The Cardinals and the Dodgers both pack quite a punch. Their numbers look like this:
The Dodgers hold quite an advantage when it comes to offense. The Cardinals play less small ball than the Dodgers do, but as you see in the Tale of the Tape, the Dodgers have scored 50 runs more than the Redbirds.
Who to look out for:
Albert Pujols: It’s impossible to argue that the Cardinals have a better player than Pujols. The man is God personified. He finished the season hitting .327 (3rd), with 47 home runs (1st) and 135 RBIs (3rd). However, against the Dodgers, Pujols has been non-existent. He is hitting 6 for 27 (.222 BA), with a home run, and only two RBIs. He is a lifetime .323 hitter in the playoffs, and has hit 13 home runs in 5 years.
Manny Ramirez: One can argue that what was Manny Ramirez is now gone due to his 50-game suspension earlier this season. One can also argue that his return killed the chemistry of a once unbeatable Dodger club. However, what Manny Ramirez does best doesn’t occur in the regular season, it’s in the postseason. Ramirez has a .286 batting average, but has belted 28 home runs (most in postseason history), and driven in 74 RBIs. So say what you would like to say, but Manny is Manny, and Manny has been proven to be a winner wherever he has gone. He makes the lineup hit better, and he’ll be a major reason if the Dodgers end up in the NLCS.
The two teams haven’t done so bad as far as pitching goes either. Here’s how the numbers look for both teams:
The Cardinals starters are very durable. The 1-2 combination of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright is being called the best 1-2 punch since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2001 for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who won a championship. The Dodgers on the other hand, have had many question marks when it comes to their rotation due to injuries.
Who to look out for:
Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright: The two aces have combined this season for 36 wins, with an ERA of 2.52. Carpenter as a matter of fact has only allowed a run in his previous 20 innings pitched. Wainwright has allowed at least two earned runs in each of his last four starts. The Cardinals are 1-3 in the games. This year versus the Dodgers:
- Chris Carpenter: 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA. He struck out 10 and walked three in two outings.
- Adam Wainwright: 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA. He struck out eight and walked two in two outings.
Clayton Kershaw: Kershaw comes off of a terrific season, that saw him post an ERA of 2.79. After missing two weeks in early September, Kershaw has bounced back quite nicely. Most recently against the Rockies on Saturday night in the Western Division clincher, Kershaw struck out 10 batters in six innings pitched. His command is still a little shaky, but the kid has made it known that he shines brightest under the biggest pressure situations. Against the Cards this season, Kershaw has not factored in a decision, but posted a 1.54 ERA. He struck out 12 and walked 6 in two outings. An important note here, is made on July 29th in St. Louis where Kershaw held the Cards to no runs on four hits in 8.0 innings pitched. He was lifted in favor of Jonathan Broxton, who would go on to blow the game, and the Dodgers would lose in extras.
Bullpen: The Dodgers have racked up 44 saves versus the Cards’ 43 saves. Both closer have had their ups and downs throughout the season, but when on their game are among the best in baseball.
Ryan Franklin: The Cardinals’ closer has been a pleasant surprise for most of the season. He racked up 35 saves through the end of August, posting an ERA of 1.05. To that point he had only blown two saves. Since that point, his ERA in the final month of the season was 6.93, with 3 saves and 3 blown saves. Does he have enough gas left in the tank to close out the Dodgers three times?
Jonathan Broxton: The Dodgers have had some great closers in the past, and each successor has followed up nicely. Many critics have doubted Broxton‘s chances to continue the Dodgers’ bullpen success. Before his blown save against the Pirates a couple weeks ago, Broxton had converted 11 saves in a row. He hadn’t allowed a run in 20 consecutive appearances. Keep in mind that last season against the Cubs he dominated in relief of Takashi Saito.
Series: in 5
Jon’s Take: I think that the Dodgers have a very strong chance to do well in this year’s postseason. I think that the Dodgers got the best possible outcome for the playoffs as well. Everybody knows that this team has fallen hard in the last few weeks. Did you also know that the Cardinals have been equally bad, if not worse? Did you know that the Dodgers played the Cardinals both times at the peak of their stride? Carpenter has a history of shutting down the Dodgers, but if he catches the right Dodger team tomorrow, he can be in for a long game.
I read somewhere that a poster was upset that Clayton Kershaw would not start game 1, and would instead start game 2. Keep in mind that Kershaw will be starting game 5 as well. Who else would you rather have in that position?
Should be a fun one. Game times are as follows:
- Game 1 @ LA: Wednesday, October 7th, 6:37 PM TBS
- Game 2 @ LA: Thursday, October 8th, 3:07 PM TBS
- Game 3 @ STL: Saturday, October 10th, 3:07 PM TBS
- Game 4 @ STL: Sunday, October 11th, TBD TBS (If necessary)
- Game 5 @ LA: Tuesday, October 13th, TBD TBS (If necessary)
FYI, my predictions for the rest of the series are as follows:
- Rockies over Phillies in 4
- Angels over Red Sox in 5
- Yankees over Tigers in 3
- Yankees over Twins in 4