The 2013 MLB playoffs have provided thrills at every turn, as teams from both leagues have struck with heroics. On Friday, Oct. 18, the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals will meet in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series in a game that could end one team's season.
Here's how you can watch one of the biggest games of the year.
|Game||Date||Road Team||Home Team||Time (ET)||TV|
|1||Friday, Oct. 11||Dodgers (2)||Cardinals (3)||N/A||N/A|
|2||Saturday, Oct. 12||Dodgers (0)||Cardinals (1)||N/A||N/A|
|3||Monday, Oct. 14||Cardinals (0)||Dodgers (3)||N/A||N/A|
|4||Tuesday, Oct. 15||Cardinals (4)||Dodgers (2)||N/A||N/A|
|5||Wednesday, Oct. 16||Cardinals (4)||Dodgers (6)||N/A||N/A|
|6||Friday, Oct. 18||Dodgers||Cardinals||8:30 p.m.||TBS|
|7 (if necessary)||Saturday, Oct. 19||Dodgers||Cardinals||8:30 p.m.||TBS|
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
In 2009, Clayton Kershaw burst onto the scene with a 9-8 record and a 2.79 ERA for the lowly Dodgers. Four seasons later, that would be viewed as an underwhelming season for the ace from Dallas, Texas.
Truth be told, L.A. couldn't have asked for a better back-against-the-wall situation than this.
Kershaw started 33 games in 2013, going 16-9 with a 1.84 ERA, 232 strikeouts, a WHIP of 0.82 and a WAR of 7.86. Per ESPN, Kershaw had the fourth-highest WAR of any player in MLB and the No. 1 mark among all pitchers.
Kershaw also led all National League pitchers in ERA, strikeouts and WHIP in 2013. Is there anything to say other than "Cy Young?"
Prior to 2013, Kershaw struggled in the postseason, allowing 10 earned runs in 15.1 innings pitched. In 2013, the left-handed strikeout machine has gone 19.0 innings in three starts, allowing one total earned run to redeem himself.
I'm not sure if it's possible to pitch any better than Kershaw does.
Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals
Michael Wacha of the St. Louis Cardinals has been the most pleasant surprise of the 2013 playoffs. He's gone from a 22-year-old pitcher on the rise to an ace in the Cardinals' relatively deep starting rotation.
If you don't believe me, check the numbers.
In two postseason starts, Wacha is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 14.0 innings pitched. He shined when St. Louis defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1, and when the Cardinals defeated L.A. 1-0, he proved that he doesn't need too much run support to take over.
Wacha can create his legacy early by going toe-to-toe with Kershaw in an elimination game and prevailing.
During the regular season, Wacha made nine starts and 15 appearances, going 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 64.2 innings. He'd flashed this upside before, but until the postseason actually rolled around, Wacha was just another promising name.
Now, he's pitching in the biggest game of the Cardinals' and Dodgers' respective seasons.
Wacha is going to be an excellent pitcher in MLB and may have enough left in the tank to toss another gem. Unfortunately, the biggest start of his young career is coming against the top pitcher in the National League.
Which team will win?
This is the stage on which legends are born, and I'll be quicker to bet on Kershaw joining the ranks of the legendary than Wacha—or any other pitcher, for that matter.
Kershaw has been surgical with his pitches this season, and he hasn't flashed any signs of slowing down in the NLCS. He tossed 6.0 innings without a single earned run allowed during Game 2, and with L.A. facing elimination, he can be expected to do it again.
Busch Stadium will be loud, and the Dodgers will need to be healthy to pull out a win, but this is a story we've heard before. Wacha may match Kershaw for the most part, but when the game is one the line, there isn't a single player L.A. would rather have with the ball in his hands.
Kershaw stars and forces Game 7.
Dodgers 3, Cardinals 1