Cardinals host Dodgers to kick off NLCS

Cardinals host Dodgers to kick off NLCS
October 11, 2013, 4:15 pm
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Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
Gametime: 8:30 p.m.
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Clear, 70 degrees, Wind 7 mph
Starting pitchers: LAD –  Zack Greinke (15-4, 2.63) / STL – Joe Kelly (10-5, 2.69)

And then there were four. The Championship Series round of the 2013 MLB playoffs gets started tonight with two of the most storied franchises in baseball history, each team featuring stacked lineups and ace pitchers who could find their way to the Hall of Fame some day.

But because of the way their Division Series played out, both L.A. and St. Louis will be without their number one starters for Game 1. The Dodgers will pitch former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, while the Cardinals will trot out yet another of their homegrown youngsters in Joe Kelly.

These teams met seven times during the regular season with the Dodgers taking the season series at 4-3. The scoring differential was 30-27 in the L.A’s favor, showing how close these teams have matched up thus far in 2013.

Both pitchers faced their opponent tonight once during the regular season, as Greinke and Kelly each took starts in the teams’ early August series in L.A. Greinke beat the Cards on Aug. 5 after allowing two runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings in a 9-3 Dodgers win. Kelly then took the victory the following day after giving up a run through 5 1/3 innings on six hits and two walks.

Both guys will have their hands full with lineups that have been hot so far in the playoffs. Six different players in the Dodgers’ starting lineup are hitting over .330 in the postseason, including Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez who each had eight hits in their NLDS win over the Braves. L.A. is slugging .572 as a team through four total games.

The Cardinals saw five different players hit home runs in their series win over the Pirates, including Carlos Beltran who had two. St. Louis struggled with the longball during the regular season, despite scoring the most runs in the National League. If they can also bring the power stroke, their offense is even more dangerous.