While the national media and other Los Angeles Dodgers cheerleaders whine that it was a fluke the St. Louis Cardinals defeated their team in the playoffs -- again -- it makes me wonder exactly what it is the Redbirds would have to do to earn a little bit of respect.
The Fox announcers completely dismissed the Cardinals' chances before the game, declaring -- to a man -- that Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw would shut down St. Louis and send the series back to California for a fifth and deciding game.
It's true that the Redbirds' two wins over Kershaw in the series were of a dramatic nature. But the Cardinals seem to have figured out a system that works when combating one of the elite pitchers in baseball. And it's no accident.
The Cardinals, like in Game 1, forced Kershaw to work and, by the time he reached the sixth inning, the big lefty was over the 90 pitch threshold. After that, in both games, Kershaw quickly started to spring leaks and, ultimately, lost the lead.
In Game 1 it was like a slow motion train wreck as Kershaw was allowed to blow a five-run lead in a barrage of hits. In Game 4, Kershaw's demise came quick as a lightning strike. A pair of non-threatening scratch hits -- followed by a rocket into the Cardinals bullpen. But the overall scenario and the timing were identical.
While the Fox folks might have been unimpressed, what the Cardinals have done to Kershaw isn't a fluke or an anomaly. Those are once in a career type events that can't be explained. It's difficult to deny that the Redbirds mastery over Kershaw isn't a trend by this point. After all, this is the third-consecutive playoff game in which the Cardinals have defeated him.
Los Angeles fans can argue that it's dumb luck that the Redbirds beat their team until they're Dodger blue in the face. But the fact is that good teams find a way to win games. The Cardinals, obviously, have no regard for the opinions of pundits or statistics on paper.
They find a way to get the job done one way or another. That's paid off in four-consecutive trips to the National League Championship Series. As far as I am concerned, other teams don't have to like the Cardinals. But you're record proves who you really are. And the Birds' track record is too long not to demand that they at least be respected.