Posts Tagged ‘Mike Matheny’

A look at the National League wild-card playoff between the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves, at Atlanta (5:07 p.m. EDT) (TBS).

Projected Lineups:

Cardinals: CF Jon Jay (4 HRs, 40 RBIs, 18 SBs, .385 OBP), RF Carlos Beltran (.269, 32, 97), LF Matt Holliday (.295, 27, 102), 1B Allen Craig (.307, 22, 92), 3B David Freese (.293, 20, 79), C Yadier Molina (.315, 22, 76), 2B Daniel Descalso (.227, 4, 26), SS Pete Kozma (.333, 2, 14).

Braves: CF Michael Bourn (.274, 9 HRs, 57 RBIs, 42 SBs), LF Martin Prado (.301, 10, 70), RF Jason Heyward (.269, 27, 82, 21 SBs), 3B Chipper Jones (.287, 14, 62), 1B Freddie Freeman (.259, 23, 94), 2B Dan Uggla (.220, 19, 78, 168 strikeouts), C David Ross (.256, 9, 23), SS Andrelton Simmons (.289, 3, 19).

Starting Pitchers:

Cardinals: RH Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA). Healthy after two years of nagging forearm trouble, Lohse followed up a 2011 season that saw him lead the rotation in wins and ERA with another stellar campaign. The right-hander’s .842 winning percentage topped the majors, while he set a career high with 211 innings pitched and ranked eighth in the majors with a 2.86 ERA. Lohse fires an 88- to 92-mile per hour fastball with late sink movement, while complimenting it nicely with a downer curveball, a quick slider and a stifling changeup he isn’t afraid to throw on any count to any hitter.

Braves: RH Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57, 120 Ks, 138 IP). After missing most of 2011 recovering from Tommy John surgery, Medlen has been the biggest story for the Braves, going 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA as a starter after the All-Star break. The Braves have won 23 straight games with Medlen as the starter going back to 2010. Drafted as a shortstop and part-time relief pitcher in 2006, Medlen will make his first-ever postseason start. He boasts arguably the best four-seam fastball in the bigs, while he also has a knack for spinning his nifty breaking ball as a quality out pitch whenever he’s ready. And while the speed change on his curve is deadly for hitters, he also has a change that baffles batters more times than not.

Series Nuggets:

The Braves won the 2012 series, 5-1.

Over the past two seasons, the series is deadlocked at 6-6.

Ironically, the road team went 4-2 this season, after the home team went 4-2 in 2011.

The Over is a whopping 22-8 when these two play in Atlanta.

These two haven’t met since May.

St. Louis Nuggets:

St. Louis is on winning streaks of 4-1 with a suitcase in hand, 5-2 against winning teams, 5-2 with Lohse on the hill against winning teams and 12-4 overall.

The Cardinals boast one of baseball’s most power-packed lineups with five 20-homer hitters for the first time in franchise history.

After lingering in the top two most of the season, the Cardinals finished  with the fourth-best batting average (.271) in the bigs this season.

Though they rank 17th overall with 159 home runs, manufacturing runs has become the name of their game, as they rank fifth in the league with 765 plated runs.

Since 1996, only the New York Yankees have won more postseason games (94) than the Cardinals (50.) With that, the Cardinals have won three National League pennants and two World Series trophies to their trophy case.

Atlanta Nuggets:

Atlanta is on winning streaks of 9-1 when laying money at home, 7-1 against winning teams, 13-0 with Medlen up at home, 25-1 with Medlen on the hill and 8-3 overall.

The Braves, who returned to the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, swept a three-game series in St. Louis and took two of three at Turner Field.

In their lone meeting with Lohse this season, the Braves tagged him for five runs and nine hits over five innings back on May 30.

Last year, Atlanta squandered a 10-1/2-game wild-card lead and lost out to the Cardinals on the final day.

Atlanta’s Chipper Jones completed his farewell tour in Pittsburgh, but is looking to extend the final season of his career in the postseason. He hit .287 this season – his highest mark since stroking a league-leading .364 in 2008 – with 14 home runs and 62 RBI in 112 games.