The postseason brings out a whole new beast. The 2015 season has been full of these beasts. Yes, the Cardinals had the best record in baseball. Yes, they overcame a number of adversities to get to where they are. Yes, they allowed little known players to begin making names for themselves. But now, now they have to face an extraordinarily hot team going into the playoffs. A team that hasn’t seen a postseason birth in 7 years; their last appearance being in 2008 (yeah, I know, I thought it was even longer ago than that, too). A team that has won their last 9 games (including kicking the Pirates out of World Series contention in the NL Wild Card game) and has a hungry fan base behind them. Does that mean they’re unbeatable? I don’t think so.
That being said, tomorrow night’s game has the potential to set the scene for this National League Division Series. With the Cubs current ace, Jake Arrieta, having pitched against the Pirates Wednesday night, the Cardinals won’t face him first. The match up of two former teammates, John Lackey and Jon Lester (formerly both Red Sox), should prove to be one to remember and get this party started.
Looking at their numbers for 2015, Lackey has started against the Cubbies 3 different times (his record against them is 2-0). He has a 1.25 ERA. He gave up a total of 19 hits, 3 runs (all earned), gave up a big goose egg for homers, and had 19 strike outs. Comparably, Lester has started against the Cards 5 games this season (his record against the Cardinals is 1-3). His ERA is 2.59. He gave up 25 hits, 14 total runs (9 earned), 3 homeruns, and had 34 strike outs.Now, I’m not saying the way these two performed against each others’ teams is a for sure way the postseason will go, but I think it looks like Lackey has the edge. I’m totally okay with that.
After looking at the pitching numbers for tomorrow’s game, I decided I would look to see what some offense looked like for the Cards versus Lester. Just looking at a few players, here’s what we got: Carpenter is 4/14 against Lester, Hayward 10/24, Holliday 5/9, Peralta 10/40 (with 3 homeruns), and Wong 1/7. That’s just a few.
If you remember back a few months, you may recall that Lester was the opening day starter for 2015 against the Cards at Wrigley. Cards took that game 3-0. Huh, two beginnings…two losses for Lester? I can feel it, and I like it.
100 wins and home field advantage…I like that, too.
Buckle those postseason safety belts, I think we’re in for a wild ride.
As always, Go Cards!
Photo credit: mlb.com