The Los Angeles Dodgers meet the St. Louis Cardinals in the Divisional Round of the National League Playoffs
By Ian Palmer
The Division Series of the National League Playoffs get underway on Friday, October 3 when the Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals take on Western Division champion Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. This is a best three out of five series and a rematch of last year’s NL Championship Series which the Cardinals won in six games.
National League Playoffs – Division Series Schedule
- Game 1 – Friday, October 3, St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
- Game 2 – Saturday, October 4, St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
- Game 3 – Monday, October 6, Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals
- Game 4 – Tuesday, October 7, Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals
- Game 5 – Thursday, October 9, St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Game One Betting Lines from bet365:
- Money Line: Cardinals- A Wainwright 9/5 (2.80), Dodgers – C Kershaw 1/2 (1.50)
- Game Totals: 5.5, Over 10/11 (1.90), Under 10/11 (1.90)
- Run Line: Cardinals +1.5 5/7 (1.71), Dodgers -1.5 6.5 (2.20)
Game 1 Pitching Matchup:
- ST. Louis Cardinals Adam Wainwright (20-9, 2.38 ERA) vs Los Angeles dodgers Clayton Kershaw (21-3, 1.77 ERA)
- In Wainwright’s final five starts St. Louis went 5-0 with two of them being on the road. Los Angeles went 9-1 in Kershaw’s final 10 starts at home and were 6-0 in his last six starts of the season.
The Dodgers have one of the best pitchers in all of baseball in two-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, but he struggled against St. Louis in last year’s NL Championship Series. St. Louis managed to beat him twice in last season’s playoffs and Kershaw is certainly going to be motivated to make sure he avenges those losses. Kershaw was rocked pretty hard by St. Louis in games two and six last year and had an ERA of 4.23. He struggled mightily in game six as he was yanked in the fourth inning after giving up 10 hits and seven runs.
This year, the Cardinals player who has faced Kershaw the most is Matt Holliday who is batting .257 against him by going nine for 35 in his career. Yadier Molina is batting .273 against the Dodgers ace, but he’s only faced him five times. The Cardinals lost David Freese and Carlos Beltran over the offseason and both of them were consistent playoff performers over the years. Beltran has a career postseason average of .333 while Freese’s is .289 and St. Louis will miss their bats. This means the Cardinals are going to have to get some timely hits out of Molina, Holliday, Matt Adams, Johnny Peralta and Matt Carpenter.
Carpenter led the Cardinals with 162 hits this season and batted .350 in the last five games of the 2014 campaign. Adams batted .318 over that stretch and Peralta went .316. Molina batted .263 and team RBI leader Holliday struggled at .235. The Cardinals finished the season with a record of 90-72 and won their division by two games over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Dodgers won the West by going 94-68 and took the division by six games over the San Francisco Giants. They finished the season with the sixth-best ERA at 3.40 and they’ve also got a powerful offensive team. They were ranked sixth in the Majors in total runs with 718 runs and were also top-six in slugging percentage at .406, on-base plus slugging at .738 and in batting average at .265 and in on-base percentage at .333. The Dodgers also edged the Cardinals four games to three in the regular-season series.
St. Louis Cardinals Team Leaders
- Home Runs: Jhonny Peralta – 21
- RBIs: Matt Holliday – 90
- Hits: Matt Carpenter – 162
- Batting Average (over 400 at bats): Jon Jay – 303
- Pitching wins: Adam Wainwright (20-9)
- ERA:(over 65 innings): Pat Neshek 1.87
Los Angeles Dodgers Team Leaders
- Home Runs: Adrian Gonzalez-27
- RBIs: Adrian Gonzalez-116
- Hits: Dee Gordon-176
- Batting Average (over 350 at bats): Juan Uribe-.311
- Pitching wins: Clayton Kershaw-21-3
- ERA (over 65 innings): Clayton Kershaw-1.77