Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Say what you want about the Los Angeles Dodgers, but they are having fun. And you know what? The St. Louis Cardinals could use a little bit of their swagger, as they try to close out this National League Championship Series.
Up 3-1 in the series, the Cardinals were the ones who came out tight on Wednesday in Game 4. Should they fall behind on Friday against Clayton Kershaw, a whole lot of bad memories will fill the heads of those inside Busch Stadium.
Los Angeles staved off elimination on Wednesday behind four home runs - two of which came off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez - in a 6-4 win over the Cardinals.
"We're still climbing that mountain," said Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis. "But we don't have as far to go today as we had 24 hours ago. So today was a big day."
Yasiel Puig and Gonzalez have drawn the ire of St. Louis by (gulp) showing some personality on the bases. While St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright didn't chime in on Puig's over-exuberant standup triple the other night, he was not too fond of Gonzalez' "Mickey Mouse stuff at second."
Wainwright essentially said that Gonzalez was heckling him as he went into his delivery on Monday.
Gonzalez laughed it off then by saying, "We're in L.A.," then on Wednesday, put both hands up to the sides of his helmet - like Mickey Mouse ears - after the first of his two home runs and put Chavez Ravine into a frenzy.
"I was just having fun with the comment that was made," Gonzalez said. "Nothing against them or anything. It was just to have fun."
Isn't baseball supposed to be fun?
St. Louis can complain about Gonzalez and Puig or all they want. There is an easy way to avoid all this. Get them out. Shouldn't the Cardinals be focused on something else anyway rather than becoming baseball's narc squad.
Then again, maybe they are tight. The Cardinals haven't been able to close an NLCS out the last two times they've been in this position. And it's not like it's been a while since it happened.
St. Louis blew a 3-1 series lead to the San Francisco Giants last year.
"I mean, it's different," Molina said. "I don't know why you guys continue talking about last year. It���s different. We're facing another team this year."
In fact, they've lost rather epically, as the two other times the Cardinals have blown these advantages they were outscored 52-2 in the six games that followed.
Now the series shifts back to St. Louis for Game 6, but awaiting the Cardinals is the best pitcher on the planet in Kershaw, but one they have already beaten three times this season.
Kershaw was certainly up to the task against the Cards in Game 2, but his offense failed him, as it has for most of this series. The lineup seemed to get on track Wednesday and that may be bad news for Mike Matheny's club.
St. Louis had its chances early on Wednesday, as it loaded the bases with no outs, but Zack Greinke pitched out of it by striking out Matt Adams and getting Yadier Molina to hit into a double play.
"When Zack got out of that inning with no runs, it was just a huge momentum swing in the game," Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis said. "Sometimes a game is won or lost in that first inning. I think that first inning had a huge impact on today's game."
Even with Wednesday's loss, the advantage still tilts toward the Cardinals, who have won 25 of 31 home games since Aug. 11.
Not to mention St. Louis will throw its two best pitchers in Michael Wacha in Game 6 and potentially Wainwright in Game 7 should that be necessary.
Wacha beat Kershaw last Saturday and has been nails this postseason, pitching to a 0.64 ERA.
But then again, in five combined starts against Kershaw and Game 7 starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, who tossed seven scoreless innings versus St. Louis on Monday, the Cardinals have managed seven runs in 33 innings.
"I think if you look at it now, we've kind of become America's team because everyone wants to see a seventh game," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Probably even fans in St. Louis want to see a seventh game, so I figure that everyone's for us to win on Friday night."
You may want to check in with the people in St. Louis on that one, Donnie.