Cardinals blow out Dodgers 9-0 to win NL Pennant
Well, all of that was blown out of the water, as the Cardinals shockingly hit Kershaw all over the park en route to a 9-0 blowout Game 6 win. St. Louis win the series 4-2 and advance to the World Series.
Things seemed pretty normal going into the 3rd inning, but Matt Carpenter hit a double after an 11 pitch at-bat, and playoff cyborg Carlos Beltran drove Carpenter in with a single. It only got worse from there. Yadier Molina hit a single to score Beltran. Freese singled and Adams walked to load the bases. Shane Robinson (starting for the maligned Jon Jay) then hit a single to score two runs, and suddenly it was 4-0. Here's the full video of the carnage.
As you can see, Puig air mailed the throw home (although the runner probably scores even if the throw is perfect), and made a bad decision on the other throw, which allowed Beltran to get to 2nd. That, and another play we'll get to, started the "told you so" brigade on him.
The bottom of the 5th then started on a single by Molina, which turned into a double when the bounced off Puig's glove, his second error of the game. Puig was now getting blamed for the Dodgers being down all over Twitter, but the bigger problem was that Kershaw didn't have it. Freese singled, then Adams doubled to score Molina, and that was it for Kershaw. The bullpen couldn't put out the fire though. Ronald Belisario and J.P. Howell combined to give up another 4 runs to make it 9-0 and put it on ice. Kershaw's final line is shocking: 4 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. It's his worst start since a 5.2 IP, 8 run shellacking on June 24, 2012 against these same Cardinals.
As for Puig, obviously he did not have a good game, and for the most part didn't have a great series. That does mean the loss is on all on him, as the score clearly indicates 9-0. They'll be a lot written about him "costing" the Dodgers the series, and a lot about the Cardinal's "wholesomeness" and "respect for the game" winning out. That's bunk. The Cardinals were the better team who were able to hit around the best pitcher in the game. That's why they won and are in the World Series. Period.
Meanwhile, as Kershaw struggled, Michael Wacha was excellent again. He gave up just 2 hits and a walk over 7 innings while striking out 5. For his breakout performance, he earned NLCS MVP honors. He did get some defensive help, including this great catch in the 5th by, who else, Carlos Beltran.
Beltran was 3-for-4 for 2 RBIs and this catch in this game, and now he's finally getting a chance at the World Series. Even if one wasn't rooting for the Cardinals, it's hard not to be excited for that.
After it became 9-0, the Dodgers looked done and clearly were. An AJ Ellis double in the 6th was the only runner who got into scoring position all night, and they responded to that double by making 12 consecutive outs to end the game. With their elite talent and extreme wealth, the Dodgers have a good chance of being back in the postseason next year, even if this time around ended in disappointment.
For the Cardinals though, it's time to prepare for the 19th World Series in franchise history, and to find out who their opponents will be. Game 6 of the ALCS is tonight, and if Boston wins, we have a rematch of 2004.