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Cardinals still on track after NLCS setback

It's difficult not to be disappointed after the way the Cardinals were manhandled in the second game of the National League Championship Series.

The Redbirds were badly beaten by a 7-1 score in San Francisco after a controversial play that rallied the Giants.

With the score tied at one early in the game, St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday took out San Francisco second baseman Marco Scutaro with a hard slide to break up a double play. After the collision, the Cardinals sagged and the Giants seemed extremely motivated, turning on the offense in front of a rowdy crowd.

But the bottom line is that the Redbirds came home from the west coast with a split, which effectively steals the home field advantage away from the Giants with three of the five games left in the NLCS set to take place at Busch Stadium. The path to the World Series is obvious and attainable: Win two of three at home and then win one of two in San Francisco.

I'm more worried about the performance of Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter than I am about the loss.

Carpenter, who was 8-3 in the post season before the game, never seemed to get in a groove Monday. His velocity was down significantly and he was badly missing his location on pitches. I wonder if his troublesome shoulder is bothering him or if he is having some "dead arm" issues that pitchers often have late in spring training. Carpenter's start was his fifth of the year because of his shoulder issues. So he is about at the place where he would be early in the season if things had progressed normally.

Kyle Lohse is expected to pitch Wednesday and Adam Wainwright will take the mound Thursday. Game five would be Lance Lynn's turn in the rotation. 

I'm also frustrated by the offense which owned Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong before Monday night with a 4-2 record and more than six runs a game against the former Pirates hurler.