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The Cardinals are in the World Series. But if just one of any number of breaks had gone the other way, it could have been the Dodgers instead.
Craig has missed six weeks, but believes he could be a boon to the Cardinals as they seek a 12th World Series championship.
The Dodgers were excited before Game 6 of the NLCS, but the optimism quickly went away thanks to a barrage of hits from the Cardinals.
The Cardinals' outstanding rookie hurler has allowed a grand total of one run in 21 postseason innings.
The Cardinals took control with a four-run third inning against Clayton Kershaw and never looked back.
The Redbirds are three innings away from clinching their second trip to the World Series in three years.
The NLCS umps won't tolerate any more of Puig's antics, apparently.
A disastrous third inning for Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers has the Cardinals in control.
The Cardinals have stranded a pair of runners in scoring position through two innings.
While Cardinals starter Michael Wacha was finishing his pregame warmup tosses, Dodgers reserve outfielder Scott Van Slyke and Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly engaged in a last-man-standing staring contest. It seems the two remained in their places at the end of the singing of the National Anthem, waiting to see who'd be the first to leave the field.
After more than 12 minutes just standing there -- Van Slyke's teammates put a batting helmet on his head to help his case -- both players were forced to retreat to the dugout by home plate umpire Greg Gibson, who appeared none too pleased with the shenanigans and told them to get off the field so everyone else could play ball.
Looks like it's going to be a fun one in St. Louis.
It looks like Don Mattingly couldn't keep Hanley Ramirez's bat out of the Dodgers' lineup after all.
Yasiel Puig hits cleanup for the Dodgers, and Shane Robinson gets his first start of the postseason for the Cardinals.
Mattingly may split up left-handed hitters Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Either.
... or the St. Louis Cardinals. Or, at any rate, you shouldn't.
The Cardinals can seal a trip to the World Series with a victory on Friday night over the Dodgers.
The Dodgers stayed alive in the NLCS with the help of a bunch of home runs and a big double play.
A quartet of home runs and a solid effort from starter Zack Greinke helped send the NLCS back to St. Louis for a Game 6.
Things are always exciting when Yasiel Puig is on the field. The Cuban phenom has been mostly quiet in Game 5, but as he does, he found his way into the spotlight eventually. The spotlight, in this case, being the sun.
Matt Holliday hit a lazy fly ball to right to start the ninth, but Puig lost the ball on its way down:
The sun is brutal at this time of day at Chavez Ravine, so there's no much blame to be laid on Puig -- especially given that his shades were down. He did take his time getting to the ball once it landed, however, allowing Holliday to take second.
The Dodgers have a 5-2 lead headed into the eighth with set-up man Brian Wilson coming in.
St. Louis had opportunities to get to Zack Greinke early, but couldn't knock him out. The right-hander has now retired nine straight as the game heads to the seventh.
Held without a home run for the first four games of the NLCS, the Dodgers have broken out with two solo shots through five innings in Game 5. The latest came off the bat of left fielder Carl Crawford, giving Los Angeles a 4-2 lead heading into the sixth:
The dinger is Crawford's fourth of this postseason alone, which is one more than he had in 21 games of playoff experience before this October.
Adrian Gonzalez got the Dodgers off the homer snide in the third, launching a Mickey Mouse solo shot into the seats.
A solo blast from Adrian Gonzalez in the bottom of the third broke a 2-2 tie.
Well trolled, Adrian.
After mashing seven home runs in the division, the The Dodgers had none through the first four games of the NLCS. Well, now make that one for Adrian "Mickey Mouse" Gonzalez:
The Dodgers take a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
Zack Greinke easily retired his pitching counterpart Joe Kelly to start the inning, but then surrendered four straight hits. After a single from Matt Carpenter, postseason demigod Carlos Beltran got St. Louis on the board with an RBI triple off the wall in center:
This is the point where Dodgers fans gripe about having Ethier -- who rates as really bad defensively in right field when healthy -- playing center field injured. Matt Holliday followed Beltran's three-bagger with an extra-base hit of his own, hitting a laser off the left-center wall for a game-tying double.
Greinke eventually got out of the jam with his second double play of the day.
The Dodgers are out to an early two-run lead through two in Game 5. St. Louis had a great chance to take an early lead in the first, but couldn't break through against Zack Greinke, who helped his own cause with an RBI single.
