Columnists and reporters from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch will be sharing their views with Times readers during the
ST. LOUIS —
Playoff baseball is typically a four-hour stage production.
Pitchers perform arias. Hitters give elaborate at-bats complicated by preening between pitches.
Wacha and Dodgers left-hander
Wacha, who technically outlasted the Dodgers ace by two outs even though they exited the game at the same time, put a 112-pitch performance on speed dial in a game the
Any pitcher who condenses time in October has to be dominant.
Any starting pitcher who can bend, fold, spindle and mutilate the Dodgers lineup opposite arguably the game's most effective pitcher deserves whatever superlatives come his way.
"It was two guys out there attacking hitters, saying, 'Here's my best stuff and see what you can do with it and we'll see who wins,'"
At one point Saturday, Wacha and Kershaw teamed to retire 17 consecutive hitters. Kershaw got 18 outs on 72 pitches. Wacha mixed eight strikeouts among his 20 outs. His only walk was intentional.
The Cardinals ride a crest of remarkable pitching at the most fortuitous time.
It's unconventional for a team to win the first two games of a playoff series while scoring four runs and hitting .134 through 22 innings.
It's not exactly the norm for four rookie arms to work 26 of 27 outs while taking down the league's presumptive
The Cardinals were hitless Saturday in four at-bats with runners in scoring position. However, the Dodgers are one for 16 in such situations for the series.
Conventional wisdom held that the Cardinals' goal was to split the series' first two games at home against
"We look at what they've been able to do, but we've been pretty good too," Mattingly said. "If we get two key hits over the last two days we win two. It didn't happen so we're walking out of here down two."
This is not happenstance with Wacha. He came within inches of throwing a no-hitter in his final regular-season start and within five outs of another against the
The Dodgers ended any such no-hit suspense Saturday with a one-out, first-inning single. What the
If the Dodgers could enjoy Fernandomania in 1981, the Cardinals are entitled to Wachamania this year.
To be fair, Saturday afternoon was not exactly made for hitters. The game began in deep shadows that didn't ease until the seventh inning. Lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, Kershaw became the first pitcher in postseason history to lose when allowing two hits or fewer without an earned run.
2/3 innings. When the Dodgers loaded the bases against him with none out in Saturday's sixth inning it marked the first time in his last three starts Wacha had confronted a runner in scoring position with less than two outs.