It is an old adage that that the visiting team tries to leave the first two games on the road with at least a split. The Cardinals accomplished that traditional goal in an unconventional away. The Cardinals and their nation should be content with their one win in the city of angels.
Most baseball fans are resigned to the fact that the best pitcher wins their start. Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball and was proving it through six innings in Game 1. Wainwright meanwhile was showing rust from having a start skipped. As has been documented relentlessly the Cardinals mounted an improbable rally against the soon to be two-time Cy Young winner probable NL MVP. Matt Carpenter once again showed Kershaw who his daddy in the postseason was and the Cardinals went up 1-0 long after many Cardinal fans had turned off their TVs.
Game 2 went far more conventionally. Lynn vs. Greinke was a dead heat with the Dodgers being favored at home. Greinke has been a great pitcher at home throughout his career and this year was no different as he posted a 2.55 ERA in Chavez Ravine. He left the game without giving up a run. Lynn made one true mistake hitting too much of the plate for Gonzalez, the righter of wrongs, to drive in the second run of the game. However MARP, the Dodger Killer, struck again and tied the game with a two-run home run off JP Howell in the eighth. Brandon League and Jansen shut the door the rest of the way and a Kemp solo blast off the now hittable Pat Neshek closed the scoring as the Dodgers secured a split.
A win in Game 1 tends to change the priorities of the road team and its fan base. After all, the Giants are looking at a 2-0 lead going back home after taking care of business in extra innings tonight. Cardinal Nation is no doubt disappointed that they are not in the same enviable position as their NLCS rivals.
Don’t lose sight of the big picture.
If you were told you were coming back to St. Louis at 1-1 with historical playoff stud, John Lackey and the resurgent Shelby Miller to throw at the beginning of the series the smart among you would take it. The fact the Cardinals once again solved Kershaw should give the Redbird faithful more hope for an advancement to the NLCS.
The things that scare you are not going away. Matheny continues to make questionable decisions with his lineup and bullpen. Taveras should have started over Grichuck versus the righty Greinke. Many including me would have liked to see Martinez instead of Neshek in the eighth. Matheny is gonna be Matheny and the Cards are going to have to win in spite of him.
To leave you on a happy note, Puig finished the game with a Golden Sombrero (0-4 4Ks) and the Cards are exactly where they want to be, away from the fake fans and celebrities and in front of the best home crowd in the world with a chance to advance.
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