NLDS Preview: Cubs vs. Cardinals Part One

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May 5, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman

Matt Carpenter

(13) runs after hitting a three run home run off of Chicago Cubs starting pitcher

Kyle Hendricks

(28) during the fifth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Third Base 

Cardinals: Matt Carpenter – I’ve covered Carpenter twice this week, it was a really good season for the Cardinal third baseman, look for this good season to continue into the playoffs.

Cubs: Kris Bryant – Hold your horses Cubs fans and MLB social media accounts, Kris Bryant is not great yet. Yes, I am a Cardinals fan and yes this is a Cardinals site, no I am not being a homer here. I truly enjoy young prospects coming up and doing well and it is neat for the Cubs to have Kris Bryant. However, the guy has a 30.6% K rate and just missed finishing the season with 200 strikeouts at 199. 

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In 75 games on the road he only hit 5 homers and had an average of .243, at home he hit .311 with 21 home runs and a BABIP of .390 which is simply unsustainable, that is some serious home cooking there. For Cubs’ fans complaining that Wrigley played like a pitcher’s park this year, the numbers don’t lie, Wrigley is one of the easiest parks to hit the ball out in. Guess where the first two games are? On the road, in one of the toughest parks for right handers to hit in. With Lackey or Garcia/Lynn on the mound expect the struggles to continue.

Advantage: Cardinals. Matt Carpenter has the experience of beating the best pitcher in the game in the postseason more than once. It was no fluke. Despite the lower average this year, Matt Carpenter is without a doubt one of the best hitters in the game. Defensively, Bryant is a better 3B, but please Jerry Crasnick, he’s no Scott Rolen who averaged a 13.3 UZR/150 (Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games) throughout his career according to Fangraphs.