With a win Thursday afternoon the St. Louis Cardinals will reach their seventh MLB NLCS since the beginning of the century. After an offseason that saw future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols put St. Louis in the rearview, the Cardinals have done nothing but regroup and produce with new talent. St. Louis has scored 20 runs in the last 18 innings against Washington Nationals pitching and have a 2-1 series lead heading into Thursdays contest.
All-Star SP Chris Carpenter looked like his old dominant self on Wednesday afternoon as he tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings, thus cementing his tenth career postseason win. All systems are go here in October for the Cardinals, stop me if you have heard that before. Mike Mattheny cannot be commended enough for the job he has done in this his inaugural season as a Manger in the MLB.
New names are on the rise for the Cardinals yet again. SS Pete Kozma, a first round pick in 2007, became the first rookie shortstop to homer in a postseason game since Troy Tulowitski in 2007 with a three run blast Wednesday afternoon. Kyle Lohse is the probable starter for St. Louis in the elimination game on Thursday. Lohse led the MLB in winning percentage from a starting pitcher (.842), the Cardinals can only hope the 16 game winner can pick up one more.
All hope is not lost in Washington. With their backs up against the wall, Manager Davey Johnson has to find a way for this young team to stifle the red hot St. Louis bats. The Nationals last gasp is in the hands of SP Ross Detwiler. A ten game winner, Detwiler has found a safe haven inside Nationals Park this season as proven by his impressive 2.59 home era.
With Edwin Jackson getting roughed up in Wednesdays outing and the Nationals one win away from elimination, the question that will be heard all offseason is starting to get louder, “What if Stephen Strasburg was in the equation?”. At the end of the day the Washington Nationals won 97 games this year and winning two straight home games is not out of the question, however the momentum has shifted the World Champs way.