MLB betting fans will get a chance to sink their teeth into the first ever Wild Card playoff game in baseball history, as the Atlanta Braves play a one game do or die against the St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field on Friday afternoon.
The Cardinals are the defending World Series champions, and they are going to be under the gun in this one for sure. The good news is that they are going to be throwing a man in Kyle Lohse that went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA this year. In his 33 starts, Lohse led the Cards to a 21-12 record. The 34-year old came up with arguably the best year of his entire career when it was needed the most. He threw a career high 211 innings, posted his best ERA ever, had his lowest WHIP ever (1.09), his lowest batting average against ever (.239), and had his most strikeouts ever (143). Simply put, this was a great year for Lohse, but he has one more task that he has to undertake if the Redbirds are going to be playing in the main part of the postseason. If there is some bad news though, it is that the Braves have really lit Lohse up over the years. In his last start against Atlanta earlier this year, Lohse allowed five runs and was run after just five frames. He has a 4.97 career ERA against the Braves as well.
The Braves had their season spoiled by the Cardinals last year, and now is the time to exact some of that revenge that they were planning. It could be the last game in the career of 3B Chipper Jones, and a loss would certainly be his last home game at Turner Field ever. The story though, is the fact that Kris Medlen is going to get the ball from Manager Fredi Gonzalez. It’s a risky use of a young pitcher that has never pitched in a crucial game like this one before. How could we argue, though? Medlen has started 12 games this year and led the Braves to a spotless 12-0 record! He finished the year with 50 appearances, 12 of which came as a starter, and he had 138.0 innings of work. The argument could be made that Medlen should win the Cy Young Award this year, though we know that he won’t do it. Batters hit .208 against him, and he had a 1.57 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. 120 batters struck out against Medlen this year, and just 23 were issued free passes.
Still, there is something about the Cardinals that just feels right. We aren’t so sure how Manager Mike Matheny was able to keep this team together without the services of Albert Pujols for the whole year or Chris Carpenter for the majority of it. Though we think that Medlen is great, we legitimately could see this being the first game that he ever loses as a starter. St. Louis 4 – Atlanta 2