Saturday, October 22, 2011
Ten things to watch for Game 3
By David Schoenfield
1. Kyle Lohse is 0-4 with a 5.09 ERA in his postseason career. Only two pitchers have lost their first five career postseason decisions: Doyle Alexander and Aaron Sele. Lohse has changed his approach in September and October: After throwing his slider 28 percent of the time against right-handers through August, he's used it only 9 percent of the time over his past six starts, instead throwing more changeups and curveballs. In his last start against Milwaukee, he didn't throw a single slider to right-handed batters.
2. Don't look for the Rangers to run while Lohse is in the game: He's allowed just one stolen base all season.
3. Matt Harrison ranked second in the majors in inducing double plays -- behind only teammate C.J. Wilson. The Cardinals led the majors in double plays grounded into. The Cardinals don't start their runners often, so avoiding the double play will be huge for St. Louis.
4. In his two postseason starts, Harrison has walked six batters in 10.2 innings. Expect the Cardinals to show a lot of patience early on.
5. Josh Hamilton has now gone 65 at-bats without a home run. He's only had one other homerless streak of 50 at-bats in his career (in 2010).
6. Alexi Ogando for two innings. Ron Washington was able to use Ogando for just 1/3 of an inning each of the first two games, as he was forced to pinch-hit for him. With the DH, that won't be an issue.
7. Albert Pujols: 0-6 in the first two games, reaching base only via an intentional walk and hit by pitch. He's gone hitless three games in a row in his postseason career just twice -- in his first Division Series back in 2001, and the final two games of the 2006 NLDS/first game of the NLCS.
8. As ESPN Insider Jim Bowden writes, how will Jason Motte bounce back?
9. How quick of a hook will Washington and Tony La Russa have with their starters? Fernando Salas, so key in the NLCS, might be a little gassed after pitching in 68 games during the regular season and 9.2 innings in the first two rounds of the playoffs. That could make Jake Westbrook the long man, but he hasn't pitched in a game since Sept. 27.
10. Allen Craig versus Ogando III. Let's see it happen again. With a tie game and runners on base.
(Information from ESPN Stats & Info used in this report.)