Who: Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
When: 4:07 PM, ET – TBS
Series record: 1-0, St. Louis
Just hours after Game 1 of the National League Championship Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals ended, Game 2 will begin.
Needless to say, nobody got much sleep.
Game 1 of the 2013 NLCS looked and felt like two heavyweight boxers going punch for punch. Every time the Dodgers thought they had an advantage, the Cardinals were able to fight back. The battle lasted for thirteen innings, one of the longest games in NLCS history before Carlos Beltran (who essentially was the Cardinals, both on offense and defense) ended the festivities with a walk-off hit well over five hours since the first pitch was thrown.
Los Angeles had a prime opportunity to not only steal home field advantage away from St. Louis, but to put a stranglehold on the series with ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound for Game 2. Kershaw has been dominant, not only in the regular season but in the postseason as well, throwing thirteen innings of three run ball, striking out eighteen in the process.
If there is any saving grace for the Cardinals, it’s that Kershaw had his worst struggles of the year against St. Louis as in two starts he had a 4.15 ERA, well above any other opponent sans the New York Mets whom he only pitched once (five innings) against. Kershaw did make one start at Busch Stadium this season, going six innings, giving up two runs in a loss.
Opposing the Dodgers’ ace will be rookie arm Michael Wacha who earlier this postseason entered the eighth inning of his start against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a no-hitter. He unfortunately couldn’t sustain it (or the shutout) as he gave up a home run to Pedro Alvarez, but his no-hit bid was the longest in a playoff game by a rookie since 1912.
The young Wacha only appeared in fifteen games this season, none of them against the Dodgers so the two will be facing each other for the first time. Often times, that advantage usually helps out the pitcher though in a crucial, pressure packed NLCS swing game, things may not follow the typical script.
A win for Los Angeles still gives them a split and allows them to take home field advantage when they return to California for Game 3, though a loss forces them to win four of the next five games to move on. Needless to say, Game 2 will change the momentum of the series greatly.