NLDS Game 1 Preview: STL @ LAD

It feels like forever since the Major League Baseball season ended last Sunday, but the St. Louis Cardinals will return to the field this afternoon against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first game of the National League Divisional Series. It is the second straight season that the Dodgers and the Cardinals have met in the postseason. Last year, the Cardinals eliminated them from the postseason in the NL Championship Series in six games.

There may not be a better pitching matchup in the postseason than will take the mound in game one of the NLDS for the Cardinals and the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw, a pitcher who will probably win his third Cy Young Award in four seasons this year, facing Adam Wainwright, who probably would have won a couple of those Cy Young Awards if not for Kershaw.

Wainwright finished up his season strong after a slump in late July and August as he battled some dead arm issues. Over his last five starts of 2014, Wainwright posted a 5-0 record  1.38 ERA and pitched at least 7 innings and allowed 1 run or fewer in four of them. He took the loss in his only start against the Dodgers on June 26th as he pitched 8 innings and allowed 1 earned as the Cardinals lost 0-1. He carries a 2.53 career postseason ERA into his start and has never taken a loss in 5 NLDS starts. [click to continue…]

Postseason Predictions

Here are my predictions for how this postseason will play out. I don’t expect much from them as, while I’m really good at picking NFL playoff results, I very much suck at picking baseball postseason winners. Part of the problem is that the series’ are so long that anything can happen. Not that it being just picking one game is guarantee of anything, I had Oakland and Pittsburgh winning their Wild Card Games and we all know what happened there.

So without much further adieu, the Divisional Series’. [click to continue…]

Cardinals release their NLDS roster

The Cardinals released their roster for the Divisional Series matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers today. While we already knew the rotation, which Matheny gave us yesterday, the team released their full roster today.

There were some surprises, but they’d been softened for the last few weeks as everyone realized tough decisions were going to have to be made or not made. Those decisions were made as Mark Ellis, A.J. Pierzysnki, and Jason Motte were left off the roster.

Ellis wasn’t that big of a surprise, given that the veteran had an OPS+ this season about 20 points lower than what Pete Kozma put up last season. Granted Ellis never really found his footing this year, but Kozma has hit well since his September call up. I’m sure it’s a little disappointing for Ellis who signed with St. Louis specifically to pursue a World Series championship, but now he’s off the first playoff series roster and, unless something drastic changes, won’t be returning to it. [click to continue…]

Cardinals set NLDS rotation

Mike Matheny announced today his rotation for the National League Divisional Series matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Having already announced Adam Wainwright would be taking the mound in Game 1 opposite Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw, Matheny rounded out the rest of the rotation.

Lance Lynn, John Lackey, and Shelby Miller will start games two, three, and four in order for the St. Louis Cardinals. Wainwright would be expected to take the mound in a potential game five. Michael Wacha will be moved to the bullpen where he has an “undefined” role, per Matheny.

I’ll be honest that I half expected Matheny to select Wacha for the rotation with the way the team was pushing him in September, but the right decision was made. Wacha was not 100%. [click to continue…]

Why not let Wacha close? Part 2

On my way home from work these days I’m listening to The Dan Le Batard Show. I’m not a big fan of Le Batard, but they replaced the local show on our sports talk station when both hosts found other jobs over the summer. On Fridays they have a segment with Tim Kurkjian and they do a rapid fire of questions from callers for him. Tonight he was asked who he would select for the fourth rotation spot in the Cardinals’ postseason rotation: John Lackey or Michael Wacha.

Kurkjian was quick to answer that he’d take Lackey. Explaining that Wacha hasn’t looked good and pushing someone back off the DL was going to be a tall task. He also added that he expected Wacha to not even be on the roster.

Of course, I tweeted it. I meant to tweet a comment of Kurkjian’s last week when someone asked him if there was any better defensive outfielder than Jason Heyward. To which Kurkjian responded, nobody in the National League. Mr. Kurkjian, I have a Mr. Bourjos on line one. [click to continue…]