THE At-Bat: The Cardinals are World Series-Bound in 2013

Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

The St. Louis Cardinals versus the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Homegrown talent versus a “store-bought” product.

Game 6 of the NLCS.

The scoreboard read 0-0 with one out in the bottom of the third inning.

Unable to score in the prior two innings with a runner in scoring position, St. Louis fans, those at the stadium as well as the ones at home, were getting restless. Was this really happening again? Would they really have endure yet another heart-stopping Game 7? The Birds on the Bat wouldn’t relinquish another 3-1 NLCS lead, now would they?

Well, on the mound was the best pitcher on the planet, Clayton Kershaw, and at the plate was arguably the 2013 Cardinal MVP, Matt Carpenter.

So, the scene was set. It was time for a heavy-weight battle that will forever be remembered as “The At-Bat” for Cardinal fans throughout the nation.

Kershaw fired 7 fastballs that averaged 93.2 MPH, slung 3 sliders that averaged 4.71 inches of break, and broke off 1 curveball that had 7.54 inches of drop to it. A devastating sequence of pitches from the future Hall-of-Famer. Yet, Carpenter warded off the blows from Kershaw by fouling off 8 of the 11 pitches–deliberately setting up his counter-move. On the 11th pitch, Carpenter delivered his signature knockout blow–a double into the right field corner on a nasty slider down and away in the zone.

Credit: BrooksBaseball

Credit: BrooksBaseball

There you have it. THE At-Bat.

Nope, no runs scored on the play. The scoreboard still read 0-0 as Carlos Beltran walked up to the plate. Yet, this will go down as one of the most pivotal moments of the entire 2013 NLCS.

Kershaw was rattled. The almighty Kershaw was knocked off his line by Carpenter’s tremendous at-bat. He had just barely evaded damage in the first and second innings, but Carpenter made sure that this would not repeat in the third inning as well.

The rest is history, and it can be read in game recaps all over the internet, but I will highlight some key points. The Cardinal offense made an extraordinary pitcher look rather ordinary when it mattered most. Beltran, doing what he does best, scorched a liner past Mark Ellis at second to score Carpenter–1-0. This would have been enough for the future NLCS MVP, Michael Wacha, but the team did not stop there. Yadier Molina made up for his Game 5 woes, knocking in Beltran on a hanging breaking ball. Shane Robinson then came up with the bases loaded and knocked in two runners himself.

At the end of the third inning, the Cardinals led the Dodgers 4 to 0. They had batted all the way around the order while recording 5 hits and 4 runs.

At this point, Kershaw looked to be just a shell of himself out there on the mound, and it all started because of “The At-Bat.”

The Cardinals will now travel to either Boston or Detroit for the World Series with their ace, Adam Wainwright, on the hill for Game 1.

#HappyFlight

#12in13

Until next time…

Joe

For more updates, follow me on twitter: @stlCupofJoe

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2 thoughts on “THE At-Bat: The Cardinals are World Series-Bound in 2013

  1. We are going back to World Series !!!!!! My boy was born in 2004 I think its pretty cool that his whole life the Cards have been best team in MLB,

    My opinion on Kershaw was that his arm was worn out mostly due to pithing on just a couple days rest in NLDS. I think Mattingly moving him up in a not must win game came back to bite him. What say you?

    • I think that the fact that he pitched a day early in the NLDS may play a factor, but to be honest, I think he just had a bad day. The at-bat with Carpenter affected him mentally as well. Even the best pitchers have bad days some times.

      Go Cards!

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