Three batters into Game 5, it appeared that Dodgers starter Zack Greinke was headed for a very long day. A four-pitch walk book-ended by bloop singles put the right-hander in a bases-loaded, no-out crisis in the first inning of an elimination game -- the scenario of his worst nightmares, essentially.
The angle on the GIF doesn't illustrate it well, but the ball bounced just over third-base bag. An inch to the left, and the umpire probably would have called it a foul ball.
A hat tip to Adrian Gonzalez for making a nice dig on the receiving end at first.
The Cardinals could be the first team to earn a World Series berth in 2013 with a win Wednesday.
Ramirez is ailing, but wants to play as the Dodgers face elimination.
The Cardinals could become the first 2013 team to earn a spot in the World Series if they win Wednesday.
Delivering Game Four of the NLCS in GIF format.
The Cardinals will have three tries to capture their second World Series berth in three years after Tuesday's victory over the Dodgers.
Nick Punto could have been a hero, tagging Cardinals reliever Carlos Martinez for a one-out double in the bottom of the seventh inning. "Could have" is the operative phrase here. With the Dodgers down by a deuce, Punto took a large lead off of second base, and Martinez... well... we'll let the GIF tell the story:
Punto was punted from the basepaths quicker than he arrived there.
Shane Robinson's home run gives the Cardinals a two-run cushion.
Shane Robinson has hit exactly five home runs in 221 career regular season games. Shane Robinson had been 0-10 in the playoffs entering play Tuesday. Shane Robinson has a career 644 OPS.
Shane Robinson plays for the Cardinals, so Shane Robinson hit a home run to push the team's lead to two.
Sometimes, it's hard to believe the St. Louis Cardinals have not sold their collective souls to the devil.
The Dodgers were posing a threat to the Cardinals one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth inning with runners on first and second and one out. So the Cardinals brought in Seth Maness to relieve Lance Lynn and, on just his third pitch, Maness got a grounder that led to an inning-ending double-play.
Really, though. How do the Cardinals do it? Please pass the magical formula around, Cardinals. You are too lucky and too good, all the time. Let someone else use the toys every now and then.
The Dodgers got to Lance Lynn in the fourth inning and now trail by just one run.
Puig got the last laugh, though, delivering an RBI single to plate the Dodgers' first run of the game. The Cardinals now lead, 3-2, heading to the fifth inning.
And everything started so well for Dodgers starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco. He allowed just one walk over two innings, but a leadoff single and Matt Carpenter double brought home the first run of the game for the Cardinals.
Matt Holliday just added to the pain with a ball he absolutely crushed.
The Cardinals now lead 3-0. If St. Louis wins, they are one win from a World Series berth.
The Dodgers don't convert on a scoring opportunity in the second inning, but the Cardinals take advantage in the third.
Lance Lynn got into some trouble in the second, but struck out Ricky Nolasco to end the threat.
Apparently David Freese's leg injury isn't as bad as first thought. He's starting at third for the Cards.
It was rumored that Zack Greinke might start on short rest Tuesday, but it's Nolasco getting the nod.
Yasiel Puig was a little bit too excited for the Cardinals' liking after he hit a triple in the fourth inning of Monday's game.
Freese left Game 3 after straining his calf muscle, though he seems like a good bet to remain in the lineup moving forward.
Game 4 of the NLCS marks the first contest in the series in which no ace-level pitchers will be on the mound to start the game. Tune in anyway!
Nolasco has already been bumped from one Game 4 start this postseason, but is in line to start Tuesday's NLCS game.
Adam Wainwright isn't just right to call out Adrian Gonzalez for celebrating -- he nailed it by linking Gonzalez's disgusting decision to mildly enjoy a baseball accomplishment to one of America's most beloved cartoon characters.
The Dodgers got on the board in the NLCS behind a strong performance from their rookie starting pitcher.
Crawford initially stopped at third base but decided to head home after seeing Cards second baseman Kolten Wong with his back turned toward the infield. Wong threw the ball in to Daniel Descalso, who fired the ball home in time to get Crawford.
However, Crawford slid around Molina's tag, prompting the correct call from home plate umpire Mike Everitt.
Dodgers rookie Hyun-jin Ryu is outdueling Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in Los Angeles on Monday.
