NLCS Game 6 Preview: Series Moves Back to St. Louis

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Dodgers, once again, face elimination

In a rematch of Game 2 starters, the Cardinals and Dodgers likely will stage another pitchers' duel.

In a rematch of Game 2 pitchers, Michael Wacha of St. Louis and Clayton Kershaw of Los Angeles, it’s difficult to foresee anything more than a good old-fashioned pitchers’ duel. In Game 2, Kershaw pitched around a leadoff triple in the first inning, and Wacha avoided a big inning in the sixth when he struck out Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe with the bases loaded, preserving the shutout. There will be few scoring opportunities, and the team that capitalizes with a run or two will likely win.

Keys for Los Angeles
Maintaining a one-game-at-a-time approach. There is no tomorrow without a win tonight. Patience at the plate could be key. They must force Wacha to make multiple pitches and not miss what few mistakes he might make.

Keys for St. Louis
Getting back to St. Louis should be a lift for the Redbirds, but having to win just one of two could cause them to lose a sense of urgency, something the Dodgers will have no trouble finding. The Cardinals must also forget losing three straight to San Francisco last season. Again, playing at home this year should give St. Louis an edge it didn’t have in 2012.

Dodgers to Watch
Second baseman Mark Ellis has been under the radar all series. In addition to playing solid defense, he has been gritty at the plate. He singled in the first inning off of Wacha in Game 2 after a seven-pitch at-bat. He saw 15 pitches from the Cardinals’ young righthander in his first three plate appearances, and seems to be locked in on Wacha.

Cardinals to Watch
In the next two games, the Cardinals could really use some production from Matt Adams. The big lefty-swinging first baseman is 2-for-14 off lefthanders in the postseason with no extra-base hits. Lefthanders Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu (if the series goes seven games) will not hesitate to pitch around righthanders in order to make Adams beat them.

Key Stats
There were a scant seven hits total and just one run (unearned) in the entire game when these two pitchers opposed one another in Game 2…In that game, the teams combined to use eight pitchers…The Cardinals were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, the Dodgers 0-for-6…After going 5-for-10 in the Game 5 loss, the Cardinals now sit at .310 with runners in scoring position in this series…The Dodgers are batting .216 in those situations…In 17 at-bats each in this series, Yadier Molina, David Freese and Andre Ethier have no RBIs.

 

National League Championship Series – Game 6
Los Angeles at St. Louis
8:07 ET TBS
Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83) vs. Michael Wacha (4-1, 2.78)

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