The St. Louis Cardinals hammered Clayton Kershaw and advanced to their 19th World Series as a franchise Friday night, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-0 in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium.
• Even if Kershaw had been off just a tad, rookie right-hander Michael Wacha was too good again, allowing two hits and a walk over seven scoreless innings. He struck out five and even drove in a run in a five-run fifth inning.
• Matt Carpenter's batting average for the series wasn't too hot, but he set the table with a problematic at-bat for Kershaw in the third. Seeing 11 pitches and fouling off eight, Carpenter hit a double to get the Cards moving in a decisive inning.
• Carlos Beltran, who has played 2,064 career games in the regular season and 45 more in the playoffs, is headed to his first World Series at age 36. He had three hits and drove in a pair against Kershaw.
• Kershaw, a strong candidate for National League Cy Young, just did not have it. He allowed seven runs, 10 hits and two walks. He struck out five.
Clayton Kershaw allowed four earned runs in only three of his 33 starts for #dodgers during the regular season.
— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) October 19, 2013
There needed to be a payoff for the Carpenter at-bat and this was it: Shane Robinson, inserted into the starting lineup with Jon Jay struggling on both sides of the ball, came through with a two-run single to cap the scoring in the third inning.
So how many times did Kershaw allow opponents to bat around against him all season? None, of course. Last time that happened: 7/24/12
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) October 19, 2013
• The fun national anthem standoff between Scott Van Slyke of the Dodgers and Joe Kelly.
• Two throws in the third inning from Yasiel Puig, which were questionable in their own ways but had much less to do with the Dodgers imploding than did a rare bad start by Kershaw.
• Carpenter's epic at-bat. Having him functioning during the World Series will be crucial to their chances.
• Wacha, Wacha!
• Getting that ring for Beltran.
• For the Dodgers, the offseason. For the Cardinals, the World Series! Game 1 is scheduled for Wednesday night at the American League opponent. The Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox still have to sort that out.
• The Cardinals will have Adam Wainwright rested for Game 1.
• What the Dodgers will look like next season with Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp healthy? And with Puig having another season of major league experience, how will his game improve?
• Where will Brian Wilson pitch?
- - - - - - -