Date/Time: October 11th, 8:30 PM ET
Probable Starters: Greinke (Los Angeles) vs. Kelly (St. Louis)
Moneyline: Dodgers -115
The NLCS gets started on Friday night in the Gateway to the West, where the St. Louis Cardinals are going to try to tame the Los Angeles Dodgers in the always pivotal Game 1 of this best of seven series.
If there is a game that the Dodgers would love to win, this would be the game. The fact of the matter is that in a seven-game series, someone is going to have to figure out how to beat either LHP Clayton Kershaw or Friday’s starter, RHP Zack Greinke at least once, and that foe would have to be perfect in all of the other games. This is a great spot for Greinke to be pitching in, knowing that he is tremendously familiar with pitching in Busch Stadium from his days with the Milwaukee Brewers. In his one start in the postseason, the righty was actually beaten 4-3 thanks to the fact that the offense really didn’t pick him up. Greinke allowed two runs on four hits in six frames, and he was really good enough to get the win and unlucky to get the loss. Greinke has now pitched 13 straight starts allowing two earned runs or fewer, and that’s why Manager Don Mattingly has no problems handing him the baseball in Game 1 and presumably Game 5 of this series.
The Cards had to work a little bit harder in the NLDS than the Dodgers did, and that’s going to set up some problems in the pitching rotation. Knowing that he pitched on Wednesday, it is going to have to wait until Monday for RHP Adam Wainwright to get back on the mound, and though he will still be available twice in this series, it’s going to take getting to seven games to get there. Without many other options to turn to, Manager Mike Matheny is going to have to count on his younger arms like Game 1’s starter, RHP Joe Kelly to get him over the hump. Kelly was anything but awesome in Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, as he allowed five hits and four walks in just 5.1 innings of work, and the three runs that he allowed gave him the loss. That would be a devastating stat line to showcase on Friday night, and if that was to be the case, the Cards would be beaten. That said, this is a team that is finding ways to come up with clutch hits over and over again, and that could be key when it comes time for those big time spots against Greinke and the LA pitching staff.
It’s tough to imagine Greinke getting beaten by Kelly in this game, but if Kelly can push this game into the middle innings, he is going to be alright. The Cardinals at plus odds at home is really nice, and though we probably won’t be as eager to back them in Game 2, we are definitely eager to take them in Game 1 against Greinke and a perhaps slightly overrated LA outfit.
Los Angeles Dodgers @ St. Louis Cardinals Pick: St. Louis Cardinals +108
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.