NLCS: Nats Pitchers Out-Smother Cardinals Pitchers, Lead Series 2-0
What's amazing is the aces haven't even taken the mound yet in this series.
The Washington Nationals starters in Games 1 and 2 both took no-hitters into the quality zone:
- Aníbal Sánchez made it to the eighth before surrendering a single to PH José Martínez, and
- Max Scherzer didn't get touched until the sixth while mesmerizing the St Louis Cardinals.
Overshadowed were a pair of valiant-but-insufficient outings by the Cardinals' starters:
- Miles Mikolas went 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K and threw 67 strikes in 98 pitches; and
- Adam Wainwright's line was 7⅓ IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 11 K and racked up 73 strikes in 99 pitches.
On most days, those totals would be good enough for at least a split of two home games.
Speaking of ... just how light-hitting were the Bums in that era?
- A walk and a stolen base was known as a Dodger double;
- When told that Sandy Koufax had thrown a no-hitter, Don Drysdale -- who'd missed the game due to personal business -- asked, "Who won?"
- Compared to Cincinnati's Big Red Machine, they were known as the Little Blue Bicycle.
Just like the St Louis bats.
Not that the Nationals were lighting it up, either. Late afternoon shadows had pitches dancing, darting, and sometimes blazing from daylight to darkness. But Washington hit the mistakes that glared in plain sight, and the Cardinals didn't.
Sánchez was a pitcher's pitcher in that 2-0 shutout, changing speeds and pinpointing placement to silence St Louis.
Then came Scherzer, who grew up 20 miles from Busch Stadium III and looked like he owned it in Washington's 3-1 victory:
Part of the Cardinals' proud history -- their 11 World Series titles trails only the Yankees' massive 27 -- included the 1964 Series when they took two of three on the road before coming home to win it.
The difference between then and now is they split the first two games at home.
Washington, meanwhile, is in unchartered territory for their franchise.
Something like 88% of teams who won the first two NLCS games on the road went on win the series. Pausing for cause, though, with an advantage like that, this number seems a tad low, which oughta encourage the never-say-die Cardinals.
Yup. Where anything's possible.
Both clubs are no doubt keeping that in mind for different reasons.