2013 NLCS Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers Will Beat St. Louis Cardinals in Six Games or Less

Dodgers-Cardinals

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After the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLDS Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers will head to Missouri to begin the 2013 NLCS. Despite their apparent momentum and advantages I believe the Cardinals will lose to the Dodgers in six games or less.

The Cardinals are certainly a rolling ball of momentum having come back from a 2-1 deficit in the NLDS to advance to face the Dodgers. Unfortunately for St. Louis fans, this momentum comes at a price. The ace of the Cardinals’ staff, Adam Wainwright, had to pitch twice in order to win the series including in the decisive Game 5. After dominating the Pirates in back-to-back performances, Wainwright will certainly need to rest up before pitching against the Dodgers.

As such, the projected Cardinals starter to face off in Game 1 of the NLCS against Zack Greinke is Joe Kelly. Kelly was good in 2013, boasting a 10-5 record with a 2.69 ERA and 1.355 WHIP. Interestingly enough, Kelly received a vote of no confidence from his manager and was not called upon to pitch in the NLDS. A knock to his self-belief and a tough task of facing the Dodgers’ second ace will likely be enough to give the Dodgers a Game 1 victory.

Wainwright is still not projected to go in Saturday’s Game 2 in St. Louis as he would be pitching for the third time in nine days. The recently sizzling Michael Wacha is expected to start and will carry the momentum from his near no-hitter at the end of the regular season and a fantastic performance in Game 4 of the NLDS into the next series. Unfortunately for Wacha and the Cards, that motivational boost will be sent right into a brick wall named Clayton Kershaw.

Another saving grace for the Dodgers is the fact that the Cardinals’ star first baseman, Allen Craig, will most likely not make the NLCS roster. Eric Stephen of truebluela.com reports that Craig had to sit out the final 28 games of the regular season with a sprained foot that also forced him to miss the NLDS. Stephen goes on to site a source close to the Cardinals who says Craig, who hit .315 on the season, will not return to the team before the start of the NLCS on Friday. Despite Matt Adams’ great performance in replacement of Craig, this is a huge disappointment for the Cardinals.

With both the Dodgers’ and Cardinals’ offenses firing on all cylinders in their respective first-round series, the two teams seem to be fairly even in that regard. If my predictions for Games 1 and 2 are correct, the Dodgers will escape St. Louis with a 2-0 series lead and three games to play at home. Even with Wainwright likely starting Game 3 or Game 4 at the very latest, I find it hard to imagine the Cardinals getting out of Los Angeles with all three wins. Most likely, Los Angeles finishes off the Cardinals in Game 6, but possibly even as early as Game 5.

That does it for my prediction of the NLCS. I would love to read why you agree or disagree, so please leave a comment. Thanks for reading!

Isaac Comelli is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @IsaacComelli, “Like” him on Facebook or follow him on Google.

Related:

NLCS Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers Should Jump to Easy Two Game Lead

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Zack Greinke Must Put Together Solid NLCS Performance

NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers’ Offense Makes Them Hard to Beat

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  • Keith

    You need to check your facts before you write your column. Joe Kelly pitched in Game 3 of the NLDS, and did okay. Your opinion about the vote of no confidence is obviously ignorant and worthless. The Dodgers coasted in the second half of the season because they got healthy, Puig, and NL West stunk. Braves likewise ran away with the NL East because it stunk worse than the NL West. Dodgers are very good, but by mid August the Dodgers started running away with the West and played under no pressure. Cardinals were in a dogfight in August & September. Cardinals in 7.

    • Isaac Comelli

      @disqus_qMg0RhbwO7:disqus You’re right about Kelly starting Game 3. When I was looking through the box scores of the games to see who started which, I think I saw Carpenter at the top of that one and old habits die hard. Haha!
      The no confidence idea is thus not applicable, but the rest of my arguments still stand true.
      You raise a valid point about the Dodgers coasting and the Cardinals having to fight, but maybe all that fighting leaves the Cardinals too tired to go the distance?

  • Sonny

    Here is my rant…

    First of all, as Keith has so kindly pointed out, Joe Kelly in fact pitched game 3 of the NLDS, and pitched well. You obviously don’t watch the games, or know enough about either team to make an educated prediction.

    The Cardinals play in a superior division. The NL Central features 3 90+ win teams and is arguably the best division in baseball (with the exception of [maybe] the AL East). The Dodgers played in a doo-doo division.

