Cheap Seats

Believe it or not, the Cardinals are still in good shape

It's a crummy deal for St. Louis Cardinals rookie pitcher Michael Wacha -- who has made only nine major league starts -- to have to take the ball on the road in an elimination playoff game.

But that doesn't mean the Redbirds can't get the job done and force a fifth and deciding game of their National League Division Series at Busch Stadium.

Wacha, 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA in 2013, not only came within one out of throwing a no-hitter his last start. He's dominated the Pirates when he faced them in 2013, not allowing an earned run in nine innings of work while striking out six. However all of those innings, which came in one start and two relief appearances, occurred in St. Louis.

It's going to be a much different atmosphere in Pittsburgh where fans who haven't seen a playoff series appearance in two decades or a post season series win in more than four decades. They've been screaming their heads off for nine innings, creating what some consider to be an intimidating atmosphere.

I don't see it as intimidating as much as it is like two teams are trying to play a baseball game in the middle of a giant fraternity party. Regardless, I believe that distracting noise and waving banners would distract hitters more than they would bother pitchers.

On the other side of the ledger, Pirates starter Charlie Morton hasn't really had his way with Cardinals batsmen.

Morton lost two of three starts he made against the Redbirds in 2013 and was pounded early and often for 23 hits in 13 2/3 innings and a 7.90 ERA.

If the Cardinals can take advantage of Morton and win Game 4 of their NLDS against Pittsburgh, then the'll come home to the supportive atmosphere of Busch Stadium where ace Adam Wainwright will be on the mound. And Cardinals fans have to like their team's odds in those circumstances, regardless of who they are playing.