The St. Louis Cardinals were in a disturbingly familiar formula against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. The Dodgers were an NL West champion who were down by 3-1 to the Cardinals in the series, much like the eventual world champion San Francisco Giants in 2012. The Cardinals did indeed repeat history on Oct. 18 -- but they were on the right side of it this time.
It was the Dodgers who completely fell apart in their last loss of the NLCS this time, not the Cardinals. Instead of losing by 9-0 on the road in Game 7, the Cardinals won by 9-0 at home in Game 6 to end the series in their favor.
A year after the Giants slaughtered Kyle Lohse to cap off their NLCS comeback, the Cardinals slaughtered Clayton Kershaw to stop the Dodgers’ rally. Of course, getting to Kershaw was far more surprising, although St. Louis only needed two big innings to get it done. And like the Giants in last year's Game 7, the Cardinals broke things open in the third.
A leadoff double by Matt Carpenter to end an 11 pitch at-bat led to a Carlos Beltran RBI, a Yadier Molina RBI, a debatable walk to Matt Adams and a two-run hit by Shane Robinson. The Cardinals could have just rested on that 4-0 lead, given how Michael Wacha was handcuffing the Dodgers again. Instead, they tacked on five more runs in the fifth to end Kershaw’s night and season.
The 2013 Dodgers proved to be of lesser caliber than the 2012 Giants, even with Kershaw, Yasiel Puig and a payroll in the hundreds of millions. Meanwhile, the 2013 Cardinals had a bigger backbone than their 2012 predecessors, and matched their 2011 predecessors in winning the pennant.
Now that St. Louis has completely overcome what San Francisco did, it will now seek to match the Giants and the 2011 Cardinals by winning the World Series. The once and future NL champions will rest while the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers finish up the ALCS over the weekend. Once a winner emerges, they will host the Cardinals in Game 1 on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
The Cardinals were destroyed by the Red Sox in the 2004 World Series, before destroying the Tigers in the 2006 Fall Classic. But as the 2013 Cardinals proved, past history doesn’t always repeat in the present.