Saturday CS Previews and Open Thread

Stephen Dunn

We've got two playoff games to keep you occupied on a rainy Saturday.

Obviously, most of Wisconsin will be a little distracted this afternoon. If you're looking for something else to watch, though, there is an NLCS game.

After playing 13 innings last night, the Dodgers and Cardinals resume their series at 3 pm today with Michael Wacha (2.78 ERA, 2.93 FIP) on the mound for St. Louis. Wacha was brilliant against the Pirates in Game 4 of the NLDS on Monday, allowing a run on a single hit over 7.1 innings with two walks and nine strikeouts. He carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning of that game and threw just 96 pitches.

Counting that game, Wacha has allowed just two hits and six baserunners in his last 16 innings of work. In the outing before that, he got bombed by the Rockies. Predicting baseball remains a near-impossible task. Wacha has recorded seven or more strikeouts in four consecutive starts, though, so that may be something you can rely on today.

Wacha did not face the Dodgers during the regular season, so no active members of the team have faced him ten times or more.

He will face Clayton Kershaw (1.83 ERA, 2.39 FIP), the like NL Cy Young Award winner and arguably the best active pitcher in all of baseball. Kershaw was somewhat mortal against the Braves in the NLDS, though, allowing a combined three runs (just one earned) on five hits over 13 innings with four walks and 18 strikeouts. He recorded 18 outs on Monday on three days of rest, but is back to full rest today.

The Dodgers had baseball's largest budget in 2013, but they're going to have to expand it to keep Kershaw on the roster next season. 2014 is his final arbitration year, and you can bet he'll be seeking a record salary. He's the first big leaguer since Pedro Martinez in 1997 to pitch 230 or more innings, record 230 or more strikeouts and have an ERA under 2.

Kershaw faced the Cardinals twice during the regular season and was only ok, allowing six runs on 13 hits over 13 innings for a 4.15 ERA with five walks and ten strikeouts. Six active Cardinals have faced him ten times or more, although one is a pitcher not expected to appear in this game:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Matt Holliday 43 33 10 1 0 1 2 10 7 .303 .465 .424 .889
Carlos Beltran 25 22 5 2 0 0 1 2 8 .227 .280 .318 .598
Yadier Molina 25 22 6 2 0 0 1 3 4 .273 .360 .364 .724
David Freese 18 15 3 1 0 0 2 2 2 .200 .278 .267 .544
Matt Carpenter 12 12 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 .167 .167 .167 .333
Adam Wainwright 10 6 2 1 0 0 2 2 1 .333 .500 .500 1.000
Total 161 135 37 11 0 1 14 22 28 .274 .371 .378 .749
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/12/2013.

Lineup tweets!

Hanley Ramirez was in the original lineup but has been scratched with bruised ribs.

It's another nice day for baseball in St. Louis. Expect a game-time temperature around 75 to drop into the upper 60s as the end of the day approaches.

Enjoy the game! (and tonight's Red Sox/Tigers ALCS Game 1, scheduled for 7 pm.)

p

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