Monday, October 10, 2011

NLCS Game 2 Preview

Who: Cardinals (Edwin Jackson) vs Brewers (Shaun Marcum)
When: Monday October 10th at 7:05 pm CST
Where: Miller Park Milwaukee, WI
Radio: 620 AM WTMJ/540 AM ESPN

The guy who makes those terrible wigs La Russa calls hair must be working overtime after last nights blowup by the Brewers in the 5th in game one of the NLCS. Total team effort and home runs from Fielder and Yuni B. gave the Crew the lead after being down 2 against Jaime Garcia. Greinke scuffled to gain control of the game until he got the lead, then settled in enough to get the job done in the end, and pulling out yet another win at home backed by huge run support. The real key to this game and it's impact on Game 2 will be the Cardinals use, or over use, of their bullpen, which seemed to have someone new warming up every inning.

It took the Cardinals six pitchers to get through the game after Garcia was chased after not recording an out in the 5th. In comparison the Brewers where able to use just 4 pitchers, and keep their bullpen ready for today's game. This mismanagement of pitching, and the fact that none of their relievers got through clean innings save Rzepczynski, gives Milwaukee the edge in a game that features a pitcher in Edwin jackson that has a history of being on or very off. While his last start against Milwaukee went well, only giving up 1 run in 7 innings, this is the post season. Jackson got into a groove getting to face .500 or below teams, and now he has serious pressure to perform at a high level that he may be uncapable of.

In almost 200 innings between STL and TOR, Jackson has senn his K/9 dip from previous years to 6.67, which, given he is in essence a power pitcher, seems odd. He has posted up his best WAR over the past two seasons, each time it was 3.8, so Jackson may finally have found his style of pitching and is working hitters more than just trying to wildly strike someone out. Paralleling him is Marcum, who after a very successful season is trying to win his 1st post season game.

Marcum is as solid as you can ask for. Up until September Shaun was the go to guy to get a win on the road, but his recent scuffles coming into the post season have left a bad taste in some Brewers fans mouths. But, how can you be nervous of an alrady established pitcher who has beat his career averages in BB/9 (2.56), HR/9 (0.99), ERA (3.54), and FIP (3.73) as well as finally breaking the 200 inning plateau. The two guys pitching tonight are a wash almost with the slight edge given to Marcum. The only way Jackson will find a win tonight is if he gets Milwaukee to hit a lot of ground balls (43.8 GB%) and keeps them off balance enough to be able to eat innings.

With a righty on the mound we should see Morgan back in the two hole, and with the way Hairston is swinging the bat the bottom of the order will be happy to have him slide into 6th. The key to the Brewers winning today will be to get after Jackson early and throw him off his game. Patient eyes will be a huge factor since Jackson can put some serious movement on some of his pitches. If they get to him early La Russa will have no choice but to dip into that pen again, which will set up a great opportunity Game 3 against their best pitcher. The pressure is on the Cardinals to win, but beast mode may have to pop their bubble and send them on packing to St. Louis.


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