Cards Push Washington To Edge

Its inevitable when October baseball shows up, the stars who strive in these postseason moments come to life, ready to clash with another run at history.

I don’t think its some odd coincidence David Freese, Allen Craig, and Carlos Beltran are leading the offensive prowl for St. Louis. Freese has a knack for the clutch, just remember one year ago when he rewrote the history books with 21 RBI in a single postseason. Allen Craig led all of MLB hitting .403 with RISP this season. He also had 4 HR, 8 RBI, and 9 runs scored during the 2011 run. Everyone remembers Carlos Beltran in 2004, and 2006…Not even a knee buckling curveball can erase his record 8 HR in 2004. He has 13 HR in 26 postseason games.

Collecting his first win since Game 7 of the World Series, Chris Carpenter bulldogged through Game 3. He allowed 7 hits, creatively scattered throughout his 5.2 IP, but none clutch enough to score a run. Jim Kaat noted in the 1st inning after Carp threw over 20 pitches, it allowed him to develop a feel for all of his pitches, and he made great ones when they counted. Washington did not get a hit in eight plate appearances against Carpenter with runners in scoring position.

Speaking of Kaat, how strong was the broadcast on MLB Network with Bob Costas behind the microphone. True baseball man. His historical perspective paired with brilliant vocabulary and knowledge of the game creates a classic feeling. Plus, we didn’t listen to Dick Stockton botch names or Brian Anderson talk about the Milwaukee Brewers.

So the Nationals are pushed to the brink of elimination at home, where Stephen Strasburg, er, Ross Detwiler has the privilege of pitching against a peaking Cardinals offense. I hope Mike Rizzo’s decision blows up, and Washington will forever think twice about “resting” their ace. I would cut off any affiliation with this team if I were a fan.

The Cardinals will counter with Kyle Lohse, who built some confidence among everybody after winning the Wild Card game in Atlanta. Lohse has not pitched well against Washington in 2012, but the team did win 10-9 in his September start at Nationals Park.

Some quick thoughts on the series so far….
1) This series should be over. The Cardinals blew a million chances in Game 1 to put the game out of hand. Now they must win one of the next two on the road. Despite two consecutive wins, the offense left chances on the table in Game 3. They could have easily scored 15 runs in this game had they executed better situational hitting.

2) The Nationals bullpen has been a joke. 14 total hits in 15 innings pitched, allowing 15 runs. Yikes.
Meanwhile the St. Louis bullpen is back to old form. Trevor Rosenthal looks like the 2011 version of Lance Lynn.

3) Saw someone write this on Twitter…Wizard Of Koz. Well, Pete needs some defensive gems to even start that discussion. His defense is questionable. But WOW what a huge home run.

4) The team just has swag right now. Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman told MLB Network, “nobody wants St. Louis in the NLCS.” Well, Washington is currently finding out why. A potent lineup, solid starting pitching, and flame throwers in the bullpen. What’s not to like?

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