Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Nail-biters the norm in '14 postseason

With two clinchers Tuesday, there have been 10 one-run games in playoffs

MLB Notebook: Nail-biters the norm in '14 postseason

In 2012 -- the first year that the Division Series round followed Wild Card contests -- there were eight one-run games through the conclusion of the four LDS matchups. Last year, that total dipped to six. In 2014, thanks in part to a pair of 3-2 contests to close out the two NLDS, there have been 10 one-run games thus far.

The Dodgers-Cardinals series and Giants-Nationals series each produced three, while the Orioles-Tigers matchup had two, the Royals-Angels tilt produced one, and the epic duel between the Royals and Athletics in the American League Wild Card game offered the first of the year.

National League Division Series (Dodgers vs. Cardinals)
The Cardinals jumped on Clayton Kershaw for three runs in the seventh inning Tuesday-- courtesy of two singles and a three-run homer from Matt Adams -- and that was enough to claim a 3-2 victory and a series win in four games.

  Date   Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   STL 10, LAD 9 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   LAD 3, STL 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   STL 3, LAD 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   STL 3, LAD 2 video

The Cardinals will be playing in their fourth straight National League Championship Series, and 13th overall. The 13 are the most for any NL club, two ahead of the Braves' tally. The Redbirds are the first NL team to play in four straight LCS rounds since the Braves participated in every one from 1991-99. This will be the fourth time the Cardinals have faced the Giants for the right to claim the NL Pennant. The clubs also met in the 1987, 2002 and '12 NLCS.

• The Cardinals defeated Kershaw twice in five days after the left-hander took only three losses all season (May 17, May 28, Aug. 16), and the Dodgers were 23-4 in his starts. During this series, St. Louis went deep three times against him, with two --Adams' shot in Game 4 and Matt Carpenter's homer in Game 1 -- coming in lefty-vs.-lefty matchups. During the regular season, Kershaw allowed one homer to a lefty batter, and in 2013-14 combined, over 314 plate appearances against lefty hitters, he allowed just three.

• In their first victory over Kershaw (in Game 1), Cardinals batters fanned 10 times against Kershaw. Tuesday, they whiffed nine times against the southpaw. Kershaw was the second starter in history -- joining Josh Beckett in 2003 -- to have two losses in a single postseason in which he struck out at least nine in both games. Beckett's first loss came in Game 1 of the NLDS, and his second in Game 3 of the World Series. Prior to this postseason, there had been nine such performances in Division Series history, with the most recent coming from the Phillies' Cliff Lee in Game 2 of the '11 NLDS, also against the Cardinals.

• Adams' three-run homer in the seventh was the seventh in postseason history to come in the seventh inning or later and turn a deficit of two or more runs into a lead, and the first since Game 2 of the 2005 World Series, when Paul Konerko hit a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning with his White Sox trailing, 4-2.

National League Division Series (Nationals vs. Giants)
The Giants scored one run on a walk, another on a groundout and a third on a wild pitch in their NLDS-clinching 3-2 win over the Nationals in Game 4 on Tuesday.

  Date Time Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   SF 3, WAS 2 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   SF 2, WAS 1 (18 inn.) video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   WAS 4, SF 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   SF 3, WAS 2 video

The Giants won this game without the benefit of an extra-base hit. The most recent NL team to win a postseason clincher without a double, triple or homer was the Cardinals in Game 5 of the 2006 World Series. Before that, only five other NL teams had done this: the 1926 Cardinals in Game 7 of the World Series, the '44 Cardinals in Game 6 of the World Series; the '90 Reds in Game 6 of the NLCS, the '97 Marlins in Game 6 of the NLCS and the '98 Padres in Game 6 of the NLCS.

The Giants will be making their seventh NLCS appearance. They also faced St. Louis in 1987, 2002 and '12, while they took on the Pirates in 1971, the Cubs in '89 and the Phillies in 2010.

• Giants rookie second baseman Joe Panik contributed two hits, a run scored (the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the seventh) and an RBI. Panik also had multihit games in the NL Wild Card Game win, and in Game 1 of this LDS. With three multihit games in his first five career postseason contests, Panik joins five other Giants players in that claim line: Monte Irvin had at least two hits in four of his first five, while Will Clark, Frankie Frisch, Don Mueller, and Dave Robertson had three multihit performances.

Bryce Harper homered and doubled, driving in both of the Nationals runs. Harper was 21 years and 356 days old for this contest, and thus the third-youngest player to produce at least two extra-base hits and at least two RBIs in a clincher. The youngest? Harper, at age 19 years and 362 days, had a triple, homer and two RBIs in a loss to the Cardinals in Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS.

• Harper joined Mickey Mantle, Andruw Jones and Miguel Cabrera as the only players to have four postseason home runs before turning 22. Harper's seven career postseason extra-base hits are the most for any player before turning 22. Mantle and Cabrera each had six.

• In a no-decision, Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong allowed one run on two hits and two walks while fanning four in 5 2/3 innings. Vogelsong has made five career postseason starts, worked at least five innings in all five and allowed no more than one run in any of them. Only Curt Schilling, with six, has made more consecutive postseason starts with one or no runs allowed.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.