen Craig went in at first base in place of Matt Adams. It was his first start there since Sept. 4, when he suffered a foot injury that knocked him from the lineup until this series.
Craig, however, is still severely limited. He was unable to move to his left to stop David Ortiz’s RBI double in the first inning and then gimped down the line in the second on a double-play grounder.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox dropped Daniel Nava from second to fifth and moved up Dustin Pedroia, Ortiz and Jonny Gomes from 3-4-5 in the order to 2-3-4.
“I feel like we need to ‘lengthen out’ the lineup behind David,” said Boston manager John Farrell. “And we’ve made a subtle change, nothing dramatic. But it’s going to be required, as we’ve seen. We haven’t really put together many big innings, and that’s a credit to their pitching.”
Farrell on the availability of Game Four starter Clay Buchholz in a potential Game Seven: “He’s not finished, both mentally and physically. He’s gearing up to be available on that day.”
Buchholz, who has been dealing with shoulder trouble since June, went only four innings in Game Four.
About a mile away from Busch and 33 minutes after the first pitch, the St. Louis Rams were hosting their first Monday Night Football game since 2006 in the Edwards Jones Dome against Seattle.
Suffice to say, the game wasn’t getting much attention in its own town. Rams officials were clearly disappointed by the conflict but told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch they would allow fans to keep tabs on the baseball game in the concourse, as well as on stadium Jumbotrons before the game and at halftime.
Stats Inc. said it was the first time the same metro area hosted the World Series and Monday Night Football at the same time since 1986, when the Mets hosted Game Seven against the Red Sox while the New York Giants were playing the Washington Redskins.
That conflict only happened because the baseball game was rained out the night before. And the Giants, of course, play in New Jersey.