They know nussing—nussing!

Molina and the Cardinals have no idea (wink) how that ball got stuck to his chest protector Thursday.

Molina and the Cardinals have no idea (wink) how that ball got stuck to his chest protector Thursday.

It looked innocent as the Bad News Bears Thursday afternoon. Brett Cecil, the Cardinals relief pitcher, threw a fastball to Cubs pinch hitter Matt Szczur opening the top of the seventh that hit the dirt and disappeared, allowing Szczur to reach first despite the stickout–er, strikeout.

Except that the ball didn’t disappear. It bounced into catcher Yadier Molina’s chest protector. And stayed there.┬áCecil had to shout, “Chest! Chest!” before Molina realised where the ball was. And the amusing mishap, over which even the Cubs had to laugh, proved to be the moment that turned toward the Cubs a game the Cardinals led 4-2 at the time.

On Bryan Price’s ground rule plotz

Matt Carpenter, possibly in slight disbelief himself at scoring a winning run that shouldn't have been just yet . . .

Matt Carpenter, possibly in slight disbelief himself at scoring a winning run that shouldn’t have been just yet . . .

Already thought to be on the hot seat for much of the year, with his Reds clearly in rebuilding mode and performing a little worse than expected, manager Bryan Price may not have thrown the switch on his own execution Thursday night. But being asleep at the switch against a team looking for every break it can get clawing for a second National League wild card spot can turn up the seat’s heat even further.

Molina down, the Cardinals may have lost in winning Game Two

Tie an NLCS but lose your team backbone? Not an encouraging trade as Molina (center) walks off in serious pain . . .

Tie an NLCS but lose your team backbone? Not an encouraging trade as Molina (center) walks off in serious pain . . .

At what cost will the St. Louis Cardinals’ National League Championship Series-evening win Sunday night prove to have come? As great as it looked when Kolten Wong ended the game with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth, that’s about how horrible it looked when another swing earlier in the game sent Yadier Molina out of the game—and out of who who knew what else—with an oblique strain.

Did Mattingly misread Kershaw’s tank?

Carpenter's three-run double off Kershaw raises questions about Mattingly's read of his ace and his arms . . .

Carpenter’s three-run double off Kershaw raises questions about Mattingly’s read of his ace and his arms . . .

It seems that Detroit isn’t the only city this postseason fated to have nervous breakdowns when it’s time for their team to call the bullpen. Los Angeles may be fated to reach for the nerve tonics in similar times, if Friday’s National League division series opener in Dodger Stadium was any barometer.

B Invincible

Bagging a Series at Fenway for the first time since You-Know-Who pitched for the Red Sox . . .

Bagging a Series at Fenway for the first time since You-Know-Who pitched for the Red Sox . . .

It isn’t exactly tempting the wrath of the Boston gods anymore, ladies and gentlemen. “Party like it’s 1918.” So said a fan’s none-too-large placard in the Fenway boxes, while Koji Uehara was at his office in the top of the ninth Wednesday night, three outs standing between himself, his Red Sox, and hysteria.

Words, potentially, for the Red Sox to die by?

It came forth within half an hour after Game Three ended with Yadier Molina in self-professed shock, Allen Craig sprawled across the plate in disbelief, the Red Sox slinking to their clubhouse, the Cardinals whooping it up between their dugout and the plate area. All because of an unusual but no-questions-asked correct obstruction call.

Farrell tried a futile argument with Dana DeMuth---who merely affirmed Jim Joyce's obstruction call---but Farrell's own preceding strategies helped set up the disaster . . .

With Middlebrooks, Saltalamacchia, and Uehara surrounding, Farrell tried a futile argument with Dana DeMuth—who merely affirmed Jim Joyce’s obstruction call—but the manager’s own preceding non-strategies helped set up the disaster . . .

Even if he was lost to explain what just happened, manager John Farrell took it like a man.

Daddy took the T-Bird away

Kershaw's day didn't end soon enough Friday . . .

Kershaw’s day didn’t end soon enough Friday . . .

There’ll be no more fun, fun, fun for the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers. Daddy took the T-Bird away in Busch Stadium Friday. And you can spend all winter debating whether or not the Dodgers themselves gave him the ammunition on a platter.

Vogelsong’s Serenade

Seven virtuoso innings, a sweet Vogelsong for the Giants . . .

Two teams who’ve made a fine art of shoving back with their backs against the proverbial wall returned to San Francisco to square off in Game Six of the National League Championship Series Sunday night. This time, it was the San Francisco Giants with their backs to that wall—again—and a pitcher who’d gone from prospect to reclamation project making certain enough that the St. Louis Cardinals joined them in the same position for a seventh game.

Chipper Agonistes

The look says it all, after the double play opening throw that sailed away . . .

The greats don’t always get to choose the manner in which they leave the game. But whatever you believe about instant or at least same-day karma, Chipper Jones surely deserves better than to have his Hall of Fame-in-waiting career end like this.

His own throwing error, opening an unwanted door to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League’s first-ever wild card game; his own Atlanta Braves victimised by a soft fly to the shallow outfield ruled an infield fly when the Braves might have loaded the late-tying runs on base.