The first two games of the NLCS have been highlighted by dominant pitching performances, but both games have also been defined by missed opportunities, particularly for the Dodgers' offense. After the Cardinals spoiled a strong effort by Zach Greinke in Game 1, the Dodgers turned to 2011 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw to be the stopper.
Kershaw turned in a dazzling pitching line, allowing just two hits and one run through six innings on just 72 pitches. However, the lone blemish on Kershaw's line, which came off a Jon Jay sac fly to drive in David Freese, proved to be his undoing as the Los Angeles offense again failed to come through. St. Louis held on to win, 1-0, to take a 2-0 lead in the NLCS.
Michael Wacha dominated the Dodgers lineup for 6 2/3 innings, though there were some chinks in his armor. He allowed Los Angeles to load the bases in the sixth inning with just one out, but facing the middle of the Dodgers' lineup, Wacha proceeded to strike out Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe to snuff out LA's hopes.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, hoping to cash in on Nick Punto's two-out single in the seventh, lifted Clayton Kershaw, who had only thrown 72 pitches, for pinch-hitter Michael Young. Though a pair of wild pitches from Kevin Siegrist moved Punto to third base, Young again failed to come through for Los Angeles, flying out to end the inning.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny went into mix-and-match mode in the eighth inning, using Randy Choate to take care of Carl Crawford, then bringing in Carlos Martinez to strike out Mark Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez.
Matheny then turned to the fireballing Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth inning, and the 23-year-old struck out the side to end the game.
This was just the second time in 30 chances this year the Dodgers have lost back to back games started by Kershaw and Zack Greinke. The duo has started five playoff games this year, combining for a 1.36 ERA with 36 strikeouts against six walks, yet the Dodgers are 2-3 in those games.