NLCS Game 1 grades: Cardinals outlast Dodgers in marathon

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

MOREGame 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
A Carlos 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. 
C Andre 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. 
D Michael 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. 
F Really, 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.
CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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