After thumping the Washington Nationals 8-0 yesterday, the St. Louis Cardinals have a two-games-to-one lead in their best-of-five National League Division Series. The Cards will look to close out the series today, and their ace starting pitcher Kyle Lohse, Nomlaki Nation, will make the start.
With a victory today, the surprising Cardinals could knock out baseball’s winningest team in the Division Series for a second year in a row. Last season, St. Louis beat the Philadelphia Phillies in five games en routé to a world championship. The Senators posted an MLB-best 98-54 record this year.
Amazingly, the Cards didn’t qualify for the 2011 playoffs until the last day of the regular season. This year they squeaked in only because of the addition of an extra wild-card team in each league.
Lohse pitched a gem in the Cardinals first 2012 playoff game, a wild-card game victory over the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. As ESPN notes, the Nationals will be up against a confident Lohse (1-0, 3.18 ERA) today, who exorcised some postseason demons from his past by yielding only two runs over 5 2/3 innings to earn a 6-3 win over the Braves in the wild-card game October 5. Lohse had been 0-3 with a 7.13 ERA in his first four career playoff starts.
“You know, I came through the Atlanta game pretty successfully, and plan on being able to do the same thing from here on out,” Lohse told ESPN.
With this being the first time that a Washington, D.C. MLB team has been in the playoffs since 1933, plus the excitement that built over the course of a thrilling season, there is all kinds of attention focused on today’s game. St. Louis native Ross Detwiler gets his his first career postseason start for Washington, not an easy assignment, particularly with the veteran Lohse going against him.
“You just learn how to block out all that stuff and concentrate on the moment that you’re in right now and we have done a good job of that,” Lohse told ESPN. “We look to continue doing that. [Cardinal’s manager] Mike Matheny has done a great job of continuing that thought process and keeping us focused on the here and now and not worry about future or what may happen.”
The first pitch is at 4:07 E.T. TBS will air the game nationally, check your local listings for coverage.