NL Wild Card Preview
Friday night at 5:07, the first game of the Major League Baseball postseason will begin when the St. Louis Cardinals head to Atlanta for a one-game, win-and-in playoff game against the Braves. This is what you need to know about these two teams:
St. Louis Cardinals
THE PITCHING MATCHUP:
Kyle Lohse, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
2012: 16-3, 33 starts, 2.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 211 IP, 143:38 K:BB
2012 vs. ATL: 0-0, 1 start, 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 5 IP, 3:1 K:BB
Career vs. ATL: 3-1, 10 starts, 4.97 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 54.1 IP, 33:13 K:BB
Career at Turner Field: 2-0, 4 starts, 3.52 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 23 IP, 15:7 K:BB
Career in postseason: 0-4, 9 games (4 starts), 5.54 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 26 IP, 25:5 K:BB
2012: 10-1, 50 games (12 starts), 1.57 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 138 IP, 120:23 K:BB
2012 vs. STL: 0-0, 3 games (0 starts), 4.76 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 5.2 IP, 5:0 K:BB
Career vs. STL: 0-0, 5 games (0 starts), 3.72 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 9.2 IP, 8:1 K:BB
Career at Turner Field: 7-5, 62 games (14 starts), 2.52 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 161 IP, 141:38 K:BB
Career in postseason: Friday’s start will be Medlen’s first postseason appearance.
TOP PERFORMERS IN 2012:
St. Louis Cardinals
Runs: Matt Holliday, 95
Hits: Matt Holliday, 177
Doubles: Matt Holliday, 36
Triples: Daniel Descalso, 7
Home Runs: Carlos Beltran, 32
RBI: Matt Holliday, 102
Stolen Bases: Jon Jay, 19
Average: Yadier Molina, .315
OPS: Matt Holliday, .877
Runs: Michael Bourn, 96
Hits: Martin Prado, 186
Doubles: Martin Prado, 42
Triples: Michael Bourn, 10
Home Runs: Jason Heyward, 27
RBI: Freddie Freeman, 94
Stolen Bases: Michael Bourn, 42
Average: Martin Prado, .301
OPS: Chipper Jones, .832
What to Expect:
While Kris Medlen has been masterful in the starting rotation, he has not faced the Cardinals as a starting pitcher, nor has he ever appeared in a postseason game. If he has jitters, the Cardinals and their powerful lineup, featuring Craig, Holliday, and Beltran at its center, could feast on his inexperience.
With that being said, Kyle Lohse has not been effective in the postseason in his nine career appearances. He looks to be a completely different pitcher than he was in previous seasons, posting the best overall numbers of his rollercoaster career in 2012.
Because Atlanta’s fans are accustomed to the postseason, due to their tremendous streak under Bobby Cox, Turner Field will be loud and crazy. The home-field advantage for Atlanta could be a huge difference-maker in this single-elimination matchup.
With Atlanta’s ability to use their speed, Yadier Molina could be a huge asset tonight, especially with Brian McCann sitting out due to a shoulder ailment in the Braves dugout.
This should be a low scoring game, but Atlanta’s speed and the experience of Chipper Jones could go a long way in this game. Atlanta wins and gets the Washington Nationals after winning tonight, 4-1.