Not in the wildest dreams or darkest nightmares.
There will be no 25th anniversary return to the
The Cardinals did more little things, made less mistakes, were more clutch at the plate and out-pitched the Dodgers. And whether you believe the Dodgers have the more talented roster, it was clear by the time the series was over, they were not the better team.
The Dodgers finished with two hits, two errors, three wild pitches, a pair of wild throws from right-fielder
And for the second consecutive game, the Dodgers could not come close to figuring out rookie right-hander
All while Kershaw was experiencing his worst outing in years. It must have felt like an out-of-body experience for the left-hander.
His demise began with an 11-pitch at-bat to
The floodgates cracked and then burst open. Kershaw was clearly not in top form, and the Cardinals capitalized without mercy.
They scored four times in the third, Kershaw needing 48 pitches to get out of the inning. They scored five more times in a disastrous fifth inning and suspense had taken an early night off.
Here is an inning-by-inning recap of Game 6 of the NLCS:
Cardinals 9, Dodgers 0 (middle of ninth, final):
Closer Trevor Rosenthal completed the mercy killing, retiring the Dodgers in order to set off a party under the arch.
The Dodgers did not get a hit after the sixth. Their last 12 were retired in order. After seeing their ace go down, they had no fight left.
They're in official countdown mode now.
Three outs and the Dodgers can start planning for their season opener in Sydney.
Carlos Martinez, yet another of the Cardinals' cast of hard-throwing youngsters, took over to start the eight. And not to change things up, he retired the Dodgers in order.
The Dodgers are down to their final three outs.
Even the Cardinals seem in a hurry to get this over now.
He did not allow the Dodgers to score in 13 2/3 innings of his two series victories over
He retired the Dodgers in order again has allowed only two hits and a walk through seven.
It's all over but the moaning.
Well, the Dodgers did get a hit,
Yet despite the leadoff double, the Dodgers could never advance him from second.
There are no mercy killings in baseball.
It's all getting away from the Dodgers, inning by inning, play by play. And there will be no
It's a blowout now, all that's left is for the Cardinals to get the last 12 outs.
And in the biggest outing of his career, Kershaw was lifted in the fourth inning for the first time all season.
With the infield in, Belisario got Wacha to bounce to
It was 9-0 and the Dodgers had one hit.
The Dodgers are going down quickly.
Right now, there is no sense that the Dodgers are going to come back in this one.
And for something really different,
Unlike his disastrous 48-pitch third inning, the fourth took him just 10 pitches.
Has the air gone out of the Dodgers? Has to be tough watching your best pitcher suffer the worst inning of his season at exactly the wrong time.
The Dodgers got a leadoff walk from
That bottom of the third was the first time all season a team batted around against
Matt Carprenter's gritty at-bat,
It added up to an inning that may haunt the Dodgers for a long time.
The left-handed hitting Carpenter had an 11-pitch at-bat -- fouling off eight pitches -- before hitting a one-out double. Clayton Kershaw being unable to put him away would prove costly.
Beltran singled just over the glove of diving second baseman
But Puig, doing exactly the thing the Dodgers feared he would in the playoffs, threw needlessly to the plate, even though he had no chance to get Carpenter. Beltran alertly kept running to second on the brain cramp.
Which proved significant when
Things spiraled out of control for Kershaw when he gave up a two-run single to
Kershaw struck out right-hander
There may not be any shadows tonight like in Game 2, but it's not helping the Dodgers to figure out rookie
This game is starting to look very familiar.
After getting the first two outs,
He gave up a two-out single to
Zershaw pitched out of the trouble by striking out Pete Kozma.
All the attention has been on Ramirez battling his
Next comes the first look at
The Dodgers failed to score against
The Dodgers must have found some magic potion, or something, because now
Ramirez was originally scratched, though Manager
"If something would change before game time, we'd switch up. All of a sudden he's trying to do things and he could get loose, he may be in there. But I don't anticipate that."
Maybe Ramirez is trying to do a Willis Reed, but the Dodgers best watch him closely. This is not something they'd want to blow up on them, what with their season only on the line.
Ramirez is back at shortstop and batting cleanup.
The Dodgers understandably have always seemed a more confident team with
“If he’s healthy the whole season, he’s the league MVP,” said
But it's Punto no Ramirez in the Dodgers lineup at shortstop as they attempt to avoid elimination in tonight's Game 6 in St. Louis, not Ramirez.
Ramirez has succumbed to the broken rib he suffered in the opener. Given that his swing has hardly been the same since, it seems the smart decision, even though Manager
"I expected (with) yesterday off and kind of a full day today, that he'd be a little better," Mattingly said. "But I think maybe the lack of activity, (it) may even have just gotten stiffer or tighter. He didn't really say anything like that. Just more that he feels worse today than did he yesterday."
Mattingly was unsure if Ramirez might get his side loose enough for him to be able to pinch hit later in the game.
Meanwhile, Friday offers a rematch between
"I think these are the games you want to play," Mattingly said. "Your guys get excited. You've worked all year long for this. Kershaw and Wacha obviously, this is a cool matchup. These are two quality guys going at it. Two teams that want to move on."
With Ramirez out, Mattingly moved rookie
St. Louis Manager Mike Matheny made one lineup change, moving
"The thought process really is to try and get some more offense if we can," Matheny said. "It's no secret how effective Kershaw has been against left-handed hitters and he's a tough assignment."