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NLCS Game 1 grades: Cardinals outlast Dodgers in marathon

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Spoiler alert: Carlos Beltran is getting a good grade. (USATSI)
Spoiler alert: Carlos Beltran is getting a good grade. (USATSI)

MORE: Game 1 quick hits | Dodgers-Cardinals: Who's got the edge?

ST. LOUIS -- After 13 innings and lethal doses of Carlos Beltran brilliance, Game 1 of the NLCS is done. The Cardinals of course prevailed over the visiting Dodgers by a score of 3-2, and now it's time to pass out some report cards ...

TeamGradeAnalysis
ACarlos Beltran, of course. We know about Beltran's legendary postseason chops, and we know about his clutch double, heave and walk-off single in Game 1. So let's lay it out in terms of Win Probability Added (WPA), which is a measure of clutch performance. In Game 1, Beltran notched a WPA of .358, which means all by himself he improved the Cardinals chances of winning the contest by 35.8 percent. No one else in Game 1 sniffed that figure.
B+Matt Carpenter. Coming off a brutal NLDS performance (he was 1-for-19 against the Pirates), Carpenter showed a patient approach at the plate against Zack Greinke and some tough Dodger relievers. For his efforts, Carpenter got on base three times in six trips to the plate and drew a critical walk in front of Beltran in the 13th.
CAndre Ethier. He was 1-for-5 with a walk at the plate. Also, he's not a particularly skilled center fielder, even when healthy. In Game 1, Ethier was of course manning center for the first time since Sept. 13 thanks to a lingering left ankle injury. Could a better/healthier fly-catcher have tracked down Carlos Beltran's critical two-run double in the third? Quite possibly. Ethier said after the game that he didn't think his ankle affected him on what was, to be fair, a tough play. Still, one wonders.
DMichael Young. It was a rough part-time night for the Dodgers' veteran role player. After entering the game in place of Adrian Gonzalez, Young went 0-for-2 with four runners left on base. He failed to drive in Mark Ellis in the 10th (although Beltran's spectacular throw had a little something to do with that), and he hit into a crushing, inning-ending double play in the 12th.
FReally, he made too many ham-fisted decisions to chronicle in this small space, but from his pinch-running to his untimely bunting to his bullpen handling, it was an awful Game 1 for the Dodgers' skipper.
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