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Cards Need Win to Recapture Control Of Series
Posted By Chaz Ingram On Oct 14 2011 @ 5:21 pm In St. Louis Cardinals | 2 Comments
After four games of the National League Championship Series it is quite clear that the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals are very evenly matched ball clubs. After the Brewers 4-2 win over the Cardinals last night in St. Louis the series is all tied up at two games apiece. With the loss the Redbirds missed a golden opportunity to go up 3-1 and seize control of the series. With the win the Brewers guaranteed a return to Miller Park in Milwaukee where they posted the best home record in baseball in 2011.
In fact the Cards and Brewers are so evenly matched that have not only split the four games of the NLCS but they also split the 18 regular season games they played in 20011. Of the 22 total games the teams have played each have won 11 games. Assuming this trend continues and they split the next two games it could all come down to game #25 of the season (game 7 of the NLCS) serving as a tie breaker between the two teams with the winner being awarded a trip to the 2011 World Series.
In game 3 the Cardinals fortunately spotted their ace Chris Carpenter four runs in the first inning and he would need them all as he was definitely not on his “A” game in game 3 of this NLCS. Carpenter gave up a walk and hit a batter to the Brewers in the first inning but escaped without any damage. He returned to the mound in the second inning and surrendered 3 immediate singles as the Brewers scored two runs. The Brewers would score again on Mark Kotsay’s HR as Carpenter continued to struggle. Carpenter’s night was finished after five innings and the Cardinals’ bullpen once again performed admirably as they shut the Brewers down the rest of the way for a 4-3 Redbird win.
Cardinals’ game 4 starter Kyle Lohse was looking to rebound from a bad outing in game one of the NLDS against the Phillies 12 days ago. He gave a valiant effort giving up only 3 runs but struggled with command of his pitches. The Cardinals’ however, were unable to muster much offense against Brewers’ starter Randy Wolf. Wolf gave up solo homeruns to Matt Holliday and Allen Craig as the Brewers evened the series with a 4-2 win.
The Cardinals were 0-8 with runners in scoring position in that game 4 loss and must be more opportunistic in game five if starter Jaime Garcia is to earn his first post season win this year. Brewers’ ace Zack Greinke will take the mound for Milwaukee tonight in what will be a rematch of game one. Garcia is 0-2 this post season and seems to have lost some zip on his pitches particularly in “shutdown innings“ (innings after his team scores). The Cardinals took a 5-2 lead on Lance Berkman’s single to right in the top half of the fifth inning. However, the Brewers erupted for 6 runs against Garcia in the bottom of the fifth to take control of the game and knock Garcia out of it. Garcia has a 4.88 ERA in “shutdown” innings. The Brewers won that game 9-6. If the Cardinals are to regain control of the series and go back to Milwaukee with a 3-2 series lead Garcia will need to focus during those key “shutdown innings” and the Cardinals will need take full advantage of their opportunities.
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