On Wednesday the Dodgers fought off the Cardinals, who were looking to clinch their second World Series appearance in three years. Adrian Gonzalez was the big hero for the Dodgers in Game 5 after hitting two home runs in the contest, both solo shots.
A.J. Ellis, Juan Uribe and pitcher Zack Greinke also drove in runs in this game for the Dodgers, who finally found a way to beat rookie Joe Kelly. The Cardinals tried to stage a big comeback in the ninth, but closer Kenley Jansen managed to hold them off just barely as he allowed two runs on four hits. The Dodgers won the game 6-4.
Back to St. Louis
The NLCS moves back to St. Louis for its deciding stage. The Cardinals will have to try to beat Clayton Kershaw for a second time. The first time they managed to score just one – unearned – run on two hits. They were lucky that the Dodgers failed to score after amassing five base hits.
The Cardinals probably want to end this series now, even though they have Adam Wainwright set up to start Game 7. They had a 3-1 lead last season against the Giants and failed to score more than 2 runs in the three remaining games. Losing the NLCS two years in a row after taking a 3-1 lead would be nothing less than devastating for St. Louis and her fans. The one batter that could break them out of their little offensive slump against Kershaw could be Matt Holliday. In 35 at bats he has hit .286 off the Southpaw and he is the only current Cardinal with a home run against the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner.
Game 6 pitching matchup
Michael Wacha (4-1, 2.78 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83 ERA)
We've seen the exact same matchup in the same stadium in Game 2 and if it was any indication we can expect a great game tonight. It is only the second time Wacha faces the Dodgers and there's always a chance they'll fare better the second time around, but Wacha is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in the playoffs so far.
Kershaw on the other hand is 1-1 with an 0.46 ERA, so expect runs to be at a premium tonight.
The chances of the Cardinals beating Clayton Kershaw were very small, but they did it in Game 2. The chances of them beating him twice in one series? Almost non-existant. You really can't bet against Kershaw in this one, but hey: it's baseball. Anything is possible. If Michael Wacha can match him again, the Cardinals have the better bullpen and might win after all.
If the Dodgers take an early lead, this should be an easy win. They are the definite favorites in this game at -127 and the Cardinals are at +117.