The St. Louis Cardinals made some major moves to take care of two weaknesses at the trade deadline: relief pitching and defense. Those two factors were the difference in the game Friday night as the St. Louis Cardinals took a 3-2 series lead against the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS.

Albert Pujols and David Freese continued to do their share of the offensive damage as they combined for two hits, a walk, two runs and an RBI on three of the Cardinals’ runs.

Matt Holliday, for the second night in a row showed indications that his finger is recovering as he went 3-for-5 with two RBI and a double. 

Catcher Yadier Molina also started showing signs of getting his bat going as he went 3-for-4 with one RBI and one run. 

But the real story in Game 5 of the NLCS for the Cardinals was again their bullpen, as they threw for 4.1 innings and gave up zero runs. The Cards bullpen on the series has now thrown 21.2 innings—just one less than that Cardinal starters—have given up only 12 hits over that span, and have a collective ERA of only 1.69. 

Part of that is the brilliance of Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa getting the right pitcher in against the right batter. Many of the key pitchers are also those who who were acquired at the trade deadline or off the waiver wire. 

Friday night’s winner, Octavio Dotel, was one of the pitchers picked up in the trade with Toronto and picked up his second postseason win.

Marc Rzepczynski, aka The Alphabet, pitched a key out to get Prince Fielder to strike out with two men on base. 


Lance Lynn was moved to starter after he came off the DL, in part because the trade for Edwin Jackson allowed that luxury. Lynne pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in Game 5.

Finally Jason Motte has solved the “closer” problem whether he’s officially the closer or not. While he’s not a new acquisition, he’s been the primary closer since the trade deadline, and has only blown one save since and has an ERA. 

Motte has now been perfect in 8.0 postseason innings, retiring all 24 batters he’s faced this year, and in one inning of work in 2009. 

The other major factor in the game was defense, as four Milwaukee errors resulted in five Cardinals runs. In adding Rafael Furcal before the trade deadline, the Cardinals addressed their largest defensive liability.

The Cardinals were one of the worst offenders in the regular season in terms of giving up errors, but in the postseason they’ve only committed three—fewer than what Milwaukee did in the latest outing.

For now, the Cardinals and Brewers will face off in Miller Park on Sunday afternoon, though that may change should Texas win Game 6 Saturday and clinch their series.

Should that happen, it’s likely the St. Louis-Milwaukee clash would move to the prime time slot at 7:05 PM EST. 

The projected starters in that game are Shaun Marcum and Edwin Jackson, another acquisition.

Marcum’s postseason ERA of 11.25 does not bode well though. Should the series go to a seventh game, it is likely aces Chris Carpenter for St. Louis and Yovani Gallardo for the Brewers would square off. 

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