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Cardinals Rally Late, Eliminate Dodgers 3-1

In the hours leading up to Game 4 of the NLDS between the Dodgers and the Cardinals, with the series returning to St. Louis, there was a sense of inevitability. A quick scan of the headlines revealed a plethora of problems that have plagued LA, none of which could be resolved by shuffling the lineup.

That’s not to say they didn’t try. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly made the decision to bench a struggling Yasiel Puig in favor of veteran outfielder Andre Ethier. His assertion the move gave his team the “best chance to win” was hard to argue—until the sixth-inning of Game 3, Puig had struck out in seven consecutive at-bats.

And he wasn’t doing much better in the games prior.

Though Puig’s struggles have paled in comparison to those of the Dodgers’ bullpen, which has imploded this postseason. The pen allowed a home run in each of the first three games and was responsible for a stunning late-game rally by the Cardinals in Game 1.

Pitching woes is what forced a start by Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday, operating on very short rest having started last Friday. Kershaw held steady for LA through five innings, but gave up a home run to Matt Adams in the sixth, which put St. Louis ahead 3-2.

If the outcome wasn’t inevitable going into the game, it certainly was by that point. Under manager Mike Matheny, who has advanced to the NLCS in each of his first three years in St. Louis, the Cardinals have shown a remarkable knack for soul-crushing, come from behind victories in the postseason.

They did it again against the Dodgers in Game 4. It was the first lead of the game for the Cardinals, and it would hold.

The Cardinals advance, eliminating the Dodgers, and will play the winner of the GiantsNationals series.

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