Cardinals take a 2-0 lead in NLCS with 1-0 shutout of Dodgers

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Cardinals starter Michael Wacha turned in a gem, needing only one run of support to help pitch his team past the Dodgers. Wacha shut out the Dodgers over six and two-thirds innings, allowing just five hits and a walk while striking out eight. Jon Jay contributed the game’s only run with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly to plate David Freese, who had reached on a double.

Relievers Kevin Siegrist, Randy Choate, and Carlos Martinez pitched in to get the game to Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth inning. Rosenthal struck out the side, blowing high-90’s fastballs past Yasiel Puig, Juan Uribe, and Andre Ethier to end the game.

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was on point, making just the one mistake to Freese in the fifth inning. Overall, he allowed the one run on two hits and one walk while striking out five.

The NLCS now heads west to Los Angeles as the Dodgers will attempt to overcome a 0-2 deficit. Game 3 will resume on Monday. The Cardinals will send Adam Wainwright to the hill while the Dodgers have not announced a starter as of yet.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.