Dodgers 0 2 2
Cardinals 9 13 0
WP- Wacha (2-0)
LP- Kershaw (0-2)
The Dodgers ended their 2013 season on Friday night after a disastrous NLCS Game 6 in St. Louis. Clayton Kershaw pitched one of the worst games I have ever seen him appear in, Yasiel Puig committed two errors, and the Dodgers only mustered two hits the entire night. That’s right, the Dodgers had as many hits as errors. The Cardinals went on to clinch their 19th franchise National League pennant, and their rookie pitcher Michael Wacha captured the series M.V.P. award. The Cardinals will now go on to play for their 12th World Series crown against either Detroit or Boston.
Blame can be thrown around, but I simply cannot put all the blame on the rookie
mistakes made by Yasiel Puig tonight. He made two throws from the outfield, and each one resulted in runs for the Cards. One throw was missed by Mark Ellis and dropped by Adrian Gonzalez, and the other high throw was warranted in order to try to throw out the runner coming in. Puig’s second error was of the fielding type on a misplayed ball which skipped off his glove. We have seen these types of mistakes by Puig throughout the season, and they can be detrimental in a game for sure. Yet in the overall scope of this game, the errs were essentially meaningless since the Dodgers were not able to hit at all.
When I say the Dodgers couldn’t hit at all, I am referring to their two measly hits. One was a lead-off infield single by Carl Crawford to begin the game, and the other was a double by A.J. Ellis in the sixth inning. Michael Wacha pitched brilliantly, and he was essential to the Cards this series picking up his second victory against the Dodgers.
Clayton Kershaw struggled mightily. The usually solid southpaw had a catastrophic third inning, and the Cardinals jumped on him for four runs. The Cards were aggressive tonight, and they were swinging early in the counts. Kershaw unraveled, and it had an avalanche affect. I’m not sure if the season had finally taken its toll on the workhorse, but Kershaw simply did not have his good stuff tonight. He managed to settle down in the fourth inning a bit, but the wheels came off once again in the fifth. Mattingly had to take Kershaw out after he was unable to get an out in the fifth inning. The Cards rallied once again, and they scored a big high five in the fifth.
Carlos Beltran had three hits and two RBIs, and the rest of the lineup had at least a hit apiece with the exception of Matt Holliday who went 0-for-5 and Pete Kozma who did have two walks and a run. The Cardinals bested the Dodgers this series, and with Hanley Ramirez‘s injury in Game 1 the Dodgers were never able to recover.
Carl Crawford starts off the top of the first by legging out an infield single. Of course Mark Ellis then proceeds to ground into a double play which erases the lead-off single. Adrian Gonzalez grounds out to David Freese at third base to end the inning. Michael Wacha made 14 pitches in the inning to retire the Dodgers.
Clayton Kershaw takes the mound in the home half of the first. Matt Carpenter goes down swinging on a great Kersh 95-mph fastball. Carlos Beltran then strokes a double to left field. Matt Holliday chases a slider, and he’s the second strikeout victim of the inning for Kershaw. Yadier Molina, who has been struggling mightily this series, grounds out to second to end the frame. Kershaw made 18 pitches in the inning.
Hanley Ramirez swings at the first pitch he sees and flies out center field for the first out in the top of the second. Andre Ethier strikes out swinging. Yasiel Puig strikes out looking.
David Freese pops a ball up behind second, and Mark Ellis takes care of it for the first out of the bottom of the second. Matt Adams pops out behind short, and Hanley takes care of that one. Shane Robinson singles to left with two outs. With Pete Kozma at bat, Kershaw pitches two consecutive balls in the dirt allowing Robinson to take second and third base. Kershaw bears down, and he strikes out Kozma with a fastball! The Cards strand the runner at third, and the game remains scoreless.
Michael Wacha wins the battle against Juan Uribe by striking him out after a nine-pitch at bat to begin the top of the third. A.J. Ellis grounds out to short. Clayton Kershaw grounds out to first, and the Dodgers go down in order.
