NLDS Preview: Cubs vs. Cardinals Part Two

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Oct 6, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher John Lackey (41) pitches during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game three of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

I am going to do this in order of how the rotations will play out, not in order of ace to fourth starter.

Starter #1

Cardinals: John Lackey – Oh, the grizzly veteran get’s game one. For some reason, this feels like having Chris Carpenter on the mound in 2011. Lackey, like I previewed on Wednesday, is a veteran in the postseason with a 3.08 ERA in 18 career postseason starts. Lackey, also has been dominant on the mound against the Cubs this season, with an ERA of 1.25 in three starts.

Cubs: Jon Lester – Another battle tested playoff veteran, Lester is no doubt ready for today’s matchup. For some reason, I am not worried about Lester, I really think the Cardinals beat him here. Lester, is significantly more beatable this season than he ever was in Boston (except for 2012) with an ERA+ of 116 this season.

This, compared to seasons with ERA+ of 158 and 159 the past two seasons. In five starts against the Cardinals, the Cardinals have only managed nine runs off of the veteran lefty, for a 2.59 ERA. I know that’s not good for the Cardinals, but I have a feeling that things will be different today.

Advantage: None. These two former teammates are so evenly matched here, that I can’t quite determine an advantage here. It is a wash. Lester’s ERA of 3.34 is pretty good, even though it is higher than Lackey’s 2.77, he makes up with a FIP of 2.92 – which is lower than Lackey’s 3.57.

Taking out last year’s flukey Wild Card game against KC, Lester sports a 2.45 ERA in the postseason which is pretty dang good. Lackey on the other hand sports a 3.08 ERA in the postseason and has six more career postseason starts than Lester. So, really on all counts it is a wash. Game one is going to be really good, don’t forget your fried chicken