Cardinals hope to bounce back from poor game 3
All signs pointed to a very short series with a big chance of a sweep for the Cardinals after the first two games. Nothing seemed to work for the Dodgers and they lost two games started by their best pitchers. In Game 3 they would face Adam Wainwright and would send rookie Ryu to the mound, who was terrible in his only other playoff start this year.
Suddenly though, roles were reversed in Game 3. The Dodgers returned home and saw their rookie pitch extremely well, while the Cardinals – especially center fielder Jon Jay – suffered from a few defensive miscues. The Dodgers took advantage of a ball that dropped in, while it should have been caught, in the fourth scoring two runs on an RBI-double by Adrian Gonzalez and an RBI-triple by Yasiel Puig. They tacked on another after another Jay gaffe in the eight and saw Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen close out the win to shrink the Cardinals' lead in the series to 2-1.
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly will hope the win in Game 3 leads to a momentum switch. The poor and seemingly lackadaisical play could have started a new chapter in this series. A chapter in which the Dodgers possibly could stage a big comeback. While the Cardinals almost seemed impressed by the great atmosphere in Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers thrived in the change of environment.
They used the kind of non-verbal communication we have learned to expect in the postseason. For years we've seen the Rangers making gestures with their arms, mimicking the antlers of a deer. Other teams have since used similar gestures after important base hits. While these are all deliberate and premeditated gestures, Dodgers Gonzalez and Puig rased their arms in the air of pure joy after their clutch basehits in the fourth inning, much like a soccer player scoring a goal or a football player celebrating a touchdown.
The Cardinals took exception in these celebrations as we found out through comments of both Adam Wainwright and Carlos Beltran. The two stars frowned upon the behavior of the Dodger sluggers commenting that they saw it as 'Mickey Mouse stuff'. Not a smart move by the Cardinals, as they might have just woken up a sleeping giant in the Dodgers.
Game 4 pitching matchup
Ricky Nolasco (13-11, 3.70 ERA) vs. Lance Lynn (15-10, 3.97 ERA)
Both teams are sending their fourth starters to the mound in this one. Nolasco came over to the Dodgers midway through the season in a trade with the Miami Marlins and has since been very good going 8-3 with a 3.50 ERA in 15 starts. The 30-year old righty has faced the Cardinals twice this year, once as a Marlin and once as a Dodger, and won both starts, allowing just one earned run in twelve innings. He will be making his first postseason start ever tonight.
Even though Lynn is four years younger than Nolasco, he will be making the 19th playoff appearance of his young career. He lost his start against the Pirates in the NLDS, but got the win in Game 1 of the NLCS with two scoreless innings in relief in the 13-inning marathon that started this series. In his only start against the Dodgers this season he pitched another six scoreless innings and also got the win.
The bookies seem to agree with me that the Dodgers are going to take over this series. They favor the Dodgers (-133) over the Cardinals in Game 4 (+123). It could be a big win for Los Angeles as they can send their best two pitchers to the mound in the next two games.