After splitting the first two games of the NLDS, in part due to an improbable comeback in game one against the NL's best pitcher and likely Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, the Cardinals return home for two games starting Monday night.
Taking the mound for the Cardinals is John Lackey, otherwise known as the guy the Cards traded both Allen Craig and Joe Kelly for back in July. Lackey will be making his first postseason appearance since winning game 6 of the 2013 World Series against the Cardinals.
Lackey has earned a bit of a reputation as a big game pitcher, with people noting that he out dueled Detroit ace Justin Verlander last year in game 3 of the ALCS and of course his big win in game 6 of the World Series.
However, is he really all that clutch?
This is Lackey's 6th postseason. His first postseason with the Angels back in 2002 was pretty special, as he went 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA including winning game 7 of the World Series against the Giants.
Last year was also kinda special, as he earned his second World Series ring while going 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA.
However, in between, he has gone 1-4 with a 3.40 ERA, not terrible stats, at least from an ERA standpoint, but hardly the resume of a "big game" pitcher.
Sometimes players can build a reputation from just a few games or one great season, weather its warranted or not. Just ask Allen Craig, who hit .454 with RISP in 2013, how "clutch" he was in 2014.
As statisticians always say, "beware of small sample sizes".
So while Cardinals fans are hoping for another "big game" performance from Lackey in game 3, I'll just be hoping for a win.