Found October 18, 2011 on The Diamond's Edge:

Jackson is going to have to step it up to give the Cards their best chance

The Cards were able to get past the Brewers. They were underdogs for that series, and for their opening series against the Phillies, but it has been their pitching that has surprised and made their improbable run possible. 36 year old Chris Carpenter has showed no signs of fatigue, despite pitching 237.1 innings this season. His complete game shutout in Game 5 of the Phillies series was phenomenal, as he gave up only three hits while striking out three, as well. Jaime Garcia has been rock solid, as well. Kyle Lohse, not so much. Lohse has given up 9 runs in his last 9 innings, while failing to pitch past the fifth inning in either apperance. Edwin Jackson has been even worse. He hasn’t made it past the fourth inning in either of his last two starts, and last start he was replaced in the second inning after giving up four runs and four hits, three of which were homers.

Can the Cardinals manage to pitch enough quality games to win this series?

Certainly, Carpenter offers a lot of hope, and Garcia has been hit and miss (one quality start in his last three), but Lohse and Jackson are downright dangerous.  If Jackson starts pitching up grapefruits for Ian Kinsler and company, it could spell doom for the Cards.  The positive is that in a seven game series, they could pitch Carpenter and Garcia twice, by virtue of frontloading them in the first two games.  That is the beauty of having four or five starters and playing in a seven game series.  Just by virtue of having Carpenter and Garcia, they can get four quality starts, which would be enough to win the series.

The fact remains, if anything stops this Cardinals team, it will be inferior pitching.  It’s an ironic stance when it seems their pitching has been enough against superior offenses like the Brewers, but it will take another climbing of mount improbable for this one to go down.  Lohse and Jackson are going to have to re-capture the successes they had during the regular season or the favored Rangers will prevail.


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