Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
When: 8:37 PM, ET – TBS
Series record: 3-2, St. Louis
To say St. Louis Cardinals rookie starter Michael Wacha has been impressive this season would be quite the understatement. Wacha, who was brought up for a cup of coffee in late May/early June struggled initially, though after a bit more seasoning in the minors seemingly turned the corner. Over his last three starts (including two postseason games), Wacha, in 22.2 innings has given up just one run.
That’s a trend the Red Birds are hoping Wacha will continue tonight as he takes the hill for the Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS, hoping to send St. Louis to their second World Series appearance in three seasons.
Wacha is coming off a five hit, zero earned run performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS, his lone start against Los Angeles this season.
Opposing Wacha will be NL Cy Young front runner Clayton Kershaw who was outdueled by the rookie in Game 2 of the series. This time however, the Dodgers’ season relies on a strong performance from Kershaw, who despite an impressive start against the Cardinals earlier in the series has struggled against them this year, posting a plus 4.00 ERA during the regular season.
Offensively, it’s expected the Dodgers will play both Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez, though, manager Don Mattingly did say that if Ramirez feels as if he can’t contribute, he will not start. Ramirez, of course, has been nursing a rib injury since Game 1 after he was hit by a Joe Kelly fastball, which has lead to Ramirez being removed from a handful of games early due to pain issues.
St. Louis, who held a 3-1 series advantage over the San Francisco Giants in 2012 (and lost) is trying to avoid becoming the first team in the history of the MLB, NBA and NHL to lose a series in consecutive years after holding a 3-1 advantage.
A win tonight will avoid such a fate and send them to the World Series as the National League’s representative.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles will be fighting to send things to a winner-take-all Game 7 on Saturday night.