John Lackey went 1-1 against the St. Louis Cardinals in two starts and a relief appearance while a member of the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. Jon Lester went 2-0 and had a 0.59 ERA against St. Louis. Those two combined for 75% of their clubs wins in that series and now they will be facing off against each other in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.
The Cubs, who beat Pittsburgh 4-0, will play the Cardinals in the best-of-five series. These longtime rivals have played 2,363 times and this will be the first time in the playoffs. The Cardinals won the season series 11-8, but the Cubs won six of the last nine. Seven of the 19 meetings were decided by one run.
Mike Matheny picks experience over youth and raw talent. I find it interesting that Matheny went with the 36-year old journeyman for this first game. I’m not saying its not the right decision, but I think many felt that when Adam Wainwright went down with his injury that Michael Wacha would take over that role as the club’s “ace” by default. Yet Matheny wants the veteran leadership from a guy who has been there before to go up against the Cubs’ veteran ace. Jason Heyward likes the move.
Who to watch for:
Jason Heyward, the lefty batter, is hitting .417 in 24 plate appearances against the Cubs’ lefty ace. Jhonny Peralta is batting .320 with three homers and five RBIs in 25 at-bats. Chicago’s Chris Coghlan is hitting .471 against Lackey in 17 at-bats. Austin Jackson, a late season pickup, is batting .385 in 13 plate appearances.
Go or no go for Molina:
Yadier Molina, who was injured on a slide at home by Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo, has been trying to get ready for the series. Matheny can make his final roster calls the day of the game. While he sounds optimistic, it is still up in the air if Yadi plays in this series.