The Los Angeles Dodgers face the St Louis Cardinals on Friday in the start of the best-of-seven NLCS.
In the Divisional Series of the 2013 playoffs, the Dodgers handled the Braves in four games, and the Cardinals faced elimination before winning two in a row to knock out the Pirates. Los Angeles and St. Louis are the only remaining clubs in the NL, and they take each other on, starting Friday, in the National League Championship Series.
Yes, believe it or not, Dodger fans. Your team is just four wins away from reaching the World Series. But they have to do it against the best team in the NL in the seven-game championship series.
The Cardinals were the best offensive team in the NL this season, scoring 783 runs. That was 77 runs more than the next highest scoring team, Colorado, and 134 more than the Dodgers' 649 runs. St. Louis was ranked No. 1 or 2 in runs scored, doubles, batting average, on-base percentage and OPS.
The Dodgers and Cardinals faced each other seven times this year with LA winning the series 4-3. Most recently they played four games in St. Louis from Aug. 5-8, and the Dodgers dominated, winning three and outscoring the Cards 22-12.
The Cardinals will have home-field advantage throughout the NLCS. The best-of-seven series is divided in a 2-3-2 format, so Game 1 and 2 are in St. Louis, Game 3, 4, 5 will be in LA, and Game 6, 7 will be back in St. Louis.
The pitching match-ups for the first three games are: Zack Greinke vs. Joe Kelly, Clayton Kershaw vs. Michael Wacha, and either Hyun-Jin Ryu or Ricky Nolasco vs. Adam Wainwright.
In the Divisional Series, the Cardinals played all five games against the Pirates, forcing them to throw their ace, Wainwright, in the must-win Game 5. This alters the series match-ups because he will not start until Game 3.
The Dodgers will have the advantage for the first two games in St. Louis with their aces on the mound. They need to take advantage of the mismatch to gain momentum in the series, because when they return home they will face one of the best pitchers in the National League in Wainwright.
The fact that the Dodgers are unsure who will be their starter in Game 3 is somewhat alarming, but the options are not great. Over the course of the season, Ryu and Nolasco were important parts of this team's run, but they have both faltered near the end of the year, creating a big question mark as to who should be the Dodgers' Game 3, 4, and 7 starter.
This is going to be a great NLCS. If you can get your hands on some tickets, definitely take advantage of the opportunity. Dodger Stadium was a raucous, packed-house during the NLDS, and it is only going to get better as the playoffs go on.
Fri, Oct 11: Dodgers @ Cardinals 5:37 PST
Sat, Oct 12: Dodgers @ Cardinals 1:07 PST
Mon, Oct 14: Cardinals @ Dodgers 5:07 PST
Tues, Oct 15: Cardinals @ Dodgers 5:07 PST
Wed, Oct 16: Cardinals @ Dodgers 1:07 PST
Fri, Oct 18: Dodgers @ Cardinals 5:37 PST
Sat, Oct 19: Dodgers @ Cardinals 5:37 PST