NLDS Pitching Matchups

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Clayton Kershaw, and the Dodgers starters are surely excited Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

With the NLDS just around the corner, the Dodgers and Cardinals will square off in a great matchup of two giants in the game.

The Cardinals just announced their playoff rotation, and there are some definite surprises.

You’ll note that Michael Wacha, who dominated the Dodgers last NLCS, putting up 13.2 scoreless frames is in the bullpen. It’s a bit of a surprise especially considering that the Cardinals know about the success he’s had against this team. If you haven’t been following the Cardinals, Wacha dealt with a “stress reaction” in his throwing shoulder which really set him back in the early parts of the season. Just recovered, it doesn’t seem like the Cardinals want to risk his arm and are promoting a “Shelby Miller situation” with him. Which, hey it benefits the Dodgers immensely.

I’ll give you a quick primer on the starters just so you have some background information before you hate them immensely for what they did last season.

Adam Wainwright may be putting together a hall of fame resume. He is one of the best pitchers in the game with a 66 ERA- (park adjusted) which translates to 34% above the league average. He’s been a consistently good pitcher, with the only mediocre season coming in 2012 when he was coming back from the dreaded Tommy John surgery.

Lance Lynn is everything the Dodgers aren’t, and want to be. Homegrown, cheap, young arm that throws fire. He just put up a regular season that was 24% above league average with a 76 ERA-. He’s limited the home runs with maybe some help from luck, but he’s what the Dodgers should strive for in young arms. Durable, cheap, good.

I wish the Dodgers had traded for John Lackey, but it may not have been so bad considering he’s pitched to a 4.30 ERA 4.27 FIP 3.85 xFIP in the 60.2 innings he’s spent as a Cardinal. He’s a solid postseason performer, who has revived his career from the nightmare that was Boston early on for him.

Shelby Miller. Remember when he was contending for a Cy Young a year and a half ago? Remember when he took on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger stadium and everybody was anointing him as the next great young arm? Well I don’t know if it was regression, injury, some combination, but since June of last season he’s owned a 3.63 ERA 4.58 FIP 4.44 xFIP. He’s just not that kind of arm to challenge for a Cy Young, he never was, and now? He’s barely a 4th starter and if the pitching matchups hold, he may be the best hope of a Dan Haren equalizer, not relying of Dan Haren, just hoping Haren is better than Shelby Miller, which is certainly within reason.

So there’s a quick primer on the Cardinals starters. They’re not as great as they were last year. But nobody could expect to put up Michael Wacha’s line versus the Dodgers last season.

The matchups (subject to change as the series goes on) read:

Clayton Kershaw vs Adam Wainwright

Zack Greinke vs Lance Lynn

Hyun-Jin Ryu vs John Lackey

Dan Haren vs Shelby Miller

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