NLDS: Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
The National League Central division sent three teams to the postseason and boasted the three best records in baseball. After defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night 4-0 at PNC Park, Chicago has earned the right to move on. Two of those teams the Cubs and the Cardinals will now battle for the NLDS at Busch Stadium starting on Friday for their first meeting in postseason history.
Game 1 Matchup:
After a dominating Wild Card performance by Jake Arrieta on Wednesday night, the Chicago Cubs will send LHP Jon Lester (3.34, 11-12) against a guy he knows a little something about, former Boston Red Sox teammate RHP John Lackey (2.77, 13-10) of the St. Louis Cardinals.
In hi9s first season with the Cubs, Lester hasn’t been everything the team had hoped but his post season experience could help a team with a lot of youth like the Cubs make a playoff run. In twelve career postseason starts, Lester is 6-4 with a 2.57 ERA which will definitely be needed as the Cubs take on a first place team like the Cards. There are quite a few Cardinals that have had success against Lester within the last few years. Jason Heyward has hit for .417 in 24 at-bats which included a homer and 2 RBIs. Jhonny Peralta has had 25 at-bats against the lefty and has hit .320 with 3 homers and 5 RBIs. Cubs’ star Anthony Rizzo however has struggled against Lackey, hitting just 0.83 in 12 at-bats against the righty.
Game 2 Matchup:
Early Saturday evening the Cubs will send RHP Kyle Hendricks (3.95, 8-7) to the mound as LHP Jaime Garcia (2.43, 10-6) goes out for the Cardinals.
Hendricks doesn’t have a lot of experience against the Cardinals’ lineup which could payoff in his favor because they haven’t seen his arsenal of pitches as of yet. Matt Carpenter has a homer and 3 RBIs while hitting .600 off of Hendricks Matt Holliday also has 2 homers and 4 RBIs off the righty.
Garcia also doesn’t have much experience with this young Cubs’ lineup but whether that will play a factor will be left to be seen as most of the season has been spent with them facing unfamiliar pitchers. Starlin Castro has hit .308 in 13 at-bats against Garcia and the last time that Miguel Montero faced the left-hander he hit a two run homer.
The remainder of the five game series lineups and pitching match-ups will be posted this weekend.
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