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October 10, 2012 / Nat Anacostia

NLDS game three (first post-season game in Washington since 1933)

It was a beautiful day for baseball – certainly better conditions than most of the other post-season games I’ve seen this year. It was great to see the stadium packed and the rally towels whirling. Too bad we didn’t have the chance to see them very often during the game.

It was a pleasure to have Bob Costas and Jim Kaat doing the broadcast on MLB – certainly an improvement on TBS.

All season, Edwin Jackson has struggled the first time through the lineup, with opponents hitting .263/.322/.462 the first time through, versus .230/.284/.396 after the first time. His struggles usually came in the first inning, but this time it was more in the second. He was simply missing his spots and getting his fastball over the heart of the plate. The Cards don’t miss those.

While it’s true that Jim Joyce missed the call at first on Danny Espinosa‘s bunt attempt in the second, it’s the second game in a row where I’ve wondered why Espy is bunting with the Nationals significantly behind. It suggests that he may not be feeling comfortable swinging away, especially from the left side.

Although the game looked like a blowout from the score, I think the actual play was much more competitive. The Nats left 11 runners on base – they didn’t have a problem getting runners on base. Their problem was stringing together the hits to score them. It certainly felt competitive as late as the bottom of the fifth, when Michael Morse batted as the potential tying run with the bases loaded and two outs, flying out to end the inning. Hats off to Carpenter on a well pitched game.

For the third game in a row, Craig Stammen has struggled in relief. I think I would have yanked him after his second batter, though he did manage to get out of the inning giving up one run. Christian Garcia and Ryan Mattheus also struggled, though Drew Storen did pitch well.

While the Cards have to be considered the favorites in game four, I don’t think it’s as lopsided as most commentators have suggested. The Nats have faced Lohse twice in the last six weeks, and both times have hit well against him. (Of course, Ross Detwiler was also lit up by the Cardinals in his last appearance, but at least he’s only faced 16 batters. His main problem was giving up five walks – wildness is a potentially solvable problem.

 

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