Gordon: Cardinals lose their way, momentum

Posted by n280668993 on October 18th, 2013


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After walking the high wire to win Games 1 and 2 of the National League Championship Series, the Cardinals fell off it Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Their pitching remained very good. Staff ace Adam Wainwright allowed just two runs in seven innings and would have bid for a shutout with better defensive and offensive support.

Their hitting was still weak. After scratching out just four runs in the first 22 innings of this series at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals didn’t come close to generating something against Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu in Los angeles.

“He's thrown a couple of good games against us, " Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said during his postgame media briefing "Threw the ball well today and didn't make a lot of mistakes. We couldn't get anything going. We would get one opportunity and an aggressive base running play ends up taking us out of the inning. But he controlled the counts, controlled the plate, did what he wanted to against us. "

Mix in some centerfield misadventure by Jon Jay, a baserunning blunder by Daniel Descalso, a rookie fielding mistake by Kolten Wong and the result was a sloppy 3-0 Cardinals loss.

“It wasn't very characteristic of how we played all season, ” Matheny said. "Our team has done a great job of improving defensively. We just had a lot of balls in the air tonight that hit the ground that normally don't.

"We're a better club than this. ”

They still lead the best-of-seven series 2-1, but losing Game 3 with Wainwright on the mound was a major blow. Now the pressure shifts to Game 4 starter Lance Lynn, who won Game 1 in relief but lost his only start in the NLDS.

It’s safe to say the pressure has shifted from the Dodgers to the Cardinals. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly may start Ricky Nolasco in Game 4 knowing he can come back with Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Ryu the rest of the way.

Or Mattingly could move to pitch his big guys on short rest and go for the kill. That was the approach he used against Atlanta.

"The playoffs are one-day momentum swings, " Mattingly told reporters after the game. "Every day changes with momentum. Right now I feel like we've kind of grabbed it. "


Carlos Beltran tried to spark the offense by drawing a first-inning walk, working back from an 0-2 count. But Matt Holliday flied out and Yadier Molina was called out on strikes. That set the offensive tone for the game.

After allowing a lead-off triple in the bottom of the fifth – on a ball Jay could have caught – Wainwright bore down and got the next three batters to strand him there.

Jay tried to atone for his poor defensive game with a lead-off single in the eighth, but that did not spark his teammates.

Reliever Randy Choate did a nice job in the eighth inning, getting the last two outs to strand two runners.


Second baseman Matt Carpenter and Jay let Hanley Ramirez’s first-inning pop-up fall between them in center field. Wainwright was able to work around that mishap.

After rookie second baseman Kolten Wong fetched Hanley Ramirez’s lob shot into right field, he whirled and threw to second base. Unfortunately the play was at home – because Carl Crawford, running from second base, never broke stride toward the plate and scored the third LA run.


Jay and Beltran let a Mark Ellis fly ball fall between them in right-center field for a lead-off double in the bottom of the fourth inning. That has to be Jay’s ball. The mishap led to a two-run rally’ Adrian Gonzalez hit a RBI double and Yasiel Puig hit a RBI triple.

Pinch-runner Descalso, in for David Freese (calf strain) took off for third base on a routine fly to left. That handed the Dodgers an easy double play in the fifth inning. Where was he going?

The Cardinals mustered just four hits overall. They are hitting. 134 in NLCS. According to Elias, this the worst batting average for a team through the first three games of any NLCS or ALCS.


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Joined: August 22nd, 2012
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