“I don’t believe what I just saw”—Jack Buck’s famous quote applies to this situation more than ever. A recap of Game 6 of the 2011 World Series would not do what just happened justice. Should Nefalti Feliz have ever blown a two-run lead? Should Josh Hamilton have pulled a Kirk Gibson on no legs in the 10th? Should Lance Berkman have even signed with the Cardinals? I thought Albert Pujols wasn’t a human being, but is David Freese human? Should a team that was 10.5 games out of the N.L. Wild Card race be in Game 7 of World Series? The answers to all of these questions are the opposite of what a rational person would say. Game 6 did not make sense.
At one point, early in the game Mike Napoli was the hero, David Freese and Matt Holliday were the goats. Then, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz were the heroes and Lance Lynn was the goat. In the ninth inning, the St. Louis Cardinals (Baseball’s team of destiny) were down to their last strike with David Freese at the plate, a former goat of the game and native of St. Louis, who drove the 1-2 pitch from Nefalti Feliz over Nelson Cruz’s head and into the wall driving in Pujols and Lance Berkman. All the momentum was then on St. Louis’ side and a Game 7 seemed all but inevitable, before Josh Hamilton with only his upper body blasted a two-run homer into the night and the champagne was again cooling in the Rangers’ clubhouse. But, St. Louis wanted to ruin the Hamilton’s Hollywood story, and after a Pujols’ intentional walk, Berkman delivered another incredible game-tying hit, after being down to his last strike (the second time St. Louis was down to their last strike in the game).
And then came the 11th inning, and things could not have become anymore unbelievable, but for some reason baseball’s most bizarre game became that much more bizarre. Ron Washington elected to pinch hit for Scott Feldman, with only Matt Lowe warming in the bullpen (Lowe with his .3 WAR, 4.16 FIP, and in the playoffs an ERA of a 37.80), and who did he pinch hit with? Not Yorvit Torrealba with a 1.1 WAR and .308 wOBA, but instead Esteban German was inserted only 2 at-bats coming in to the plate appearance with no hits, as well as, only 13 plate appearances in the regular season. German, grounded out, and Matt Lowe was Washington’s only option for the 11th inning, C.J. Wilson for some reason was not ready. Who lead off the bottom of the 11th? Of course, none other than the 9th inning hero and 4th inning goat, David Freese. Freese’s 430 foot bomb that occurred next and propelled the St. Louis Cardinals into Game 7, will go down in baseball history.
Game 6 was bizarre, unfathomable, and border-line not real life, and all I can really do is commend David Freese, for his season, post-season, and night. Freese only played in 97 regular season games and accumulated 10 home runs, a wOBA of .348 and a WAR of 2.7. Yet, in 17 games this postseason he has a ridiculous amount of home runs (5), and an obscene wOBA of .519 and wRC+ of 240. Freese took his game and his ballclub to the next level in one of the most incredible games in baseball history. And that’s why they call it America’s Pastime folks.