Aside from Adam Wainwright, the St. Louis Cardinals do not have a veteran starting pitcher that has experience pitching in big-time playoff series like the NL Championship Series. The Cardinals are going to send Joe Kelly to the mound to face the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. The Dodgers are going to pitch Zack Greinke.
This season, Kelly was 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA. In his last start against the Dodgers, Kelly lasted 5.1 innings, allowing only one earned on six hits and got the win. To his credit, Kelly has also pitched in the postseason prior to this season. Last year against the San Francisco Giants, he did not do so well. In four innings against the eventual World Champions, he allowed two earned runs. He was not the most reliable reliever in the Cardinals’ bullpen.
After coming into the postseason as a reliever, Kelly’s ability to start games is key for Mike Matheny and the Cardinals because it gives time for Wainwright to recover. The rest of the Cardinals’ starters have been great, but entering games like this is going to be difficult, especially since the Dodgers’ lineup is extremely dangerous and is starting to get hot at the right time.
Michael Wacha‘s pitching has been sensational and if Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn can get on the right track, St. Louis has a chance. It is going to be up mostly to the Cardinals to take care of the Dodgers’ hitters in this series. St. Louis’ offense will come around.