NLDS GAME 4: Strikeout
The Cardinals, while eyeing up a swift NLDS victory over the Washington Nationals, unfortunately took their eye off the ball. Three measly hits and ten strikeouts behind a dominant Kyle Lohse doomed them to a late-game shootout, where one swing of the bat could win it for the Nationals. That’s exactly what happened, as Jayon Werth’s ninth-inning home run forced a decisive game five. Can the Cardinals come back from this devastating 2-1 loss?
SHOW HIM THE MONEY: Kyle Lohse looked every bit the ace starter who carried the team into the postseason. Lohse was stingy, allowing just two hits over seven innings (one of the hits was a solo home run to Adam LaRoche). He gave the Cardinals every chance to win this game, but the offense went cold (again). Still, Lohse’s performance will guarantee him big returns in the off season.
THREE HITTER: Tip your cap to Ross Detwiler, who came out ready to deny the Cardinals a clinch. The Nationals’ bullpen also did incredible work, striking out six in a row at one point. Home plate umpire Jim Joyce helped their cause with a strike zone as large as Brandon Phillips‘ ego (oh, they lost by the way!). The Matt Holliday strikeout was especially bad in this regard, as he took three straight strikes that were not even close to the strike zone. Still, the Nationals’ staff really stepped up when they needed some stoppers.
INEVITABLE: Going into the ninth, a bad feeling began to develop. The Cardinals seemed to have no traction, while the Nationals and their fans seemed to gain momentum. Then Werth stepped to the plate and fouled off 13 pitches above 95 mph from Lance Lynn, and the bad feeling really began to grow. I’ve watched enough baseball to know that these kinds of developments usually have bad outcomes. And it did. On Lynn’s 14th pitch – a belt-high fastball on the inner half – Werth slammed it over the fence for the game-winner. A sick way to lose.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Lohse, obviously.
CONCLUSION: This was a pitcher’s duel, and until the final pitch both teams fought valiantly. The Nationals deserve this win; they earned it. Tomorrow night will determine the winner of this well-fought series. The Cardinals have already survived one sudden-death game this season … can they do it again?