National Sports

Can the Cards and Giants advance?

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(AP) — San Francisco and St. Louis can clinch their respective National League divisional playoff series with a win today. The Cardinals took a 2-1 lead over the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday with a 3-1 victory. That set the stage for this afternoon’s game with Shelby Miller pitching for the Cards against Clayton Kershaw. In the opening game of this best of five series Kershaw, a favorite to win the Cy Young Award again this season, gave up eight runs in 6 2/3 innings of work. The left-hander, who will be pitching on just three days’ rest, doesn’t have a history of success against the Cardinals. In his last three playoff games against St. Louis, he has an 8.10 earned run average. For Miller this is his first playoff start. He sealed the spot in the rotation by going 4-1 with a 1.48 ERA in his five September starts.

A year ago the Cardinals finished off the Dodgers in six games in the National League Championship Series with Kershaw taking the loss.

Should the Dodgers win today’s game the fifth and final game of the series will be played Thursday in L.A.

The Giants lead the Nationals 2-1 after yesterday’s 4-1 loss to Washington in San Francisco. They’ll be squaring off again tonight, and once again, if the Giants win, they will be headed to the National League Championship series. However, if the Nats bounce back and win today’s game a fifth and final contest would be played in Washington on Thursday.

The pitching matchup this evening has Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals, who hasn’t fared well in postseason play, facing off with Ryan Vogelsong. Gonzalez has started two post season games, both in 2012, and gave up five runs in 10 innings while walking 11. On the other hand, Vogelsong has an excellent postseason record, 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in four starts.


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