Through an inning-and-a-half the St. Louis Cardinals trailed the Washington Nationals 1-0 in Game 1 of the 2012 NLDS. But for an MLB playoff game with two aces going, this one looks surprisingly nebulous. The key for the Cardinals: Gio Gonzalez's wildness.
Gonzalez's control was always perceived as his main issue in Oakland, but in his first season with the Nationals following a blockbuster trade he hit a new career low in walk rate, getting under the psychologically important four-per-nine-innings mark. Now he's got five walks already, including four in the inning, and he tied the score at one by throwing a 2-2 wild pitch behind Adam Wainwright. After Wainwright walked, Jon Jay hit a sacrifice fly to opposite field to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.
Gio Gonzalez finished the inning with 49 pitches, against just 22 strikes. The Cardinals, of course, will have to be wary—Wainwright, their own ace has thrown 33 pitches and 13 balls himself through two innings, and walked Gio Gonzalez on four pitches his first time up. So far, it looks like both teams' aces will be on short leashes, with each lineup taking pitches until someone proves he can throw consistent strikes.