All the money in the world doesn’t matter when players under-perform. The St. Louis Cardinals knock off the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League playoffs for a second straight year, overcoming Clayton Kershaw on the mound, getting a clutch three-run homer from Matt Adams in the 7th inning, while the incredibly expensive lineup coudln’t find a way to overcome just a one run deficit.
The Cardinals move on to the NLCS, winning their series with the Dodgers 3-1 following their game 4 3-2 victory. It’s their fourth consecutive Championship Series appearance. They made it to the World Series last year, losing to the Boston Red Sox. The Dodgers made the NLCS last year but lost to the Cardinals in six games. Clayton Kershaw was on the mound the last time they got knocked out as well, although it took six games to dispatch of them then.
It all came down to a 7th inning of Kershaw losing his control. His curveballs were a bit weaker and easier to predict, allowing Matt Holiday and Johnny Peralta to get hits and reach base. Then came Matt Adams, and the rest is history thanks to his three-run homer. It’s his first home run of the postseason, and it was also the end of the game for Kershaw, striking out nine batters and allowing only four hits, but falling off the trail of perfection at the wrong moment.
The Cardinals finished with just four hits in the game. They had only three opportunities with runners in scoring position. Before Kershaw in the 7th and after he was taken off the mound, their opportunities to actually score were very few, almost completely forgettable. Yet a solid hitting team that had fewer home runs than any one else int the National League this season ends up hitting 7 through four games in the NLDS, the most for a team that did so poorly in that category during the regular season.
Yasiel Puig didn’t start for the Dodgers, who ended up getting 8-of-31 at the plate, getting their runs through Matt Kemp grounding out into a double play which still created something in the form of a Carl Crawford run, followed by a single from Juan Uribe turned into an RBI by Hanley Ramirez. Overall the Dodgers hit quite poorly in the series – especially Gonzalez and Uribe, not giving Shelby Miller too much trouble through his 5.2 innings start.
Trevor Rosenthal came on to close the game and once again made it a less than smooth save, but still finished with his third of the series. The Dodgers will go into a fall and winter of once again figuring out if there’s something wrong with their approach of simply throwing money at problems, or maybe it’s the manager that needs replacing. If they’ll come to the conclusion that it’s the most overrated position in sports, Mattingly will remain in his position, because eventually, it won’t really matter.