The NLCS matchup was set Wednesday night as the St. Louis Cardinals advanced by defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 behind a CG from Adam Wainwright. The Cardinals offensively did most of their damage with the long ball as they got two-two run homers from David Freese and Matt Adams. The former number one overall pick Gerrit Cole was given the ball for Pittsburgh and pitched admirably in the loss going 5 innings and only allowing two earned runs.
The headline in the papers should read something along the lines of “Old Friends are always Best Friends” as the Cardinals heroes of postseasons past came up huge when it mattered most. Adam Wainwright duplicated what Chris Carpenter did in October 2011 in Philadelphia in delivering in a Game 5 of the NLDS to send St. Louis to the championship series. Although Wainwright wasn’t as dominant as Carpenter’s 3 hit shutout, he didn’t need to be as the CG was more than enough in the win (Adam Wainwright was the closer for the 2006 Cardinals who won the World Series). David Freese was the hero later in that 2011 postseason as he saved the Cardinals from elimination when he delivered in World Series Game 6 to force the deciding game; eventually leading to St. Louis defeating the Rangers.
The Cardinals won this game in prototypical Cardinal fashion which is pitching and timely hitting. The Cardinals are not defined by the long ball, but tonight their offense came to life against a very good young starter in Cole who’ll be a stud for years to come in up and coming Pirates organization. Certainly one must tip their cap to the Pirates who made their first postseason in 21 years, and in doing so pushed the powerful Cardinals to two elimination games.
In looking forward to the NLCS which starts Friday night, the Dodgers will have to travel to Busch Stadium to open Friday and Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals will be for sure facing Zack Greinke in the opener and more Ryu in Game 2. The Dodgers will be favorited in this series because of their offensive explosiveness and the presence of Clayton Kershaw; who’s quickly turning into the modern day Sandy Koufax with his dominance. The Dodgers are led by Adrian Gonzales, Hanley Ramirez, and Yasiel Puig. Since Yasiel Puig’s call-up on June 3rd the Dodgers are an amazing 71-39 including the postseason (645%).
The Cardinals were the only threat to the Dodgers and now that these two teams are facing each other in a seven game series as opposed to a five it should make for an entertaining brand of baseball. The other thing to note’s that the Cardinals having home field in a long series will also be quite different than having it in a shorter series. Clayton Kershaw will not be able to appear three times in this series because he pitched on three days rest. Kershaw will appear in Games 3 and 7 even with the days off.
In the history of these two teams this’ll have been the fourth time they’ve met in the postseason with the Cardinals having won the NLCS in 1985. The last two times they’ve met were in the NLDS which the Cardinals won in 2004 and lost in 2009.