NLCS 2013 Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers vs St. Louis Cardinals

By Zach Slotter
nlcs 2013
Scott Rovak – USA Today Sports

Game 1 of the National League Championship Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers will take place tonight. Let’s take a look at how this series will play out:

The Cardinals have the home-field advantage in this series and got here after rallying from a 2-1 deficit in the National League Division series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In that series, the Cardinals got two dominant pitching performances from their ace Adam Wainwright. In 16 innings, Wainwright recorded two wins and allowed only two earned runs while striking out 15. He will most likely go in game three for the Cardinals as Joe Kelly will start Game 1 and Michael Wacha will take the mound during Game 2.

The Dodgers had a little bit easier of a time in their NLDS matchup, defeating the Atlanta Braves in four games. Ace Clayton Kershaw was brilliant for them as well, starting Game 4 on three days rest and going 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two starts during the series. He will take the ball Game 2 against Wacha and Zack Greinke will start the opener tonight.

The Dodgers’ bats were lethal in their series against the Braves with Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig each collecting eight hits in four games.

During the regular season, the Dodgers took four out of seven games in the season series against the Cardinals including three out of four in August. The one win in that series for the Cardinals came in a game started by the team’s Game 1 starter Joe Kelly.

The Dodgers have the edge at the plate right now and I think to determine the winner of this series it is going to come down to if these young Cardinals pitchers can keep the red hot Dodgers off the base paths.

If the Cardinals are going to do damage on offense, they are going to need more from leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter. An MVP candidate during the season went 1-for-19 against the Pirates but he did hit .323 against the Dodgers this season. He needs to get on base for the big bats of Carlos Beltran and Matt Holiday.

With aces galore, it should be tough to find runs in this series and the pitching should shine through. We’ll see which team gets the edge tonight after game one.

Zach Slotter is a contributor for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zslot6, Like his Facebook page and add him on Google

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