The St. Louis Cardinals grabbed control of the National League Division Series on Wednesday with an 8-0 whitewash victory over the Washington Nationals. It was the second straight dominant performance for the Cards, who are now one win away from the National League Championship Series.
After getting shut down for two runs in a Game 1 loss, the Cards' offense has exploded for 20 combined runs in Games 2 and 3. Dan Moore of SB Nation's Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos writes that while the offensive inconsistency can be frustrating at times, fans should take what they can get in the postseason:
It might not be good to score eight and 12 runs at a sitting when each game is worth less than a hundredth of the season. It might seem frustrating when they score one the next day, and you might be inclined to wonder why they can't save them for later.
In the postseason, though-I'll take every one of the last 20 runs the St. Louis Cardinals have scored. Especially the eight Wednesday, because even though Chris Carpenter is now 10-2 with an ERA of 2.88 in his postseason career, his scoreless start was so consistently almost-not-scoreless that I was almost surprised when I looked up at the scoreboard, near the end, and saw that it was 6-0.
Carpenter pitched 5⅔ innings of shutout ball, although he did labor through the start somewhat, giving up seven hits in the process. But despite some of Carpenter's struggles, Cards fans had little to worry about, as the offense staked him to an early 4-0 lead thanks to a three-run bomb by Pete Kozma. The Cards put insurance runs on the board in the later innings, leaving the outcome no longer in doubt.
The Cardinals will send Kyle Lohse to the mound on Thursday in Washington to try and clinch the series. The Nationals will counter with Ross Detwiler.
First pitch is at 3:07 p.m. CT.