Let’s be honest for a minute…the Cardinals are not supposed to win this game. They’re not supposed to win this series, with their stunted offense and the Dodgers’ mighty Kershaw set to throw as many as two of possibly five games.
It’s a first-to-three-wins bum rush, and the infamous Clayton Kershaw could account for two all by himself. Heck…he could probably single-handedly solve our little Ebola issue, too — as long as he could do it from sixty feet, six inches away…with a baseball.
In the current era of pitchers-rule contests, Clayton Kershaw is the best MLB has to offer. The Cardinals, on the other hand, could be called baseball’s worst offense for much of the season. They haven’t hit for power, batting averages are down across the board, and the lineup is littered with young hitters trying to find their footing at this level.
So how are the Redbirds supposed to compete? Why not just concede the inevitable? I mean, why even make the long trek across half the country just to sacrifice themselves on the alter of Kershaw?
Adam Wainwright. That’s why.
If there’s any pitcher who has managed to consistently challenge The Great Kershaw for supremacy in the National League, it’s Wainwright. He’s stubborn, competitive, unflinching…and he possesses the great equalizer to combat The Great Kershaw…that eye-popping, knee-buckling 12-to-6 curveball that continues to dominate hitters who make a hearty living adjusting to MLB pitches.
If Clayton is the biggest kid in the yard — the one who stomps around with his chest puffed out, daring anyone to match him muscle for muscle — Adam is the, ironically, tough and determined pipsqueak that stands up and says, “Bring a little bit of that macho over here. I’ll fight you.”
If there’s any reason at all the Cardinals should feel hopeful heading into tonight’s game, it’s Adam Wainwright on the mound.
And perhaps, just maybe, an offense that’s defined itself as being not JUST self-limiting, but also tenacious and steadfast. This Cardinals team believes it can win…on any given day, in any given series, and in any given situation regardless of pitching. They have good reason.
Sure, this team hasn’t hit with runners in scoring position like they did last season, nor have they compiled an impressive run total or even a hefty run differential…but they have managed to win close games. Games that should have ended in defeat and perhaps crippled their season. Games won late and in dire circumstances.
Games they had no business winning. Kind of sounds familiar, eh?
Yes, tonight’s task is to beat the nigh-unbeatable Clayton Kershaw against the healthy and dangerous Dodgers lineup…in the midst of that putrid celebrity love-fest at Dodger Stadium. Sure, that’s a tall order…
But Adam Wainwright — ahem — measures up. And this St. Louis lineup is not content to go softly into that good night. They will fight. They will resist. And at the end of the game, they will have a shot.
That may be all the St. Louis Cardinals, a team used to toppling Goliath and scratching out one-run victories all season long, really needs.
In the end, it may not be The Great Kershaw that decides this contest. It may, instead, be the grit of a team led by the most stubborn pitcher in the NL in Adam Wainwright and a lineup led by the determined Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter.
Get ready, Cards fans. This should be a good one.
— GO CARDS!!!