World Series media roundup: Criticism centered on Mike Matheny, Cardinals lineup

October 29, 2013 - 10:15 am

After being handed two decisive losses at the hands of the Red Sox in Busch Stadium, the Cardinals are facing a hefty amount of criticism from both local and national media. With the Cards on the brink of elimination and tasked with trying to win two straight games at Fenway Park, St. Louis'  outlook certainly doesn't look very favorable. The last time a visiting team was down 3-2 in the Fall Classic and won the final two contests at an opposing ballpark was back in 1979, when the Pirates defeated the Orioles for their fifth World Series title. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has drawn the ire of the media over the last few days for some of his questionable moves regarding the handling of the St. Louis lineup and bullpen. NBCSports.com's Matthew Pouliot expressed these thoughts about Matheny in one of his latest articles, as he criticized the second-year manager for batting Shane Robinson second in the order in Game 5 while leaving the talented but hobbled Allen Craig batting sixth. Pouliot also took issue with Matheny deciding to leave Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in during the seventh inning Monday night. Despite the fact that Wainwright was already approaching 100 pitches, Matheny did not have anyone warmed up in the St. Louis bullpen. By the time Matheny finally elected to go with Carlos Martinez, the damage had already been done, as the tiring Wainwright surrendered two runs to give the Sox a 3-1 lead that they would never relinquish. '€¢ The Cardinals lineup, which finished first in the NL this season with 783 run scored, has received flak from the St. Louis media, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss wrote a piece addressing the team's anemic offense this postseason. St. Louis has struggled to get any traction going against Boston's staunch starting pitching, as the Cardinals have averaged just 2.6 runs per game while hitting just .242 with runners in scoring position, a far cry from the team's stellar line of .330 with RISP during the regular season. The Cardinals' inability to score runs this series has been a microcosm of their struggles this entire postseason, as they have scored less than three runs in eight of their 16 playoff games. '€¢ The Post-Dispatch's Bernie Miklasz noted that the Cardinals have only themselves to blame for being in this unfavorable scenario. Aside from focusing on the Cardinals' paltry hitting and the struggles of Wainwright, who has posted an unfavorable record of 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in the World Series, Miklasz focused on St. Louis continuing to pitch to Sox slugger David Ortiz, who has become the unanimous favorite for a potential World Series MVP after compiling an incredible batting average of .733 in the first five games. For reference, the rest of the Sox lineup has only managed to hit .144 during that same stretch. '€¢ Not all news regarding St. Louis is negative, as ESPN's Jim Caple believes that the Cardinals still have a great chance at extending the series to seven games. Caple points to St. Louis' experience in high-pressure situations as the main reason why the Cardinals have a chance to beat the Sox at Fenway. Earlier this postseason, the Cardinals reeled off two straight wins against the Pirates in the National League Division Series after trailing 2-1. More famously, the Cardinals battled back from a 3-2 deficit in the 2011 World Series against the Rangers, as David Freese drove in five runs over the final two games to give St. Louis its 11th championship. Caple also points out that Michael Wacha will take the mound for the Cards in Game 6. The 22-year-old Wacha has been stellar this postseason, as he has only allowed three runs in four postseason starts. With Wacha getting the call at Fenway, where he held the Sox to just two runs over six innings of work on Thursday, it's certainly possible that we could be headed to just the third World Game 7 in 11 years.