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Cardinals look to win NL pennant Wednesday in L.A.
By: Robert Livingston - StatFox
Published: 10/16/2013  at  10:13:00 AM
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NL Championship Series, Game 5 - St. Louis leads series 3-1
First pitch: Wednesday, 4:07 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -170, St. Louis +155, Total: 7

The Cardinals have a chance to advance to their second World Series in three years on Wednesday afternoon while the Dodgers will look to bring the NLCS to 3-2 and return it to St. Louis.

The Cardinals were able to jump on Ricky Nolasco early in Game 4 and were ultimately able to close it out for a 4-2 win, with four runs being the highest scoring output by any team in this series. Looking to finish things off, Joe Kelly (9-3, 2.29 ERA as a starter) will take the hill for St. Louis after leading his team to a Game 1 win this series 3-2 when he give up two earned runs over six innings. He’ll face his opponent from that game, Zack Greinke (15-5, 2.63 ERA), who allowed only two earned in eight innings while striking out 10. With Tuesday night’s win, the Cardinals are now 6-5 against L.A. this season, including 3-2 at Dodger Stadium. Overall, St. Louis is 45-40 (.529) on the road while the Dodgers are 50-35 (.588) at home. Key to this game will be monitoring the health of Los Angeles SS Hanley Ramirez (ribs) who left Tuesday’s game with the injury and is questionable to play Wednesday.

Kelly (1.34 WHIP as a starter) has been absolutely tremendous out of the rotation this season, leading his team to a 12-5 record (.706) in his 17 starts, and he’s been even better on the road. Away from home as a starter he is 5-1 with a 1.34 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, giving up no home runs in those eight starts. In his career against the Dodgers, he is 1-1 (team 2-2) in four starts with a 3.22 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. In addition to Game 1, Kelly had one other start versus L.A. on Aug. 6 (5.1 IP, 1 ER). In the first game of this series, the only two Dodgers runs were scored in the third inning from a Juan Uribe single, before a Carlos Beltran double evened it up in the bottom half of the inning. Then, with Greinke out of the game, Beltran hit a walk-off single in the 13th inning to give the Cardinals a 3-2 win. Key to that game and the Cardinals’ performance in this series has been their bullpen that is 1-0 with an 0.64 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and two saves, fanning 13 batters in 14 innings. For the season, St. Louis relievers carry a 3.35 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. On the road, the unit’s ERA is even better at 3.07.

Greinke (1.08 WHIP) pitched tremendously in his first start of the series and has generally been incredible lately with a 2.25 ERA and 0.65 WHIP in his past three starts, even though the Dodgers have lost all three of those games. But for the season, L.A. is 22-8 (.733) when the right-hander takes the hill. In September, Greinke was 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA, while in August he was 5-0 with a 1.23 ERA. The Dodgers, though, have given him just six runs of support in his past four starts. Against the Cardinals in his career, he is 8-4 (team 8-5) with a 3.43 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, having earned the win against them on Aug. 5 when facing Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. In addition to Beltran in Game 1, 2B Matt Carpenter, OF Matt Holiday and OF John Jay have had career success against Greinke, so he must be careful when pitching to them. And though the Dodgers bullpen couldn’t hold the lead in Game 1, it has pitched very well in the NLCS with a 1.35 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. In all of 2013, the unit has a decent 3.44 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, and carries a 17-9 record with 24 saves in 31 chances (77.4% success) at Dodger Stadium.

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