Regular Articles

Cardinals vs. Pirates

Game 4 was the Michael Wacha show.  

It’s been a hell of a season for Wacha, who dazzled during Spring Training but didn’t make the team out of the gate.  But last night he started the Cardinals' most important game of the year and left every Cardinals fan doing their best imitation of the Muppets Fozzie bear (he’s the one who went Wacha-Wacha-Wacha)

As Fozzie used to say "Wacha, Wacha, Wacha"
Photo by Paul Coles, used under creative commons license.
And that’s something that Cardinals fans hope to be shouting during the NL Championship Series and even the World Series.  And why not?  Wacha has yielded a grand total of two hits in his last two starts.   

Last night’s show against the Pirates was a dazzling display of just what this youngster could become in a year or two.  For 7 1/3 innings Wacha held the Bucs to just a single hit, that a home run by Pedro Alvarez.  After that and a walk, the bullpen continued his fine work, allowing not another hit the whole day.

It was just enough because while the Pirates were limited to one hit, the Cardinals were limited to just three of them.  Luckily for them one of them was a home run by Matt Holliday right after a Carlos Beltran walk.

And if you were one of those who didn’t realize that the Pirates' Charlie Morton could pitch that well, join the club.  I’m not sure that even Charlie knew he could, and he deserved a better fate after one of his best efforts of the season.

It sets up what looks to be an interesting match up in Game 5.  The Cards will throw their ace Adam Wainwright, and the Pirates will put the hurler who best tied up St. Louis in this series, Gerrit Cole.  It will be a classic matchup, a rookie against the veteran for all the marbles.  Cole gets the call both because A.J Burnett was creamed in Game 1 of the series, and Burnett basically seems to get lit up every single time he starts in St. Louis.

It should be a must-watch game.

Dodgers vs. Braves
And goodbye Atlanta.

The Dodger juggernaut keeps on rolling and it was the Atlanta Braves who got crushed under the wheels.  But this one wasn’t a blowout like Games 1 or 3.  The Braves had a chance to win and probably should have won.  They managed to score two unearned runs off Clayton Kershaw, who pitched on three days rest,  and went into the eighth inning with a one-run lead.

Problem is that the Dodgers can hit, and they have a lineup loaded with offensive monsters. But it wasn’t one of them who did in the Braves.  The unlikely hero was Juan Uribe, the guy who gets no press in a lineup full of superstars and who hit the two-run homer that gave the Dodgers the final lead they’d need in this series.  

Of course Carl Crawford provided the other half of the Dodgers offense, belting two solo home runs.   So I guess that star power did contribute in Game 4.  Still it's always a good sign for a playoff team when the unsung players can turn into heroes when the big guys fail to get the job done.

Now they’ll have a few days to rest and recover while waiting for the winner of the Cards-Pirates series.   And the Braves will go home and wonder how much they got beaten by the Dodgers and how much of this series was about how the beat themselves.