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Cardinals inch Dodgers toward elimination

It hasn't always been pretty -- and it has caused me more than my fair share of acid indigestion -- but the St. Louis Cardinals have executed the formula necessary to win this seven-game National League Championship Series perfectly... So far.

The key, when you have the home field advantage, is to win the first two games at home to keep from giving that advantage back. Then you need to win at least one game on the road to guarantee the series comes back home. 

The Redbirds can end this series Wednesday and punch their ticket to the 2013 World Series. Or, if they lose, they at least assured themselves two chances to win one game on their home field.

In short, St. Louis has passed the point where they COULD win this series and have reached the stage where they SHOULD win it.

It's never easy. They lost a 3-1 lead last year against the San Francisco Giants. But the Redbirds have much better pitching this year than they did in 2012. There's no excuse for another historic collapse.

Instead, the Cardinals can etch their name in history by winning their fourth National League pennant in the last decade, a remarkable feat in the wildcard era.