Wednesday, October 12, 2011

NLCS Game 3 Preview

Who: Brewers (Yovani Gallardo) vs Cardinals (Chris Carpenter)
When: Wednesday October 12th at 7:05 pm CST
Where: Busch Stadium St. Louis, MO
Radio: 620 AM WTMJ/540 AM ESPN

So we have it. The Brewers and Cardinals are split 1-1 going into the game tonight, just like how they split the season. The story today? Aces take the mound and try and get a huge advantage.

This game could not be more important for the Brewers after getting bowled over by St. Louis on Monday. Milwaukee has gotten beaten up on in the playoffs, even under the normally steady hands of the Shawn Marcum. It cannot help their confidence to lose as handedly as they did at home. The only good outcome from game 2 was that the Brewers didn’t give up a Grand Slam.

Now it is up to Yovani Gallardo, who has been outstanding so far in the post-season. However, much like how the Diamondbacks were a team the Yo saw his best success; the Cardinals are a team that has shown Gallardo the worst. In 11 starts, Yovani is 1-7 with a 5.66 ERA. Very uncharacteristic of the pitcher that led the team in wins. This year held true to form for Yovani as he went 1-4, getting his very first win against the Cards and a 5.70 ERA.

Yovani can succeed however. The pitcher is known to rise to the occasion in times of need, as proven when Yo has a 2.06 ERA during August, possibly the biggest month of the Brewers stretch and ended the season on an incredibly good note. Yovani showed against the D-Backs that even when he doesn’t have his best stuff he can succeed when the Brewers need him. (Oh and in 21 Post-Season Innings, Gallardo has a 0.86 ERA.)

On the other side we see Chris Carpenter. Carpenter’s numbers regressed this season but that does not make him any less dangerous as he proved in the NLDS. Carpenter had a very rough Game 1, where the Phillies were able to overcome a very early 3 run deficit in the first inning against the Cardinals ace. However, in Citizens Bank Park, facing the best team in the NL against a former Cy Young winner and strong candidate this year, Carpenter rose to the occasion throwing a shut out to lock the Cardinals in for a series against the Brewers.

Carpenter, life time has put up decent, but not ace like numbers against the Brewers since his major league debut. In 15 starts he has gone 6-6 with a 4.58 ERA. This year’s number was a little better, going .500 again with an ERA under 4.

The key to the Brewers winning? Score early. Gallardo works very well with a lead, as do most pitchers, but Gallardo will need everything he has to win this game. Time and time again St. Louis has proved it can handle what the Milwaukee Ace is delivering. If the Brewers can get to Carpenter, they can really do damage to a weak Cards bullpen.

Yovani will need to watch Pujols. It seems the normally dangerous Alberta has turned on his post-season magic yet again and is twice as dangerous as normal. Walk Pujols, or limit him with runners on.

This series is not over, and I suspect it to be an intense tug of war type of match up. As proven during the series, these teams can win against each other, any time, any place, any way.


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