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Dodgers vs. Cardinals Preview | Pick

2009 NLDS – Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Freddy Wills

Freddy Wills

Despite this disadvantage the Dodgers are at they did lead the National League in starting pitchers ERA. They will certainly have the advantage moving forward in a 7 game series, but this is the worst match up I think the Dodgers could have gotten. Wainwright and Carpenter both have post season experience and were a combined 36-12 this year and could pitch 4 of the 5 games in this series.

Series odds: Cardinals -141
Starting Pitching: The first three starts in this match up clearly favor the St. Louis Cardinals.

Here are the probable pitching match ups.

Chris Carpenter vs. Randy Wolf
Adam Wainwright vs. Clayton Kershaw
Joel Pineiro vs. TBD (Billingsley, Kuroda, or Garland)

Game 3 will be started by Joel Pineiro who is a big time sinker and groundball hitter. He had a 2.75 ERA at home and against the Dodgers in one start this year at the end of July he pitched a gem going 8 innings giving up 1 ER on 6 hits, 7 K’s and 2 BB’s. However, Pineiro closed the season with a 5.84 ERA over his last 4 starts two of those coming at home giving up 7 ER in those two starts.

If the Dodgers go with Billingsley in Game 3 they will have to deal with his 3-7 record and a 5.20 ERA since the All Star break. They have enough inexperience in their starting rotation in game 1 and 2 when it comes to the post season that I think they go with Garland in this spot. Garland pitched in the World Series in 2005 with the White Sox going 7 strong innings giving up just 2 ER.

Edge: Cardinals

Bullpen

The Dodgers’ pitching strength lies in its bullpen. They have long relievers Jeff Weaver, and late inning specialists George Sherrill, Guillermo Mota, and closer Jonathan Broxton. Dodgers led the National League in bullpen ERA. Cardinals are no slouch in terms of their pen and they can really match as they do not expect to have to use a long man out of the pen. They will have some excellent pitchers out of the bullpen in Dennys Reyes, Trever Miller, and closer Ryan Franklin. Cardinals were 5th in the National League in bullpen ERA.

Edge: Dodgers

Hitting

Both of these teams have first ballot hall of famers in the middle of their lineups in Manny Ramirez and Albert Pujols. Despite that both teams have struggled to score runs this year. Despite the Cardinals acquiring some guys to protect Pujols in the middle of the lineup the runs have not been there as much as they may have liked. Cardinals finished 18th in the league this season in overall runs scored, while the Dodgers finished 11th.

Both of these teams ranked in the top 12 in the league in batting averages so they are both small ball teams more so are the Dodgers. On paper statistically it appears that the Dodgers have the edge offensively, but with the match ups in the pitching rotation I’m calling this even.

Edge: Even

Bench

Whenever you have two solid players coming off your bench like Jim Thome or Juan Pierre you have the two ingredients of a bench player that you want. Juan Pierre is a player that can get on base and possibly steal a base. As well as a player that can bop a HR and provide power late in the game. It’s something the Cardinals clearly do not have and it’s a distinct advantage for the Dodgers.

Edge: Dodgers

Pick: Cardinals in four games.

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