Clayton Kershaw, who probably will receive his second National League Cy Young Award in the past three seasons in a few weeks and also is likely to sign a long-term contract with a massive dollar figure attached to it sometime this winter, suffered a rare meltdown at the worst possible time, giving up seven runs on 10 hits in four-plus innings. Really, though, all of that was just a bunch of numbers, because the Dodgers were doomed from the moment Kershaw gave up the first of those runs.
Once again, the Dodgers went into the deepfreeze offensively, stymied by Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha just as they were in Game 2. In his two starts in this National League Championship Series, Wacha shut out the Dodgers on seven hits over 13 2/3 innings, striking out 13 and walking only two, one of those intentional, in the process.
Although it hasn’t yet been announced, it is difficult to envision anyone other than Wacha as the NLCS Most Valuable Player.
The Cardinals thus won this NLCS in six games and now will move on to their fourth World Series in the past 10 years, and it WILL be a rematch of one of the previous three. The Series will begin on Wednesday night in either Boston or Detroit. The Cardinals faced the Red Sox in the 2004 World Series, losing in four, then defeated Detroit in five games in the 2006 World Series.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, are left to lick their wounds yet again following their 25th consecutive season without a World Series appearance. However, this also marked the first time they have survived for as long as six games into an NLCS since 1988, when they last reached the World Series and wound up winning it. It was a step forward, and the Dodgers figure to be the class of the National League West again in 2014.