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Cardinals short hops
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10/27/2004 1:45 AM ET
Cardinals short hops
St. Louis now faces a must-win Game 4 to stay alive
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ST. LOUIS -- You don't win 105 games in the regular season without pouncing on more than your fair share of opportunities, either created by your own play or given to you by your opponent.


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Through the first three games of this World Series, especially the last two that have put them in a 3-0 hole, perhaps the Cardinals' greatest flaw has been their inability to take advantage of opportunities to score runs, many of them handed over by the Red Sox.

In Game 2, it was Boston's four errors, none really leading to anything for the Cardinals. In Game 3, they had their chances to get to Pedro Martinez early but ran themselves out of two innings, finishing the game 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position in the first and third innings -- and for the night.

Vitals check
A look at key statistics through Game 3 of the World Series.

Team stats

Digits Trend The Deal
ERA 7.20 after '04 success, starters living down to preseason predictions
BA .208 blame it on Pedro, but this should not be a Mendoza-line offense against anyone
Runs 12 need more than that against this club
Errors 1 the only truly redeeming factor right now

Who's hot?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Ray King 3 G, 0.00 ERA, 2 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB his two innings Tuesday gave Cards a chance

Who's not?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Jeff Suppan 4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 1 HR scary thought is he did more damage on base paths
Scott Rolen .000, 0-for-11 cleanup man getting picked clean so far

Behind the numbers
The middle of the order -- Albert Pujols, Rolen and Jim Edmonds -- are now 5-for-33 for the World Series. Not that any one of them carried this team all year, but the trio of MVP candidates, as a unit, hasn't stepped up to the challenge yet.

Frozen moment
Literally frozen. Jeff Suppan's freeze and slow U-turn on the third-base line deflated the Cards' chances early. He should have scored easily on a grounder to the right side of the infield, and it turned into a double play.

Second guess
After Martinez started out wild and up in the zone, the Cardinals didn't do much to extend his pitch count as the game went along, knowing full well getting him up into the 90s meant getting him out of the game. They could have learned a little more from the Yankees' approach of waiting him out as much as possible each at-bat.

Home streak over
The Cardinals lost at home for the first time this postseason after six victories, marking the club's first home postseason loss since Game 2 of the 2002 NLCS against San Francisco. The Cardinals lost a home Series game for the first time since Game 5 of the 1985 Series against Kansas City.

Last word
"All we can do is come out fresh tomorrow and play good baseball. That's all we can do down 3-0. Anything can happen in baseball." -- Reggie Sanders

John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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