Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis
When: 8:37 PM, ET – TBS
Series record: 0-0
Although it’s been nearly five years in the making, the St. Louis Cardinals are out for revenge.
Back in 2009, it was the Los Angeles Dodgers who ended the postseason hopes of St. Louis with a 3-0 Divisional Series sweep. It’s now the Cardinals who are hoping to pay back the Dodgers, this time with a trip to the World Series on the line.
Taking the hill for the Dodgers in Game 1 will be Zack Greinke, who draws the start over ace Clayton Kershaw (who will go on full rest come Game 2). Greinke himself has been no slouch during the 2013 postseason, throwing six innings of four hit, two run ball in his lone appearance (a loss) to the Atlanta Braves. The former first round pick only had one start against the Cardinals this season, giving up only two earned runs in 6.1 innings of work, though he was hit around allowing nine baserunners in the process. That start did come at Busch Stadium, so Grienke, who was a far better pitcher in the comfy confines of Dodger Stadium should have some familiarity with the mound on the road.
For the Cardinals, who used ace Adam Wainwright in the series clinching Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, they will counter with the young Joe Kelly. The start will be the second of the postseason for Kelly, who took a loss in Game 3 of the NLDS against the aforementioned Pirates.
Kelly has been nothing short of fantastic this season, especially after the All-Star break where he posted a 1.91 ERA in thirteen appearances, twelve of them starts. He, like his counterpart Zack Greinke has been solid, though, not spectacular against his opposition this season, giving up three earned runs and eleven hits in just 8.1 innings of work against the Dodgers. Unlike Grienke though, Kelly has been a master on the road while his home splits, while still extremely respectable, are noticeably worse than his statistics as a visitor.
On the injury front, things look a bit more positive for the Dodgers who are expected to get outfielder Andre Either back at some point during the series – possibly in Game 1. Either spent Wednesday working out at Dodger Stadium and looked relatively fluid, a positive sign for Los Angeles. For St. Louis, the news isn’t as good as RBI machine Allen Craig who is recovering from a foot injury will be left off the NLCS roster. St. Louis simply can’t afford to waste a bench spot on a player who would provide nothing more than pinch hitting appearances and would require a second player on the roster just to pinch run for him.
First pitch for Game 1 of the NLCS is scheduled for 8:37 ET.
Stay tuned for more coverage of both the NLCS and ALCS here at FanSided.