October 7, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) pitches the second inning against the Atlanta Braves in game four of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers Try It Again In Game 2 Armed With Clayton Kershaw


Dodgers Lineup @ St. Louis-Game 2

Crawford 7
M.Ellis 4
Gonzalez 3
Puig 9
Uribe 5
Schumaker 8
A.J. Ellis 2
Punto 6
Kershaw 1

Clayton Kershaw-1-0 vs. Michael Wacha

 

*Of course Hanley is scratched today because of sore ribs. He was hit by a pitch in last night’s debacle. You always want to sit your best hitter when you’re down a game in the NLCS because of course.* Say hello to Nick Punto today.

 

Last night’s 3-2 loss to the Cardinals in 13 innings was brutal, but the Dodgers don’t have time to lick their wounds. They go right back at it this afternoon and hope to turn it around and tie the series. It’s really important for the Dodgers to get a split here as Adam Wainwright looms in game three. The Dodgers have just the right guy on the mound to get that split today in Clayton Kershaw.

Getting back to the game 1 loss for a minute. The Dodgers were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position, left eleven men on base, and hit into three double plays in the late innings. That’s what really screwed the Dodgers in game 1. However Don Mattingly’s foolish gambled certainly didn’t help. As a matter of fact, removing Adrian Gonzalez from the game for Dee Gordon in the eighth inning basically lost the game for the Dodgers. Not only did the Dodgers not have their top run producer for the final five frames, but it also took the bat out of Hanley’s hands twice. It was bizarre seeing Gonzo sitting in the dugout with his hands up. Welp?

Kershaw means it-Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

During the tenth, and twelfth innings. Hanley was walked during both of those rallies, and instead of Gonzalez coming up with runners on base, it was Michael Young. I’ve stuck up for Young because I still support the move, but I have to admit, he was terrible last night. Hs double play in the top of the twelfth really hurt.

Too many people are blaming Ethier for not catching that Beltran double in the bottom of the third. Which is kind of retarded since that was the first time Ethier had played center field since September 13. Not to mention that Beltran smoked that ball. It almost went out for a home run. I think most center fielders probably don’t make that play. It was tough. Give Ethier a break.

Back to the removal of Gonzo, he didn’t even run Gordon who was erased at second base on a Yasiel Puig force out two pitches later. If you’re not going to run Gordon there, than there is no point removing Gonzo. With the runner at first base, the chances are slim at running him with Yadier Molina’s cannon arm behind the plate. What it did do was take the bat out of the Dodger’s top two hitters for the rest of the game. That’s huge when you’re struggling to score runs, and especially true in the playoffs.

Anyways, let’s move on to today’s game. The Dodgers are kind of in a must win scenario to avoid going back to Dodger Stadium down two games. The Dodgers have their stopper Clayton Kershaw on the mound to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Another rookie-Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Kershaw was 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA against the Cardinals this season. Kershaw’s career numbers against the Cardinals fare a bit better. Those read that he is 4-5 with a 3.75 ERA in 12 starts. Kershaw is 2-3 with a 3.65 ERA at Busch Stadium. Kershaw faced the Cardinals in game 2 of the 2009 NLDS, and limited the Birds to two runs over six frames. The Cardinals haven’t done much against Kershaw with just one home run, and a .749 OPS against. You can check out the rest of the numbers below. At least Beltran is hitting just .227 against Kershaw. So there is that.

PA

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

Matt Holliday

43

33

10

1

0

1

2

10

7

.303

.465

.424

Carlos Beltran

25

22

5

2

0

0

1

2

8

.227

.280

.318

Yadier Molina

25

22

6

2

0

0

1

3

4

.273

.360

.364

David Freese

18

15

3

1

0

0

2

2

2

.200

.278

.267

Matt Carpenter

12

12

2

0

0

0

1

0

2

.167

.167

.167

Adam Wainwright

10

6

2

1

0

0

2

2

1

.333

.500

.500

Jon Jay

7

6

1

1

0

0

0

1

3

.167

.286

.333

Daniel Descalso

6

4

2

0

0

0

0

2

0

.500

.667

.500

Pete Kozma

5

5

4

3

0

0

3

0

0

.800

.800

1.400

Tony Cruz

3

3

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

.333

.333

.333

Shane Robinson

3

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

.333

.333

.333

Joe Kelly

2

2

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

.000

.000

.000

Shelby Miller

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

.000

.000

.000

Total

161

135

37

11

0

1

14

22

28

.274

.371

.378

The Cardinals will counter with another rookie, right hander Michael Wacha. This was the guy who flirted with a no-hitter in the division series against the Pirates. I don’t know anything about Wacha, but here’s what I could find. He made his MLB debut this season, and was 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA in 15 games, and 9 starts. Wacha posted a very impressive 65 whiffs in 64 frames, for a 9.2 whiff per nine rate. He walked only 19, and posted a 1.098 WHIP during the regular season. Wacha is 22 years old, and the Texas A&M graduate is 6’6 and can hit speeds of 93-95 on the gun. Wacha is a three pitch guy. He has a fastball, curveball, and a very good changeup. According to scouting reports, he pounds the strike zone, so the Dodger hitters better be swinging. The Dodgers have never faced him.

A few more notes to hit here before I sign off.

The Dodgers were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position last night, and left 11 men on base. This is probably the main reason they lost. Of course having two more at-bats from Gonzalez with runners on base may have changed that.

Good lord man, can Mattingly please stop pitching to Beltran? Not only did he make that amazing throw to nail M.Ellis at the plate in the tenth, but he knocked in all three runs for the Cardinals. Every October he becomes like the second coming off Babe Ruth, or Stan Musial, or whatever. Just stop pitching to him! Don’t pitch to him with runners on base, and don’t give him anything to good to hit. Stop letting the big bats beat you. Take your chances against lesser offensive threats in the lineup.

That brings me to the M.Ellis play at the plate. I hate to say this, but he was out. No, it was not close. He was thrown out by ten feet. The ball was in Molina’s glove before M.Ellis was even in the frame. Remember, all the catcher has to do is hold onto the ball in order to get the call. Molina doesn’t hage to officially tag him. The reason why is because the collision from M.Ellis is the tag, IF, IF Molina holds onto the ball. If he drops it, M.Ellis is safe. Of course Molina held onto the ball. M.Ellis is not going to be able to knock over Yadier Molina. Come on now.

That’s it for now. Game two will start at 1PM, and is televised on TBS. I’m not saying the series is over or anything. That’s the beauty of a nice long seven game series, in that you can drop a game or two and still have a chance. However, the Dodgers do not want to come home down by two games to have to face Wainwright. The Dodger’s season may lie in the capable hands of Clayton Kershaw. Isn’t that how it should be? It’s up to you Kersh, lead the way. We will follow you into the promised land. We’ll be back after the game with the full recap. Go Blue!

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Tags: A.J. Ellis Adrian Gonzalez Carl Crawford Clayton Kershaw Don Mattingly Hanley Ramirez Juan Uribe Los Angeles Dodgers Mark Ellis Michael Wacha Yasiel Puig