Dodgers Wacha Cardinals Take a 2-0 Lead in NLCS


Dodgers 0 5 0

Cardinals 1 2 1

WP- Wacha (1-0)

LP- Kershaw (0-1)

S- Rosenthal (1)

The Dodgers offense went into hibernation on this October Saturday in St. Louis. In fact, the Dodgers were unable to score a run in 19 consecutive innings in the series. They fell to the Cardinals 1-0 in Game 2 and now are down 2-0 in the series. They lost both games behind their two best pitchers with St. Louis’s ace yet to take the mound. Things are getting bleak in Dodgertown. Although Don Mattingly‘s questionable moves didn’t help matters in the first game, it was just the lack of clutch hitting or hitting in general which sunk the Dodgers in Game 2. The Dodgers went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, and they left 6 runners on base. Yasiel Puig struck out four times, and Uribe struck out thrice behind him. The Dodgers were playing without Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier who are both banged up with injuries. Hanley has sore ribs, and Ethier the sore ankle.

Michael Wacha completely shut the Dodgers down. Photo: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Wacha was dominating, and the young hurler picked up the victory in his first career NLCS start. Clayton Kershaw was equally good, and his only mistake came in the bottom of the fifth when the Red Birds scored on a double by Freese, a passed ball, and a sacrifice fly by Jon Jay. In fact the Cardinals only had two hits during the game against Dodger pitching. It has not been the pitching, the Dodger starters and bullpen have been great. It was the utter lack of offense which have really hurt the Dodgers so far in this important series. The Dodgers squandered a bases load opportunity in the sixth when Puig and Uribe both struck out against Wacha who celebrated with Molina like they had just won the World Series already.

Michael Wacha induces a pop out from Carl Crawford to open Game 2 of the NLCS at Busch Stadium. After going 3-2, Mark Ellis strokes a base hit to left field. Adrian Gonzalez strikes out swinging on a Wacha changeup. With Puig at bat, Mark Ellis gets a huge jump and steals second. It’s all for nay since Puig strikes out swinging to end the frame.

Clayton Kershaw goes to the mound for his third postseason start for 2013. Matt Carpenter promptly and I mean promptly triples on the first pitch Kershaw throws past a diving Puig in right field. Oh boy, this is less than an optimal start for the Dodgers. Carlos Beltran pops out to Juan Uribe at third on the first pitch he sees. Kershaw strikes out Matt Holliday on a good Kersh curveball. Yadier Molina grounds out to Nick Punto who makes a nice play to throw him out. Kershaw is a warrior! He overcomes the lead-off triple making only 10 pitches, and the game remains scoreless.

Wacha easily sends down the Dodgers in order in the top of the second.

Clayton Kershaw gets the loss but it wasn’t his fault. Photo: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Kershaw counters with a 1-2-3 inning as well in the home half of the second.

Nick Punto strikes out swinging to begin the top of the third. Meanwhile, Hanley has left the stadium to get x-rays on his ribs. Kershaw grounds out to short. CC flies out, and the Dodgers go down in order again.

Kershaw sends the Red Birds down 1-2-3 yet again in the bottom of the third, and it looks like we are locked in to a pitcher’s duel.

Can you guess what happened in the top of the fourth? Yes, the Dodgers went down in order and Yasiel Puig struck out swinging.

Kershaw walks Carlos Beltran to begin the bottom of the fourth, and I’m okay with that. It pays off as Matt Holliday grounds into a double play. Molina grounds out to third to end the frame.

A.J. Ellis hits a ground-rule double with two outs in the top of the fifth. That’s just the third hit of the game and second base hit for the Dodgers. Nick Punto watches strikes three go into the glove of Molina with not so much as an inkling to swing, and A.J. is stranded at second.

David Freese hits a lead-off double to the left field corner in the bottom of the fifth. With Matt Adams at the plate, a passed ball by A.J. allows Freese to take third. Adams strikes out swinging, but Jon Jay’s sacrifice fly allows Freese to easily tag up thanks to Crawford’s weak arm and come home to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead.

David Freese scores the only run of the game in the fifth inning. Photo: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Kershaw has to take matters into his own hands, and the ace singles to left field to begin the top of the sixth. Carl Crawford hits a grounder to second, and Carpenter throws the ball away trying to get Kershaw at second since Crawford was too quick to throw out at first. Kershaw takes third and Crawford to second on the throwing error. Mark Ellis wastes an out by popping out. The Cardinals intentionally walk Gonzo to load the bases up for Puig. Wacha proceeds to strike out Puig after going 3-2, and he also strikes out Uribe. The Dodgers leave the bases loaded, and frustration mounts.

Kershaw isn’t rattled by the Dodgers inability to hit with runners in scoring position, and he strikes out both Wacha and Beltran in the bottom of the sixth for a 1-2-3 inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, Nick Punto singles with two outs. That’s going to be all for Wacha thankfully. Mike Matheny will bring in Kevin Siegrist to pitch to pinch-hitter Michael Young. Two wild pitches allow Punto to reach third, but of course Young flies out and strands Punto 90 feet from home.

Michael Wacha pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed no runs on 5 hits with 8 strikeouts and a walk on 112 pitches.

Clayton Kershaw pitched 6 innings and allowed 1 run on 2 hits with 5 strikeouts and a

Yasiel Puig strikes out four times and is hitless in the series so far. Photo: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

walk on 72 pitches.

Ronald Belisario comes out of the Dodger bullpen and pitches another nice 1-2-3 inning to get Holliday, Molina, and Freese. Beli has been pitching well in the NLCS.

Randy Choate, former friend, will pitch the top of the eighth for the Cards. Choate does his job as CC fouls out to Daniel Descalso. Carlos Martinez will now come in to pitch to Mark Ellis. Martinez quickly disposes of MEllis on strikes for the second out. Gonzalez strikes out for the second time, and the Cards are three outs away from taking a 2-0 lead in the NLCS.

J.P. Howell will pitch the bottom of the eighth for the Dodgers. Matt Adams grounds out. Skip Schumaker is able to recover after slipping out in center to catch up to a fly ball hit by Jay. Pete Kozma draws a two-out walk, and Shane Robinson will pinch-hit for the Cards. Robinson flies out to shallow right field to end the inning, and the Dodgers will need to comeback in the ninth.

Trevor Rosenthal is in for the top of the ninth. Yasiel Puig looks at strike three, and he collects the golden sombrero with four strikeouts in the game. He remains hitless in the series. Juan Uribe also strikes out for his third whiff of the game. The Dodgers are down to their last out, and Andre Ethier will pinch-hit. Ethier strikes out, and Rosenthal strikes out the side. Fireworks immediately go off as the Cardinals take a 2-0 lead in the series.

The Dodgers will board the plane and travel back to Los Angeles to ready for Game 3 on Monday at Dodger Stadium. Hyun-jin Ryu is set to counter St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright.

Can the Dodgers recover from this 2-0 deficit? Stay tuned.