It would seem impossible for the second game of a seven game series to be a must win for any team but that is exactly what game two of the NLCS is for the Los Angeles Dodgers. They went into game one against the St. Louis Cardinals with their second ace Zach Greinke knowing that their best starter and number one ace Clayton Kershaw would follow in game two. The best part about that is that the Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright isn’t starting until game three of the series. That is a great layout for the Dodgers. At least it was before they lost game one.
Greinke was as good as any pitcher could have been. He had one inning with a few shaky pitches that led to the two runs the Cardinals scored. Other than that he was absolutely flawless. The Dodgers couldn’t have asked for anything better and yet they were unable to manage more than two against the Cardinals. That became a problem when they lost in extra innings. Now they are down one game going into game two. So, why is it a must win?
It is a must win for two reasons. First of all, they cannot lose games started by their best two pitchers and win this series. It will not happen. Secondly and most importantly, if they waste another great start by Kershaw in game two the way they did Greinke’s effort in game one, they’ll be down two games to zero with the only pitcher that has been more impressive that Kershaw going for the Cardinals in game three.
Going down two games to none isn’t the end of the series but it certainly would make it more difficult to win with Wainwright going in game three. That would give the Cardinals the inside chance to win the series before the Dodgers can throw Kershaw again.