David Freese was replaced by Daniel Descalso after tweaking his ankle in the fifth inning.
The Dodgers had three extra-base hits off of Adam Wainwright in the fourth inning.
Hyun-jin Ryu hasn't been good early in games, but that hasn't been an issue thus far in Game 3.
Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier are both in the lineup for the Dodgers.
Los Angeles could opt to start aces Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw on short rest.
The Los Angeles Dodgers aren't sharing the results of the CT scan on their shortstop's ribs.
The Cardinals hope that Craig will be able to return if they reach the World Series.
The Dodgers are still planning to use Ricky Nolasco in Game 4 and Zack Greinke on normal rest in Game 5.
One more loss will put the Dodgers on the brink of elimination.
Ethier was not in the lineup for Game 2 after experiencing soreness following 13 innings of play in the first game of the NLCS.
Ramirez had x-rays taken at a hospital, but will have a CT scan Sunday.
Don Mattingly said Hanley Ramirez's X-rays came back negative. #Dodgers— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 12, 2013
The Dodgers, down 2-0 in the NLCS to the Cardinals, got a small piece of good news after Saturday's Game 2 loss in St. Louis. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez, scratched from the starting lineup with bruised ribs, was taken to a hospital during the game, and X-rays came back negative. He might play in Game 3 on Monday at Dodger Stadium.
The number of the day is three. As in, "strike three."
The Dodgers fail to capitalize on offensive opportunities and dug themselves a hole in St. Louis.
Both starters are now out of the contest.
The Cardinals finally break through against Clayton Kershaw.
Pitching is the name of the game today.
The Cardinals fail to cash in on an early opportunity to score.
Lynn will start despite pitching in relief on Friday.
Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez are out of the Dodgers lineup on Friday.
Carlos Beltran carried the Cardinals to a Game 1 victory, driving in all three of the team's runs and throwing out a runner at home in extra innings.
Craig hopes to contribute if the Cardinals make the World Series as a bench bat or designated hitter.
The Dodgers wasted a terrific start from one Cy Young winner on Friday and will send another one to the hill on Saturday.
Carlos Beltran did it all for the Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLCS.
Not surprisingly, Carlos Beltran was the hero for the Cardinals on Friday.
Don Mattingly did some more rally-killing, but the Dodgers' bullpen has picked up their skipper.
Carlos Beltran's bat tied the game for the Cardinals in the third. His arm kept it that way in the 10th.
Bunting and good defense killed the only real attempt at a rally we've seen in quite a while.
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig snared a line drive off the bat of David Freese and made an off-balance throw to first base to complete an inning-ending double play late in Game 1 of the NLCS against the Cardinals on Friday.
Tell me where you've seen that before.
Oh, that's right ... here:
... and, here:
Something tells me the latest one was a little more important.
It would be wrong if team came to mound to congratulate Greinke for getting Beltran out in October, but I'd understand.— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) October 12, 2013
The Dodgers were burned by a two-run double from postseason beast Carlos Beltran in Game 1 of the NLCS, Zack Greinke also got Beltran to tap back to the box in the sixth inning, which prompted this tweet from Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy
Zack Greinke is in control of the Cardinals' bats while Joe Kelly continues to pitch effectively against the Dodgers' offense.
In the bottom of the fifth, Greinke had to personally show Kelly who the better man is:
That's a 69-mph curveball from a guy who has been getting a ton of movement on his fastball en route to eight strikeouts through five innings. While it's not quite a Livan Hernandez-esque lob, that's a seriously slow curve.
A couple of savvy postseason veterans have put some runs on the board in Game 1 in St. Louis.
Joe Kelly and Zack Greinke are in an early pitchers' duel in St. Louis.
Andre Ethier draws his first start of the postseason for the Dodgers, and Pete Kozma earns another start for the Cardinals after a strong NLDS.
Two of baseball's most storied franchises face off for the chance to compete in the World Series.
The Cardinals are keeping the same roster for the NLCS, while the Dodgers swapped out a pair of pitchers.
The Dodgers are set to take on the St. Louis Cardinals in a best-of-seven series beginning Friday.
Ethier was relegated to pinch-hitting duties in the NLDS, but looks to be near full strength as the Dodgers postseason run continues.
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