Dodgers Pitching Can Shut Down Cardinals Hitting
I could face the Cardinals offense in the NLDS?!?! Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Unless the Pirates push past the Cardinals in some crazy frenzy over the last 3 games, we can say that the Dodgers will be opening the 2014 NLDS with Clayton Kershaw pitching against Adam Wainwright. The Dodgers having the ideal lineup out there, having a bullpen that hopefully won’t implode, it’s going to be very exciting to see them back in October
Oh, not the Cardinals.
Remember last season? Just kidding don’t click on that link. Click on this. It’s much more fun and less terrifying than 2013 NLCS game 6. That game. That game stung just as much as 2008, or 2009. The Cardinals went on the appear in the world series, something the Dodgers haven’t done since 1988 (were you aware of that?). It hurt. Despite all that, the Dodgers will have a chance to rectify that this year.
And on first glance, it’ll be very nerve wracking to see the team that broke your heart last season face you again. But I’m going to be rooting for the Cardinals to secure the division, because that’s the team that matches up so well with the Dodgers.
The Cardinals had a different team last season, relying heavily on Allen Craig to be their best hitter, Joe Kelly to miraculously put up a 73 ERA-, Michael Wacha to make the Dodgers feel terrible about not drafting him, Shelby Miller to challenge Clayton Kershaw in the early parts of 2013, Yadier Molina to be the best catcher in baseball, Trevor Rosenthal to be arguably as dominant as Craig Kimbrel. This season? Well they’ve either all regressed (Rostenthal, Miller), have been injured (Molina, Wacha), or regressed and traded (Craig, Kelly). This is why they haven’t been as good this year. They have gotten productive seasons from Adam Wainwright, Matt Holiday, Jhonny Peralta, Lance Lynn, Jon Jay, and Pat Neshek, but i’ll argue that at full strength, last season’s team was better, very much so on offense.
That’s what should be highlighted, the fact that the Cardinals offense versus the Dodgers pitching will be the matchup that will probably define a Cardinals-Dodgers NLDS.
The Cardinals have scored 609 runs this season, 24th in baseball, a .692 OPS total
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It’s not as scary as some would make it out to be, they topped out at a .706 OPS, which would sit 14th out of all major league clubs. -Just for reference, the Cardinals lowest OPS would sit between the dreadful Atlanta Braves and Cincinatti Reds offense-. So take a middle of the road offense at best, and bottom 3 offense at worst, and put them up against the Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and a *crosses fingers* healthy Hyun-Jin Ryu, and I am cautiously optimistic and rooting for an NLDS that involves the Dodgers and Cardinals.
Is Michael Wacha good? Yes. Is he completely healthy and ready to dominate in the postseason after missing most of the season with a very scary shoulder injury? We’ll see. Is the Dodgers offense good enough to beat up on Lance Lynn and Adam Wainwright? This past week seems to think so. Does John Lackey make me worry about shutting down the offense? Nope.
The thing that will be the most interesting matchup in a potential Dodgers-Cardinals NLDS will undoubtedly be how well the Dodgers Pitching fares versus a very run-of-the-mill Cardinals offense.