After winning 94 games and cementing themselves as the second seed in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers will take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS.
The Dodgers fell in six games to the Cardinals in the NLCS in 2013 in a series that seemed to be lost when Hanley Ramirez went down with a broken rib in Game 1. While both squads return to the postseason, they look different than the teams that got there last season.
We take a look at some key stats, the coaching and the bench in our first part of a three-part NLDS preview:
The Dodgers finished the season 94-68, while the Cardinals won the NL Central with a 90-72 record. The NL West champions went 45-36 at home and 49-32 on the road. The Cardinals went 51-30 at home and 39-42 on the road.
Overall, the Dodgers finished with a team batting average of .265 and scored 718 runs, both good for second best in the league. They also lead the league with a .286 average with runners in scoring position. Meanwhile, the Cardinals hit .254 with RISP, hit .253 overall and scored 619 runs.
Pitching-wise, the Dodgers had a 3.40 overall ERA, ranking fourth in the NL. Their starters’ ERA is 3.20 (second in NL) and bullpen ERA is 3.80 (12th in NL). The Cardinals have a 3.50 ERA (eighth in NL) with a starters’ ERA of 3.44 ERA (fifth in NL) and a bullpen ERA of 3.62 (10th in NL).
Advantage: Dodgers (The better record and overall better numbers favor Los Angeles)
The Cardinals are led by Mike Matheny, who has a 275-211 record in three seasons. He led his team to an NL pennant in 2012. They have also won consecutive NL Central titles. Derek Lilliquist is the pitching coach and John Mabry is the hitting coach. Both are suited for their team. Jose Oquendo is one of the better third base coaches, while Chris Maloney runs first base.
The Dodgers have manager Don Mattingly, who has a 354-293 record in four seasons. He is often criticized for his in-game management, relying on matchups of same-handedness. Mattingly has led the Dodgers to consecutive NL West titles and an NLCS appearance. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt is one of the best in the league, while bench coach Tim Wallach was been a managerial candidate for a few teams in the off-season. Hitting coach Mark McGwire has helped a few Dodgers get through slumps. First base coach Davey Lopes is a veteran, while third base coach Lorenzo Bundy has had some growing pains in holding and sending runners.
Advantage: Cardinals (Matheny and the Cardinals have reached the World Series before, while Mattingly still struggles with big-time moments.)
Next Page: See Who Has The Advantage On The Bench