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Cardinals and Giants will reprise 2012 NLCS after knocking off Nationals and Dodgers

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@yippee@

If Yasiel Puig never bats, then he can't "disrespect baseball" by flipping his bat in the air.
If Yasiel Puig never bats, then he can't "disrespect baseball" by flipping his bat in the air.
Christian Petersen

Faced with a must-win game in St. Louis, Don Mattingly decided to stick his regular season offensive WAR leader on the bench. Andre Ethier started in Yasiel Puig's place and walked twice, getting picked off one of those times. But worry not! Mattingly did save Puig for a key 9th inning situation! Yes, that's right he used him as a pinch...

runner. And so his top offensive player never batted and "Donnie Baseball" gets to watch the rest of the postseason from his couch while hoping his phone never rings.

As far as his other big decision, pitching Clayton Kershaw on short rest, "Don't Call me Lonnie" achieved moderate success. Kershaw pitched 1-hit ball for six innings but gave up 3 runs without getting an out in the seventh. As usual, the Cardinals did crap that they hadn't done all season long to advance to the NLCS.

As for the other NL series that ended yesterday, the Nationals were defeated 3 runs to 2 by San Francisco, leaving Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Stephen Strasburg in the bullpen so that they could use Rafael Soriano and some guy named Barrett in a 1-run game. I guess it's fitting that San Francisco ended Said Team's season by scoring on a wild pitch. Just like. They drew. It up.

"Tito" Francona continues to look better by the day. Until he convinces Antopiro to pick up Mike Aviles' overpriced option.

• Those St. Louis Cardinals are so smart. So smart that they gave something of value for Justin Masterson.

• The Arizona Diamondbacks continued their "Cut Guys That Better Teams Want" ways, this time losing two players to the Angels.

• Less than five months after pitching a no-hitter, Josh Beckett announced that he plans to retire. The only reason that I don't say terrible things about him frequently is that he was really awesome when he took down the Yankees in the World Series that one year. Plus, he has been quite bad against the Indians for a while now.

Now, look at baseball turn into something ridiculous: