Aug 15, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) is congratulated by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (22) and Cardinals pitching coach Derek Lilliquist (27) after throwing out a Pittsburgh Pirates base runner on a stolen base attempt at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Pirates 6-5 in 12 innings. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

2013 National League Division Series Game 1 preview: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals

Who: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals

Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

When: 5:07 PM, ET – TBS

Series record: 0-0

It’s been over two decades since the Pittsburgh Pirates went to the postseason, a drought that was ended after their winner-take-all Wild Card victory against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

Jolly Roger flags are flying high around the Steel City and with good reason. They’re going to need them as they oppose the National League Central Division champions, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Both St. Louis and Pittsburgh come into the National League Division Series extremely hot, the Pirates winning six of seven while the Cardinals have reeled off eight of nine. Something is going to have to give.

Challenged with that responsibility will be starters, A.J. Burnett for Pittsburgh and Adam Wainwright for St. Louis.

Thankfully for the Cardinals, the extra rest has aligned Wainwright (19-9, 2.94 ERA) to take the mound in Game 1, something the Pirates weren’t able to do given their Wild Card berth. Still, Burnett, who went 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA is no slouch and has solid career numbers against the Cardinals.

Missing for the Red Birds will be first baseman Allen Craig, who is unlikely to take the field throughout the entirety of the postseason as he deals with a nagging Lisfranc injury. Replacing him will be the powerful Matt Adams, who has filled in admirably in the four weeks that Craig has been sidelined.

Somebody who will be on the Cardinals roster is closer Edward Mujica, who dealt with arm fatigue as the season came to a close. Despite his addition to the roster, given his struggles late in the season, it’s unlikely he’ll be used in overly high leverage situations as Trevor Rosenthal should find himself in the game if the Cardinals are in a save situation.

For the Pirates, they come in relatively healthy. Starling Marte had a few games to get healthy prior to postseason play as he recovered from a hand injury and looked to be back in form as the season came to a close.

Both Pittsburgh and St. Louis are well matched as evident by their 10-9 head-to-head record this season (Pittsburgh won the season series), though a four game sweep by the Cardinals near season end resulted in the Pirates falling from National League Central champs to a Wild Card berth.

Tags: 2013 MLB Playoffs Pittsburgh Pirates St. Louis Cardinals

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