Last night we found out we were wrong about Hyun-Jin Ryu as he pitched six innings, allowing just a solo shot by Matt Carpenter in his second at bat. The Dodgers battled back in the sixth inning after Yasiel Puig led it off by breaking his strikeout streak with a ball in the corner that Randal Grichuk misplayed into a triple for Puig. Two batters later, Hanley Ramirez doubled him home to tie up the game.
Saturday night Zack Greinke quieted the St. Louis Cardinals bats, but the Cardinals weren’t asleep just yet. Matt Carpenter, who has been the team’s offensive spark plug so far this season, put a game-tying two-run home run over the right center field fence to tie up the game. The fact that Greinke had been near flawless all night didn’t matter anymore. The Cardinals were back in the game and Pat Neshek was coming in to pitch the bottom of the 8th. Unfortunately, Matt Kemp took the fourth pitch he saw from Neshek and put it over the left field fence to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. A lead they would keep the rest of the way to even up the series at one game a piece.
Last night saw the Cardinals pull off yet another incredible postseason comeback to win a game they really had no business winning. At the end of the night they’d tagged Clayton Kershaw, a consensus pick for best pitcher in baseball, for 8 earned runs. That’s the most he’d allowed in a start since July 24, 2012. Also against the Cardinals. The two home runs he allowed tied a season high. Though he did on two occasions this season allow more than 8 hits.
The only good thing for writers in the top of the seventh inning of tonight’s Divisional Series affair was that their game stories weren’t a total loss. As they described the failings of a manager to go and pull his ace from a game when they no longer were getting the job done, they just simply needed to use the Find & Replace feature. Replace Mattingly for Matheny and Kershaw for Wainwright.
It feels like forever since the Major League Baseball season ended last Sunday, but the St. Louis Cardinals will return to the field this afternoon against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first game of the National League Divisional Series. It is the second straight season that the Dodgers and the Cardinals have met in the postseason. Last year, the Cardinals eliminated them from the postseason in the NL Championship Series in six games.