Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wolf, Lohse attempt for 1st postseason win
The St. Louis Cardinals look to take a 3-1 series lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS. The Cardinals are 2-6 all-time in LCS Game 4’s, having lost five straight such games (last Game 4 LCS win was in 1996 against the Atlanta Braves). The Brewers are 1-0 all-time in LCS Game 4’s, having defeated the California Angels in 1982.
On the Mound
Milwaukee will hand the ball to Randy Wolf, who is 0-2 with a 10.43 ERA in his last three starts, including the postseason. Wolf is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in three career postseason starts, never having gone more than 5⅓ innings.
Wolf has made 342 career regular season starts, the most among active pitchers with no postseason wins, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Ted Lilly (342) and St. Louis start for Game 4, Kyle Lohse (298) are next on the list.
As mentioned, St. Louis will pitch Kyle Lohse, who beat the Brewers on September 6 after going 0-5 with a 4.67 ERA in his previous 10 games against Milwaukee. Lohse is 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA in two career postseason starts.
Matchup to Watch
In Game 4 of the NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Wolf struggled to get ahead of hitters, frequently putting himself in unfavorable counts. He started just five of the 19 hitters he faced with a first-pitch strike (26.3 percent), his lowest first-pitch strike percentage in 104 starts the last three seasons. Six of the seven runs Wolf allowed were driven in while he was behind in the count.
Getting ahead in the count was especially important for Wolf this year. In at-bats starting with a 1-0 count, opponents hit .308 and slugged .494 against Wolf, better than the league average of .272 and .438, respectively. When Wolf got ahead 0-1, opponents hits .209 with a .314 slugging percentage; the league as a whole hit .225 and slugged .341 after the count reached 0-1.
Stats of the Game
• The Cardinals have scored in the first inning in five straight postseason games. According to Elias, they are the fourth team to score in the first inning of at least five straight postseason games, joining the 2000 New York Mets (6), 2003 Chicago Cubs (5) and 2004 Boston Red Sox (5). The Brewers have been outscored 11-1 in the first inning of their three road postseason games.
• David Freese has 11 RBI in eight games this postseason, matching his RBI total for his last 22 regular season games.
• The Brewers are 4-1 at home but haven't been able to get the job done on the road as they're now winless in three road postseason games. Their bats have cooled off on the road as they're averaging just 3.3 runs per game, but the big reason for their failure has been pitching. At home, Brewers pitchers have a 4.89 ERA; on the road that number has ballooned to 7.88.