    You make the argument that the Dodgers 1-2 punch in Greinke and Kershaw is unbeatable. Let’s look at some numbers:

    Kershaw vs STL in 2013 = 0-2 / 4.15 ERA / .265 BAA

    Greinke vs STL in 2011 NLCS (with Milwaukee – 2 starts) = 6.43 ERA / 4 BB / 1 HR

    Not to mention that both of these games are at Bush Stadium. Kershaw’s ERA on the road is a half-run higher and Greinke’s is an entire run higher.

    Joe Kelly had one of the best ERAs in baseball post all star break under 2.00, and Michael Wacha took a no hitter into the 9th and 8th inning of his last 2 outings.

    After LAs two ACEs, their rotation is inferior to the Cardinals.

    Adam Wainwright game 3 vs. Ryu. I won’t even post numbers for this matchup, out of respect for Waino. The man has thrown the final strike of the world series. And if need be Waino gets the ball in the game 7…at home…and the Cardinals are 8-1 in elimination games since 2011.

    Also, the Cardinals were literally LEGENDARY with RISP this season, posting the ALL TIME RECORD for BA with RISP at .330 greatly eclipsing the previous mark when Detroit hit .311 in 2007. Insane.

    And despite the numbers, despite the match-ups, you’re forgetting who the St. Louis Cardinals are. There is a tradition in this city; a lifestyle. Time literally stops in October. There is an indescribable magic that no other franchise possesses. Constantly throughout history this team has come back and won pressured by insurmountable odds. This is why they boast 11 World Championships second only major league leading Yankees – in a market size that is SIGNIFICANTLY smaller.

    The Dodgers may appear the better on-paper choice at first glance, but take these points into consideration..and don’t bet against the Redbirds.

    Cardinals in 6

    • Isaac Comelli

      Wow, @disqus_FOaAkJrOx4:disqus that is an extremely detailed argument. You raise many valid points. I will not try to refute them all, because I doubt you will change your mind.
      I will say this, though. I find it interesting that, despite all of your facts and stats, you still don’t pick the Cardinals in 4 or 5.

  • Donald Simpson

    Keith- Good prediction, but the Dodgers are taking it in 5 or 6 like Isaac said, he may not be right about everything, but I think he is right in this instance. The Dodgers have too much fire power for the cardinals young pitching staff to handle, and the fact that the cardinals can’t hit lefties very well just adds to the difficulty.

    • Isaac Comelli

      Good points, @disqus_OZ0eo3oXr5:disqus
      Unfortunately, the Dodgers’ fire power was not able to capitalize tonight.

      • Donald Simpson

        I know, hopefully they can tie up the series tonight and then they have the advantage.

    • Keith

      Donald: I respect your prediction, but I do not agree with it. I do not think that Greinke will pitch quite as well in Game 6 as he did last night (which he certainly dominated), and the Dodgers still lost. Cardinals are dominant at home and in the end, this will be the undoing of the Dodgers in Game 7.

      • Donald Simpson

        Greinke will be pitching game 5 in LA, and will about the same as he did in st. louis. Kershaw will pitch game 6 in st. louis. If it goes 7 games, Ryu will pitch.

        • Isaac Comelli

          Which means the Dodgers have a legitimate chance to come back and win this series.

  • Cards fan

    Cardinals will win in 7!!! Period!!!

    • Isaac Comelli

      @disqus_vJyVjTWzfq:disqus You may very be right, but, either way, it will be an exciting series as tonight proved.

  • Bobby Redding

    You are eating your words.

    • Isaac Comelli

      @bobbyredding:disqus I don’t know about that. I was right about the Dodgers’ pitchers. Also, they still COULD win in 6 ;)
      Even if they don’t, it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong. But it’s not my job to be perfect. It’s my job to present my opinion with as much support as I can. I bet you there are plenty of MLB or ESPN analysts who also picked the Dodgers in 6. They’ll be wrong too, if I am. It happens.

      • Bobby Redding

        Just messin’ with you.. I am an avid Cardinal fan, so I’m giving you trouble! If you were to write this article today as the Cardinals are ahead 2-0, what would your prediction be?

        • Isaac Comelli

          That’s fine. You wouldn’t be the first and won’t be the last haha
          As of today, it’s still definitely not over, but now I’m leaning to Cardinals in 7.