A glance at the scorecard shows a 7-1 laugher in Game 5 of the NLCS. And while this game wasn't necessarily "close" per se, the Brewers had their shots to make it close and took a cue from the Cardinals in Game 4 and stranded people all over the place.
Cardinals starter Jamie Garcia only worked into the 4th inning to keep the Cardinals lack of a quality start streak at 5 games. On the other hand, he delivered an early knock down punch to the Brewers with a 2 out 2 run hit in the 2nd, a hit that is getting over-looked considering that Zack Greinke was on the verge of getting out of a second inning jam with minimal damage.
When Garcia was lifted, the bullpen again came in and added to legend of 2011, going 4 1/3 with 0 runs allowed, 2 hits and only one walk. I'm not sure if we'll ever get the true story about what the hell happened from September on with this group... but it's startling. It's gotten to the point where a starter gets a runner on and falls behind 2-0 and I'm thinking what you're thinking -- let's get into that bullpen!
As an added bonus, Matt Holliday is heating up, ripping balls all over the place, 5 hits in the past 2 games. With Pujols and Freese still keeping NLCS averages over .400 and Berkman always a threat? I guess if the Cardinals starters give this team anything in games 6 (hopefully not 7) well...
Here we are, on the precipice of the National League Championship. Headed back on the road to the toughest stadium to win in all of Major League Baseball.
Is this really happening?
I've only published one of the letters we've received about how we've flip flopped on the 2011 Cardinals. As many times as I can say it - I will: Everyone that writes on CardsDiaspora.com is a Cardinals FAN. We WANT the Cardinals to be in these types of positions. We're HAPPY to be a single W away from another World Series. Are we cynical asshats most of the time? You bet. But I promise that we're more than happy to be wrong about this particular team.
And yes, we've learned our lesson. It's not over until it's over.
STUD: Matt Holliday. 2 RBI's. 3 hits. A surge at just the right time for the Cardinals.
DUD: Nick Punto. When you're laying down sacrafice bunts to get the pitcher a chance with runners in scoring position, it's probably time to think about keeping him in the line-up.
BOTTOM LINE: 1 win away from the World Series? The Cardinals are almost 100% going to lose Game 6 aren't they? I don't know if they'd have it any other way.
- Coleman @ Aaron Miles' Fastball: LINK HERE
- McKernan @ InsideSTL: LINK HERE
- Bernie @ InsideSTL: LINK HERE
- Passan @ Yahoo! Sports: LINK HERE
- Borzi @ NY Times: LINK HERE
- Hunt @ JS Online: LINK HERE