NL Wild Card showdown: Atlanta hosts St. Louis [Preview and Open Thread]
Friday's game is the first in the new Wild Card format that pits the Braves and Cardinals against each other to earn the right to enter the main postseason bracket and take on the NL East-champion Washington Nationals.
Another subtext of Friday's game is that it could be the last in the illustrious career of Braves third baseman, and future Hall-of-Famer Chipper Jones. Jones, who has spent his entire career in Atlanta, has already announced he will retire at season's end. Today gives him at least one more game at Turner Field.
The Cardinals sure hope it is Jones' last game. St. Louis, who improbably won the World Series last year in Tony La Russa's last year managing the team and Albert Pujols' last season as a Cardinal, must win today to continue their chance at defending their title.
The Cardinals will send a pretty darn good pitcher to the hill today too. Kyle Lohse has had a career year, going 16-3 with a 2.87 ERA. That is great, but in 12 starts this season Medlen is a ridiculous 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA. That will be a lot to overcome for the Cardinals.
First pitch is set for 5:07 p.m. ET and the game is being televised on TBS.
I guess I haven't hidden it too well, but I think this is a game the Braves win. Perhaps, 6-3. What do you think?