Matt Carpenter doubles on the eleventh pitch of his at bat with one out in the bottom
of the third for the Cards. Carlos Beltran predictably comes up clutch and proceeds to hit a RBI single to right field. Carpenter comes in to score, and Beltran is able to take second on the throw by Puig which is dropped by Gonzalez. For some reason Puig didn’t try to throw home, but the right cut-off man was Gonzalez at first base. Matt Holliday quickly strikes out. Molina singles up the middle, and Beltran scores making it 2-0 St. Louis. Freese also singles up the middle, and that’s the fourth hit of the inning for the Cardinals. Matt Adams walks, and the bases are loaded. Robinson singles to right field, and two runs score as Yasiel Puig throws the ball way over A.J. Ellis’s head. It’s 4-0, and the Cards have hit Kershaw hard. Puig absolutely should have attempted that throw home, and if it wasn’t too high it probably gets the man out at the plate. They intentionally walk Kozma to try to get the last out with Wacha. Wacha strikes out to end the inning, but the epic disaster is already in the books. Kershaw made 48 pitches in the inning.
In the top of the fourth, Crawford walks to begin the inning. Mark Ellis pops out in foul territory. Gonzalez also pops out in foul territory. Hanley Ramirez also pops out, and the Dodgers go down 1-2-3 on three pop ups.
In the bottom of the fourth, Kershaw pitches a 1-2-3 inning. That’s his first of the game.
Everything is going wrong for the Dodgers. Puig hits a ball hard, but it’s caught at the warning track by Holliday. Then Uribe hits the ball hard, but Beltran makes a diving catch to rob him of an extra base hit. Yes, it’s one of those nights.
Molina singles on a line drive which skips off the glove of Puig. Molina takes second on
the error, the second for Puig on the night. Freese singles, and Adams doubles. Molina easily scores, and it’s 5-0. Kershaw can’t get anyone out, and Don Mattingly has to hook his ace in the fifth inning. Ronald Belisario will come out of the bullpen to relieve Kersh. Robinson grounds into a fielder’s choice as Freese is hung up between third and home. They intentionally walk Kozma which loads the bases for Wacha. Wacha hits a slow grounder past the mound, and Mark Ellis’s throw home is not in time. The Red Birds score a sixth run. Mattingly will have to go to the pen again. J.P. Howell will come in to pitch to Carpenter. Carpenter’s sacrifice fly to left field allows Robinson to score, 7-0 Cards. Yet another runs scores on a wild pitch in the dirt, 8-0 Cards. Beltran singles to left, 9-0. Are you sensing a pattern? The inning mercifully ends as Holliday flies out. The Cards score five runs in the inning, and the Dodgers still have ONE hit.
Clayton Kershaw pitched just 4 innings while allowing 7 runs on 10 hits with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks on 98 pitches.
A.J. Ellis doubles off the center field wall to lead-off the top of the sixth. Skip Schumaker gets a round of applause as he come up to the plate. Schumaker goes down swinging. Crawford lines out to second. Mark Ellis grounds out.
Chris Withrow will pitch the bottom of the sixth for the Dodgers. Withrow allows a free pass to Freese with one out, and Adams singles. Robinson grounds out to end the inning.
The Dodgers go down in order against Wacha in the top of the seventh.
Carlos Marmol is in for the bottom of the seventh, and he pitches a nice 1-2-3 inning. Yes, Marmol did.
Carlos Martinez is in for the top of the eighth. Michael Wacha pitched 7 shutout innings, and only allowed a mere 2 hits with 5 strikeouts and a walk on 95 pitches. The righty quickly takes care of Puig as he strikes out for the second time of the night. Uribe grounds out. A.J. Ellis strikes out to end the inning.
Jon Jay singles to lead-off the bottom of the eighth. Holliday pops out. Freese strikes out, and we head to the top of the ninth.
The Dodgers were never able to rebound after losing the first two games in St. Louis. We can go back and pinpoint mistakes made by management, the injury suffered by Hanley, and the lack of overall offense as the key shortcomings in this series.
The rain was falling down in St. Louis which is quite symbolic of the season coming to an end for the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw began the season with a big homerun, and unfortunately the bookend to the season was this Kershaw loss. The Dodgers got further than I ever expected, and they went on a historic 42-8 run. There were many lows and just as many highs, but to end it like this is quite bittersweet. So close, yet so far. We have waited 25 years for the Dodgers to get to the World Series again, and it looks like we will be waiting at least 26. Clayton Kershaw had an awful night, but without Kershaw the Dodgers would have never gotten this far. This offseason will be long, and the memories of this final game will sting for awhile. Yet we must remind ourselves of the promise of the Blue future. I will always love the Dodgers, on this night and every night.