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Blog Entry

NLCS Game 5: Cardinals' backs against the wall

Posted on: October 14, 2011 3:19 am
Edited on: October 14, 2011 4:31 pm
 


By C. Trent Rosecrans

Brewers at Cardinals, 8:05 p.m. ET, Busch Stadium, St. Louis. Series tied, 2-2.

ST. LOUIS -- With Thursday's Brewers victory, this much we know for sure, the NLCS will be headed back to Milwaukee. That simple fact makes Game 5 bigger game for the Cardinals, who would certainly like to go to Milwaukee up a game instead of on the verge of elimination.

"We want to be 3-2 going into Miller Park and not having to win two games over there. It's a big game, we've got Jaime (Garcia) on the mound. We're going to come ready to play," St. Louis infielder Nick Punto said. "It's one of those teams that we play pretty good with our backs against the wall and our backs are against the wall again -- we'll see what happens."

Milwaukee, it has been beat into the ground by now, had baseball's best home record. The Cardinals, though, were 4-5 at Miller Park this season, not a winning record, but pretty good against a team that only lost 24 home games all season. And St. Louis also split with the Milwaukee in the series' first two games.

"We've been in this situation. It's the best out of three," Albert Pujols said. "We want to win (Friday) and then we go to Milwaukee. But one thing we can look at is that we're pretty much the on in the team in the National League that played pretty well in Milwaukee. We need to flip the page, hopefully take the lead (Friday) and go to Milwaukee and win."

WHO HAS THE EDGE?

 

This is a tough one -- I usually just go on the pitching matchup, and even that is problematic. In the end, although Garcia has been very good at home this year and Zack Greinke has struggled in the playoffs and on the road, Greinke's the better pitcher. Garcia can be very good, and he's one of the best young pitchers in the game. Greinke, though, can be the best in baseball at times. The 2009 Cy Young Award winner has struggled in the playoffs thus far, but the potential to shut down a team -- even one as explosive as St. Louis -- is there. 

Brewers' Zack Greinke: Greinke wanted out of Kansas City so he could pitch in the playoffs. The Brewers wanted him not only to help them get to the playoffs, but also to have a no-doubt No. 1 starter if they got to the playoffs. But it hasn't worked out that way. The Brewers have won both of his playoff starts, but Greinke's hardly been impressive in his two starts.

In his first playoff start, Greinke allowed eight hits and four runs in five innings, but did strike out seven Diamondbacks in Game 2 of the NLDS. He was back for Game 1 of the NLCS, allowing six earned runs on eight hits in six innings, but getting massive backing from his offense to earn the victory over Garcia.

"In all honesty, it's just another game… kind of," Greinke said Thursday when asked about his playoff experience. "I thought it might be a lot different, but it's really just a normal game, and you just get as ready as you can and do what you can. The first two games, I've given ups one runs, but I've been really happy with how I've pitched. So (Friday), I'm just going to do what I can do, and if I throw good, I'll be happy."

Cardinals' Jaime Garcia: Like Greinke, Garcia's been much better at his own ballpark, going 9-4 with a  2.55 ERA at Busch Stadium and a 4-3 record with a 4.61 ERA. In Game 1, he gave up six runs on six hits in just four innings before giving way to the Cardinals' bullpen. But that was at Miller Park.

"Obviously I like pitching here, but I don't really feel any different on the road," Garcia said. "I just feel like a lot of this throughout the year, a lot of the times where I've pitched on the road, it's just one of those things don't go your way, but I've had some good games on the road and then some not very good at home. So I can't really answer your question, because to me, it's all the same. Obviously, I like pitching at home -- you have the fans, you can sleep in your own bed. But other than that, to me it's the same. I just try to see it as any other game and then prepare yourself for that specific game."

His career home/road splits also show that Garcia's much better at home. He's 16-9 with a 2.37 in 35 appearances at home and 11-7 with a  4.28 ERA in 35 road appearances.

"If you want Jaime to pitch, this is where you want him to take the ball," Pujols said.

LINEUPS

Brewers Cardinals
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Corey Hart RF 1 Rafael Furcal SS
2 Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B 2 Jon Jay CF
3 Ryan Braun LF 3 Albert Pujols 1B
4 Prince Fielder 1B 4 Lance Berkman RF
5 Rickie Weeks 2B 5 Matt Holliday LF
6 Yuniesky Bentancourt SS 6 David Freese 3B
7 Carlos Gomez CF 7 Yadier Molina C
8 Jonathan Lucroy C 8 Nick Punto 2B
9 Zack Greinke RHP 9 Jaime Garcia LHP

NOTES

  • Since the seven-game LCS format was introduced in 1985, only 14 of the 52 series have been tied at two after four games. Of the previous 13 LCS tied at two, six have gone seven games and the other seven have gone six games.
  • David Freese's eight-game postseason hitting streak is the longest for a Cardinal since Scott Rolen hit in 10 straight games in 2006. Freese was 2 for 4 in Game 4.
  • The Brewers' last road victory in the playoffs was on Oct. 12, 1982, at old Busch Stadium in Game 1 of the 1982 World Series.
  • Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun has reached base safely in the first inning in each of the team's last eight postseason games, becoming the first player to do so in eight straight games. Gary Sheffield reached safely in seven straight in 1997 for the Marlins.
  • Francisco Rodriguez has no allowed an earned run in eight career LCS relief appearances. He allowed two unearned runs in Game 5 of the 2005 ALCS for the Angels against Chicago.
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Comments

Since: Oct 13, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 8:15 pm
 

NLCS Game 5: Cardinals' backs against the wall

***GET IN BEAST MODE***

Let's Go Brewers by P.U.N. Official Anthem 2011 Postseason NLCS NLDS WORLD SERIES

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9z-nRoO6OQk



Since: Nov 24, 2006
Posted on: October 14, 2011 7:02 pm
 

NLCS Game 5: Cardinals' backs against the wall

Im not sure I understand how they would loose game 5. Are they Footloose? or loose in pregame? or are their cups loose?



Since: Mar 9, 2008
Posted on: October 14, 2011 5:21 pm
 

NLCS Game 5: Cardinals' backs against the wall

Brewers fan here...I disagree...if it is the Brewers in the W.S., i'd call it 50/50 bet against either A.L. team.  Brewers were awful against the AL in interleague play this year, but thanks to Fielder's all star game home run, they'll have the home field advantage.



Since: Oct 14, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 4:09 pm
 

NLCS Game 5: Cardinals' backs against the wall

Whoever comes out of this series will GO ON to win the world series.....anyone agree?????



Since: Apr 2, 2007
Posted on: October 14, 2011 8:05 am
 

NLCS Game 5: Cardinals' backs against the wall

So, what you are saying is if the Cards score more runs, they will win?  Genious plan. The Brewers need to jump on  that strategy.



Since: Sep 21, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 7:01 am
 

NLCS Game 5: Cardinals' backs against the wall

I don't know if I would say the Cards backs are against the wall here. If they would happen to loose game 5, it's not like they haven't won two games in a row in Milwaukee before. Granted, it would be alot easier to go into Milwaukee having to win only one game, but if the unthinkable happens and they drop Fridays game 5, I'm sure they would still feel confident in being able to take the series heading back to Milwaukee.
 Greinke has been nothing short of shakey in the post season, and hopefuly the Cards can take advantage if this is the case on Friday. If Garcia can shut the Crew down at home, it would make it a much easier road for the Cards to take game 5 and then go to Milwaukee to close it out.


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