Cardinals vs. Brewers: Milwaukee Still Leads Into The Ninth Inning

Gee, that's odd. Tony La Russa has used four different relievers to pitch the last 3⅔ innings. Expect a Baseball Nation exclusive about that on the front page tomorrow.

The reliever he chose for the top of the eighth was Fernando Salas, who was the closer for a bit this year:


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Fernando Salas 5-6 68 0 0 0 24 6 75.0 50 20 19 7 21 75 2.28 .95


The curvy little number under the BS column gives you an idea why he isn't a closer any more, but he had a fantastic season out of the bullpen for the Cardinals. Between Octavio Dotel, Jason Motte, and Salas, the Cardinals' relief corps is a legitimate strength in October. Remember this is a team that started the year with Ryan Franklin blowing saves. 

On the other side, the Brewers have the luxury (a really pricey one) of going to Francisco Rodriguez in the eighth. K-Rod is still a goofball, but he's probably overqualified for the setup role. His first task was retiring Albert Pujols -- who hit into the right-handed shift that Ron Roenicke loves to employ -- and after a David Freese single, Matt Holliday grounded to third, with a great scoop from Prince Fielder to complete the play for the second out.

Yadier Molina made the final out of the eighth by striking out on a slider in the dirt, and the Cardinals are down to three outs. All that stand between them and a comeback is a man with a silly mustache -- always a tough thing to overcome. 

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