It was possible for Whitey Herzog to think two innings ahead tonight because, in 1980, he thought two years ahead.
"I knew we had to strengthen our bullpen and get more speed into our lineup for this ballpark," the St. Louis Cardinals' manager/general manager said tonight after his team won the World Series with a 6-3 victory over Milwaukee. "That's why I wanted Bruce Sutter, for spots like tonight's."
That spot came in the last two innings of the seventh game when the Cardinals needed to protect a one-run lead. They came to that circumstance after a series of Herzog maneuvers in the sixth inning brought the Cardinals from 3-1 behind to 4-3 ahead.
"It didn't matter," Herzog said of Joaquin Andujar's verbal skirmish with Brewers' second baseman Jim Gantner. After umpire Lee Weyer physically shoved Andujar toward the St. Louis dugout at the end of the seventh inning, Andujar did not return for the eighth.
In his place came Sutter, working for the fourth time in the Series. "I'd already decided he'd come in for the eighth inning," Herzog said. "Hub Kittle (the pitching coach) said Bruce was smokin' that thing in the bullpen, and Bruce said he was ready."
Sutter, who had been hit hard in Game 5 when he allowed three hits and two runs in the eighth inning of a 6-4 loss, retired six straight hitters tonight. He struck out slugger Gorman Thomas to end the game, setting off the customary celebration in which the winners throw themselves into a big pile.
"That's definitely the situation I want to be in, the seventh game of the World Series," Sutter said. "I had to back off the mound a little bit, I was almost too pumped. I wanted to run the ball from the mound to the plate."
Did he see Thomas slump away from the plate in melancholy?
"No," Sutter said. "I was on the bottom of the pile."
The Cardinals had men on second and third with one out when Herzog sent up Gene Tenace, a right-handed batter, for the lefty Ken Oberkfell. Bob McClure, Milwaukee's new pitcher, promptly walked Tenace. After Keith Hernandez's single drove in two runs to tie it at 3-all, George Hendrick singled for a 4-3 lead.
"I wanted to get ahead right then, because I wanted to come with Sutter in the eighth and one run ahead," Herzog said.