This certainly wasn’t the first time the umps have been at the center of a call that might’ve gone a different way with instant replay — though, in this case, Holbrook said he was ‘‘absolutely’’ sure he made the right ruling even after looking at the video.
Adam Wainwright was a glorified spectator last fall, cheering on the Cardinals from the bench as they rose from wild card to World Series champions.
He know it’s a lot more fun being part of the action: In 2006, Wainwright won Game 4, and got the save in the series-clinching Game 5.
Wainwright, a 14-game winner in his first year back from elbow reconstruction, successfully fought against restricting his innings and starts Sunday in the NLDS opener. The Nationals, who led the league with 97 wins despite sitting down Stephen Strasburg in early September after 159⅓ innings, will go with 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez.
The Nationals have one of the youngest rosters in the majors and won 98 games as they overcame injuries to Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, and Ian Desmond. Johnson is a seasoned hand, though, joining Billy Martin as the lone managers to win division titles with four franchises.
Moving on after the departure of Albert Pujols in free agency, the Cardinals have one of the league’s most dangerous lineups with five 20-homer players for the first time in franchise history.
The pitching staff was even better. Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86) had a career year heading into free agency, Lynn (18-7, 3.78) was an All-Star during his first year in the rotation.
In the bullpen, Jason Motte tied for the league lead with 42 saves. He was the first closer in franchise history to get all of the team’s saves.