Cardinals vs. Dodgers Game 2: Clayton Kershaw is good at pitching

Ed Zurga

The Cardinals escaped Zack Greinke vs. Joe Kelly, which leads them right into Clayton Kershaw vs. Michael Wacha.

The St. Louis Cardinals really shouldn't have won that one. Doing it depended on Joe Kelly outhitting—if not outpitching—Zack Greinke; Carlos Beltran allowing them to score three runs on seven hits spread out over 13 innings; and the Dodgers to miss out on every opportunity they had after Joe Kelly nearly got out of trouble in the third. It happened, though—in the other sense of "shouldn't" and "deserved," the clutch-aware sense, the Cardinals got hits in the most important moments, and the Dodgers didn't. Both frames are accurate and finally irrelevant.

The relevant part is that the Cardinals finally exited the roundabout up one game against the Dodgers' two especially dangerous starters. Michael Wacha against Clayton Kershaw is probably as much a mismatch as Kelly/Greinke, but Wacha's last two starts and the adrenaline boost that comes with having watched them win Game 1 a couple of hours ago makes me feel somehow more sanguine about it.

Because here's what the Cardinals have done, at the most pessimistic possible bound: They've averted all the possible catastrophes. The very plausible story these two games could have told, of a home team being steamrolled by superior pitching, faded when Joe Kelly left the game with a no-decision and vanished when Carlos Beltran beat Kenley Jansen. I'm not sure what happens from here—writing when I am, right after the game ended, I'm not sure of anything—but it won't be those worst-case scenarios.

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