The St. Louis Cardinals entered Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Friday up three games to one on the San Francisco Giants, just one win from securing a spot in the World Series. All they had to do was beat Giants starter Barry Zito, who hasn’t had an earned-run average under 4.03 in six years.
That sounds doable enough. The Cardinals scored eight runs the night before against 2008 and 2009 Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. Instead, Zito, who did win a Cy Young award with the Oakland A’s in 2002, shut the Cardinals down for eight innings, and the Giants won 5-0.
That means instead of a free weekend to rest and prepare for Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday at home against the Detroit Tigers, the Cardinals had to trek back out to San Francisco. Additionally, they will face Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain in games 6 and 7, against whom the Cardinals have scored a combined four runs in their first starts of the series.
The Cardinals could have wrapped up the NL pennan...