Dodgers vs. Cardinals: Clayton Kershaw Will Push L.A. Past Redbirds
Rookie sensation Michael Wacha has been amazing for the St. Louis Cardinals over the last two months, but with the Los Angeles Dodgers' postseason hopes on the line, Dodger Nation would be wise to believe in Clayton Kershaw.
The man who deserves to be named the National League Cy Young Award winner will prove he's the newest big-game pitcher in the Senior Circuit.
In Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, Wacha outdueled Kershaw 1-0, but it could be argued Kershaw was the sharpest in defeat. Through six innings, the Dodgers' ace allowed just two hits and one unearned run before the bullpen took over.
Wacha didn't give up a run, but he did allow five hits. Though he was strong, the Dodgers had their opportunities; they simply didn't capitalize on them.
L.A. left six men on base and were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. If the heart of the 1927 New York Yankees' lineup was called Murderers' Row, the Dodgers' three, four and five hitters should have been called the Saintly Trio.
Who will allow the fewest earned runs in Game 6?
Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe did no harm to Wacha and the Cardinals. They were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and 0-for-11 with a whopping nine strikeouts overall.
The chances the middle of the Dodgers order is this bad again on Friday is slim.
Per Arash Markazi of ESPN.com, both Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier are expected to play for the Dodgers. Their presence—though neither one may be at 100 percent—will give L.A's attack a boost.
Wacha is the real deal and it would be foolish to expect him to implode in Game 6. However, things aligned nicely for he and the Cards in Game 2. That won't happen again on Friday.
As for Kershaw, he's become the type of ace who you can almost bet on allowing two or less runs in these types of clutch situations. In his three 2013 postseason starts, the 25-year-old has allowed just one earned run.
He'll be tough to hit again on Friday, and behind his arm the Dodgers will force a Game 7.
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