The setting for the National League Division Series now shifts to Chicago’s North Side, with Game 3 starting later today at 5 p.m. Central Time.
As you’re no doubt aware, it’s The Jake Arrieta Show!!! — meaning why are the Cardinals even bothering to play today, right? Shouldn’t they just forfeit and go have a nice team dinner instead — especially since, according to a stat I heard Matt Vasgersian spout off before yesterday’s Game 3 in the American League Division Series between the Royals and Astros — the team that wins Game 3 takes the entire series 80 percent of the time?
Given that the Cardinals have a recent postseason history to look back on, we can also see just how that 80 percent stat holds up for our Redbirds — especially helpful considering the Cards won all four series.
Against the Dodgers in last year’s NLDS, they won Game 3 with Kolten Wong’s seventh inning 2-run homer putting them ahead, 3-1.
In 2013, Game 3 was in Pittsburgh, with Joe Kelly starting against Francisco Liriano … who was pretty unbeatable at home then, if you remember. Neither of the starters factored in the final outcome — a 5-3 Pittsburgh win.
Looking back to 2012 and the NLDS against the Nationals, Game 3 was a start by Chris Carpenter against Edwin Jackson — and Edwin was kind to his old teammates from the previous year. The Cards easily won 8-0.
Then there’s 2011. Game 3 was the first at Busch Stadium of the series, with the Phillies taking this one 3-2. All of the Phillies runs came on a home run by Ben Francisco, pinch-hitting for Cole Hamels in the seventh inning, off Jaime Garcia.
In summary, in their four-year run of winning the division series and advancing to the NLCS, the Cardinals have won Game 3 twice — then gone on to lose the NLCS. They’ve lost Game 3 twice, obviously still advanced to the NLCS, won the National League pennant each year, and then both won and lost the World Series.
So when all the hype kicks in about The Jake Arrieta Show!!! during the game (which I’ll definitely have the television muted for), just remember that losing this game isn’t necessarily doom and gloom for the Cardinals — despite any statistics the announcers (or Cubs fans) might spout off.