MLB Playoffs 2011: 5 Reasons to Expect a St. Louis Cardinals Win in Game 3
After dropping Game 1 in Milwaukee, the Cardinal offense exploded for 12 runs in a Game 2 victory to send the series to St. Louis in a 1-1 tie.
Former Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter will challenge 25-year-old Yovani Gallardo in Game 3.
Here are the five reasons you can expect St. Louis to take a 2-1 series lead.
Chris Carpenter's Dominance of Milwaukee at Busch Stadium
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. That's how one could define Chris Carpenter's performance against the Milwaukee Brewers this season.
At Miller Park, the Brewers lit up Carpenter for 10 runs in 11 innings. However, Game 3 will be played in St. Louis—at Busch Stadium, where Carpenter dominated Milwaukee.
In two home starts, Carpenter allowed just two runs in 17 innings. The former Cy Young winner tossed a four-hit shutout in his most recent appearance against the Brewers.
A few Brewers have solid career numbers against Carpenter. Rickie Weeks has six hits in 10 at bats, Yuniesky Betancourt is 4-for-9 and Prince Fielder has two home runs and a .308 batting average. There's also a chance that Mark Kotsay, who is 4-for-11 against Carpenter, will start.
Although the aforementioned Brewers have hit Carpenter in the past, you should still expect a very strong Game 3 from Carpenter, who is fresh off a shutout of Philadelphia.
Yovani Gallardo's Vulnerability to the Long Ball at Busch Stadium
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In three 2011 starts at Busch Stadium, Yovani Gallardo surrendered four home runs to four different Cardinals. John Jay, Matt Holliday, Rafael Furcal and, of course, Albert Pujols all went yard.
All four were solo shots, so Gallardo cannot take a casual approach with the bases empty.
With the exception of Miller Park, Gallardo didn't allow more than two home runs in any other stadium.
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Albert Pujols is off to a torrid start in the NLCS, hitting .556 with a homer, three doubles and five RBI. If his career numbers against Yovani Gallardo indicate anything, Pujols' bat should stay hot.
The three-time MVP owns a .444 average with four round-trippers against Milwaukee's ace.
With Carpenter on the hill, one clutch Pujols hit could be all the Cardinals need to take a 2-1 series lead.
Cardinals' Top Half of the Order
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Yovani Gallardo will have his hands full with the top half of Tony LaRussa's batting order.
Rafael Furcal, St. Louis' leadoff hitter, enters Game 3 with five hits—including a homer—in 12 at-bats against Gallardo.
Although John Jay is just 3-for-13 against Milwaukee's workhorse, he also has a homer off the ace.
Pujols' success was already documented in the previous slide and Lance Berkman holds a .296 batting average against Gallardo.
Matt Holliday is just 4-for-18, but two of the four hits are home runs.
If St. Louis' 1-5 hitters continue their success against Gallardo, the Cardinals should take Game 3.
Milwaukee's Sub-Par Road Record
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Milwaukee had the best home-field advantage in 2011, posting a 57-24 record at Miller Park. However, the Brewers are inexplicably a much worse team on the road.
Eight non-playoff teams fared better on the road than the Brewers, who went 39-42 away from home. Milwaukee is already 0-2 in road playoff games.
In nine games at Busch Stadium, Milwaukee went 4-5—it's not a death sentence, but it's not favorable given Milwaukee's road woes.