Los Angeles Dodgers vs St. Louis Cardinals Preview

Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers take on the Cardinals. Photo Courtesy: Malingering
Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers take on the Cardinals. Photo Courtesy: Malingering

By Rodney Fisher

The two best teams in the National League will either begin or end their journey in the NLCS. The St. Louis Cardinals will have a chance to tie the MLB record for World Series appearances currently held by the Giants with 19. Their opponent, the Los Angeles Dodgers, can do the same. Both teams have some of the deeper roots in all sports and both are deserving to play in this series.

St. Louis Cardinals
The Cards have beaten the Dodgers in the only two times they have faced off for the NL pennant, 1946 and 1985. Their ace, Adam Wainwright, will not be available until Game 3 on the west coast. They won two out three in Dodger Stadium this season, but also lost three out of four in Busch Stadium to the Dodgers.

They also have the best hitter in the National League statistically during the regular season with Matt Carpenter (199 hits, 126 runs). His only production in the postseason currently is a .053 batting average. He will need to wake up this series for the Red Birds to have a legitimate shot to return to the World Series for the second time in this decade.

Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have the best pitcher in baseball too, depending on your own opinion, with Clayton Kershaw. He will take the mound in Game 2 against rookie Michael Wacha and he will need to win. This will be Wacha’s first time to face the Dodgers lineup.

Their best hitter statistically during the regular season, Andre Ethier, has not been available to join the lineup in center field and has been hitless in his four pinch-hitting appearances in the ALDS. Manager Don Mattingly says he will be available to do more with his healing ankle in this series. He also has faced Wainwright 36 times at the plate, hitting an average of .443. The resurgence of Carl Crawford, three home runs in the last two games,  and the aggressive play of Yasiel Puig could frustrate the Cardinals pitching staff.

Keys To Winning
Both teams will need stellar pitching performances to win this series and both will have their ace’s on the mound on the road. The Dodgers have a power lineup that when hot can go on a 53-13 run, as witnessed this season. The Cardinals are not afraid of the “big game” scenario, winning seven elimination games in the postseason since 2011. The two teams are so evenly matched that it will take a great player performance to tip the scales.

NLCS Schedule
10/11 – Dodgers @ Cardinals   7:37 PM
10/12 – Dodgers @ Cardinals   3:07 PM
10/14 – Cardinals @ Dodgers   7:07 PM
10/15 – Cardinals @ Dodgers   7:07 PM
*10/16 – Cardinals @ Dodgers 3:07 PM
*10/18 – Dodgers @ Cardinals 7:37 PM
*10/19 – Dodgers @ Cardinals 7:37 PM
*If Necessary
All Games on TBS