Game 4 NLCS Las Vegas Odds: Brewers vs Cardinals and Kyle Lohse
Thursday, October 13, 2011
by Frank Martin
The St Louis Cardinals' Achilles heel during the regular season was the bullpen. Since Game 2 of the Division Series, the Cardinals relief corps has been nearly hittable. Now the bullpen, with a little help from Albert Pujols and David Freese, has gotten St. Louis control of the National League Championship Series.
The Milwaukee Brewers are still waiting for one of their starting pitchers to put up a strong effort in the series. Randy Wolf will get the next shot when the Brewers attempt to even the series at two games apiece on Thursday night at Busch Stadium.
Wolf was crushed by the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Division Series, surrendering seven runs in three innings to suffer the Game 4 loss. Including his last two regular season turns, Wolf has posted a 10.43 ERA in his last three starts. The veteran lefthander went 3-2 with a 5.34 ERA in five outings against St. Louis in 2011.
Lohse started out strong in Game 1 of the LDS against Philadelphia but melted down in the middle innings to suffer the loss. He pitched six scoreless innings to beat Milwaukee on Sept. 6 but was just 1-2 in three turns against the Brewers despite a 2.37 ERA this season.
The offense managed to bail out Zack Greinke in Game 1. Shaun Marcum and Yovani Gallardo weren't quite as lucky. Milwaukee starters have been torched for a 9.00 ERA and are averaging five innings per outing. The Brewers bullpen is built to hold a lead from the seventh inning on with LaTroy Hawkins, Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford. The middle innings are a little trickier. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder combined to go 1-for-6 without an RBI on Wednesday.
The St. Louis bullpen was asked to cover four innings in Game 3. Four relievers combined for four perfect innings. Since Game 2 of the LDS, the Cardinals bullpen has allowed a total of four runs in 23 2/3 innings. Pujols, who tied a postseason record with four extra-base hits in Game 2, started with an RBI double in the first inning of Game 3 and is hitting .636 (7-for-11) in the series. Freese is at .500 (6-for-12). The two have combined for 12 RBIs.
Chris Carpenter got the win with five innings in Game 3, tying Bob Gibson for the all-time Cardinals postseason record with seven. Carpenter needed three more starts to reach the mark.
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