photo by: http://www.sbnation.com
The St. Louis Cardinals are not strangers to the high-pressure NLCS (National League Championship Series).
St. Louis is playing in their third straight NLCS and to no avail, they look to be well on their way to a second World Series appearance in three years. The Cardinals have taken a convincing 2-0 series lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2013 NLCS.
Thanks to outstanding performances by outfielder Carlos Beltran in game 1 and rookie pitching sensation Michael Wacha in game 2, the red birds have recently found their groove!
Game 1 against the Dodgers was action-packed. Cardinals rookie pitcher Joe Kelly was up against Dodgers star Zach Greinke. Kelly was able to strike out five batters and received a big boost from the bat of Beltran. Beltran, who is regarded as one of the best postseason hitters in MLB history, drove in all three runs for the Cardinals, including a game-winning single in the 13th inning. St. Louis took that game by a score of 3-2.
Game 2 was a testament to the ability of the Cardinals to just flat out dominate the game with extraordinary pitching. Wacha was up against arguably the best pitcher in baseball in Clayton Kershaw. Wacha did not back down from the challenge. This 22-year-old gunslinger struck out nine Dodgers over 7.1 innings and led the Cardinals to a 1-0 shutout victory over a Dodgers team that is very hard to limit on offense.
St. Louis is used to this NLCS thing. It’s routine for them by now and they are clearly in the driver’s seat! Sure, the Dodgers are a great team but the Cardinals know exactly what it takes to get to the World Series. Can Kershaw and the gang find a way to stay alive to attempt a possible comeback or will St. Louis prove that experience is the key to victory? Both teams will fight to get to the next stage but right now, the Cardinals seem to have a little more fight in them because of timely pitching and hitting from both the young and old players on the ball club.