With the victory last night by the St. Louis Cardinals, they now own a commanding 3-1 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. In most cases, it is basically certain that the Dodgers will be at the losing end of this series, but with Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu taking the mound for Los Angeles in the final three games, the Dodgers may not go down without a fight.
Now before everyone jumps on the fact that the Cardinals won both games with Greinke and Kershaw on the mound, keep in mind that those games were so close that one at-bat in each game could have changed the tide. Los Angeles could have the easily come out of those games with a 2-0 series lead.
Greinke went eight innings in Game 1 and got a no-decision. However, if he would have been able to keep pitcher Joe Kelly from getting St. Louis’ first hit of the ball game in the third inning, the outcome of the game could have very well been in the Dodgers’ favor.
He would have then faced Matt Carpenter in the fourth inning with no one on, and even if Carpenter would have gotten the same walk or picked up a hit, Carlos Beltran would have come to the plate with only one on instead of two, and the result of his at-bat would not have had as big of an impact at that point. The game may have ended after nine instead of going 13 and giving Beltran a chance to win it.
Kershaw pitched six innings in Game 2 and lost a tough 1-0 decision, and the one run scored wasn’t earned and wouldn’t have even been on the board had A.J. Ellis not allowed a passed ball that moved David Freese to third and in position to be score from a sacrifice fly. All Los Angeles needed to do that game was get a hit with a runner in scoring position instead of going 0-for-6 in those situations and they could have pulled out Game 2.
Ryu pitched wonderfully in Game 3 and even out-pitched Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. If the series goes seven, Ryu is going to have to do the same thing again.
Basically, St. Louis has the advantage right now, but all Los Angeles needs is the Cardinals to leave the door open just a crack. If they do, these three starting pitchers have shown the ability to kick it fully open and make this a series once again.