Matchup: #3 Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70) vs. #1 St. Louis Cardinals (97-65)
Regular Season Head-to-Head: Dodgers won 4-3
By the Numbers:
LAD- .264/.326/.396/.722, 104 OPS+, 4.0 R/G, +67 differential, 3.25 ERA, 110 ERA+
STL- .269/.332/.401/.733, 104 OPS+, 4.8 R/G, +187 differential, 3.43 ERA, 107 ERA+
LAD- Defeated #2 Atlanta Braves 3-1
STL- Defeated #4 Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2
Probable Starting Lineups (by position)
LAD– C A.J. Ellis, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, 2B Mark Ellis, SS Hanley Ramirez, 3B Juan Uribe, LF Carl Crawford, CF Skip Schumaker (could be Andre Ethier instead), RF Yasiel Puig
STL- C Yadier Molina, 1B Matt Adams, 2B Matt Carpenter, SS Pete Kozma, 3B David Freese, LF Matt Holliday, CF Jon Jay, RF Carlos Beltran
Probable Pitching Matchups:
Game 1 (10/11 @STL): Zack Greinke (15-4, 2.63 ERA) vs. Joe Kelly (10-5, 2.69 ERA)
Game 2 (10/12 @STL): Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83 ERA) vs. Michael Wacha (4-1, 2.78 ERA)
Game 3 (10/14 @LAD): Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.94 ERA) vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-8, 3.00 ERA)
Game 4 (10/15 @LAD): Lance Lynn (15-10, 3.97 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (8-3, 3.52 ERA w/ LAD)
Game 5* (10/16 @LAD): Rematch of Game 1
Game 6* (10/18 @STL): Rematch of Game 2
Game 7* (10/19 @STL): Rematch of Game 3
The St. Louis Cardinals are in the National League Championship Series for the third straight year, while the Los Angeles Dodgers are here for the first time since 2009 when they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies two years in a row.
This is the fourth time the two teams have met in the playoffs. St. Louis famously beat LA in 1985 in the NLCS with help from Ozzie Smith and his “Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!” home run. In 2004, the 105-win Cardinals dismissed the Dodgers in four games in the NLDS. Five years later, the Dodgers swept the Cards in the 2009 NLDS.
The Cardinals finished tied with Boston for the best record in baseball while the Dodgers won 62 of their last 90 games, a 111-win pace. The Cardinals have a lot of youth and resilient veterans on their side, having won nine of 10 elimination games in the last three years. The Dodgers have a ton of star talent led by two former Cy Young winners, one possibly to add another and possibly the MVP award.
The Cardinals are at a disadvantage by not having Wainwright available until Game 3, forcing them to start two rookies against Kershaw and Greinke, even with homefield advantage. They have to find a way to win at least one of their four total starts if they’re going to force a Game 7 with Waino on the mound. The Cards are very pesky and will give the Dodgers a fight, but I think LA’s dynamic duo will be too much for this young team.
Prediction: Dodgers in 6, Kershaw MVP