N.L.C.S. Game 1 & Series Preview: Cardinals vs. Dodgers, 7:30 CT

Dilip Vishwanat

The National League Championship Series begins tonight, and as a Cubs fan, you have a clear rooting interest.

Hi! I'm back. Anything happen while I was away?

It figures, it's been a busy Cubs week. I'll have more on the managerial search coming up soon, but in the meantime, we as Cubs fans have to do our part to deny the Cardinals a chance to move on to the World Series. Thus, I want to declare, at least for myself (and I'm pretty sure you'll all agree), I am a Dodgers fan for the next week. They do wear blue, after all. Limited-time offer.

For the second year in a row, none of the four LCS teams is an expansion team. Before 2012, in the wild-card era (since 1995), that had happened just one other time (1996 -- Yankees, Orioles, Braves, Cardinals). Of course, since the last expansion is now 15 years in the rear-view mirror, any "expansion" team can certainly be on the same level as the "original 16". Nevertheless, it's worth noting that the 2013 payroll rankings of the four LCS teams is second (Dodgers), fourth (Red Sox), fifth (Tigers) and 11th (Cardinals). (Source)

Regarding this series, I just can't pick the Cardinals, even though I will (grudgingly) admit that they're a very good team and the way they have been built is something the Cubs should aspire to emulate. Both the Cardinals and Dodgers got excellent pitching during their division series; if not for a near-no-hitter by Michael Wacha in Game 4, the Pirates might be here instead of the Cardinals. Meanwhile, the Dodgers outscored the Braves 26-14 in their four-game series, and two of those Atlanta runs were in garbage time while trailing 13-4 in the ninth inning of Game 3.

The Cardinals' pitching is very good. The Dodgers' pitching will be just a little bit better. Dodgers in six.

Many thanks to Josh for keeping things running here while I was gone, particularly in his coverage of the Joe Girardi story.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Zack Greinke 15-4 29 28 1 1 0 0 177.2 152 54 52 13 46 148 2.63 1.11


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2013 - Joe Kelly 10-5 40 15 0 0 0 1 124.0 124 42 37 10 44 79 2.69 1.35

Today's game is on TBS. Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling, Cal Ripken and Craig Sager.

MLB.com Gameday for Dodgers/Cardinals

Baseball-reference.com game preview for Dodgers/Cardinals

SB Nation game preview for Dodgers/Cardinals

SB Nation Cardinals site: Viva El Birdos

SB Nation Dodgers site: True Blue LA

This will serve as your one and only game thread for today's NLCS Game 1. Enjoy, and discuss amongst yourselves.

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