After a sedate Game 2 and Game 3, the Cardinals had an action-packed Game 4. There was a catcher interference call! A pickoff at second! A nifty tag-out, force-out double play! A balk! A stolen base! A home run by an unexpected contributor!
There was a lot of pre-game and during-game angst about Lance Lynn starting this game. He certainly didn't pitch well, but he held the Dodgers to two runs over five-and-a-third innings. Trouble started in the second, where he allowed a single and two walks, before escaping with the bases loaded and no runs scored. He couldn't pull off the same magic in the fourth when a double, a walk, and two singles led to two runs. To the surprise of many, Mike Matheny not only left Lynn in for the fourth inning, but let him bat in the top of the fifth. Lance Lynn held up through a scoreless fifth, then was pulled after a line out and a single in the bottom of the sixth.
The Cardinals' offense wasn't exactly prodigious, but it scored 4 runs, as many as they'd scored over the last three games combined. The Cardinals opened early. In the third, Daniel Descalso singled, and Matt Carpenter drove him home with a double. Matt Holliday continued with some Matt-on-Matt violence, demolishing a pitch for a 426-foot homer to left field.
The fourth Cardinal run came on the most unexpected of plays. Pinch-hitting in the pitcher's slot, Shane Robinson slapped a just-enough homer that bounced off the top of the wall in left field. That was only his 6th homer in almost 400 MLB plate appearances. The diminutive outfielder is not known for his power hitting.
After three pretty solid starts from the best starters on the Dodgers, the Cardinals finally found the soft underbelly of the Dodgers' bullpen. Although three of our four runs came off Nolasco, the Dodgers' bullpen gave up 5 walks in 5 innings and looked very shaky. I don't know that we have a great chance of driving the other three Dodgers' starters out of any games early, but we definitely saw how poor the bullpen becomes after Jansen and Wilson.
The Dodgers now need to take 3 straight games from the Cardinals to win, including two games in St. Louis. While lesser light Joe Kelly is starting tomorrow, Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright are also poised to take starts in Games 6 & 7, if needed. That's a tall, though not insurmountable, order for the Dodgers. I like our position, but I'm not going to start ordering World Series t-shirts yet.