Who will get the advantages in the NLDS? [NLDS Game 3 Preview and Live Thread]
Things start out in Pittsburgh with the Cardinals and Pirates (4:37, TBS). Francisco Liriano starts for the Pirates. As we've mentioned before, Liriano had one of the greatest seasons ever against left handed hitters. However, the Cardinals primarily have a right handed lineup. The only lefties that are likely to start are Matt Adams and Matt Carpenter. Carlos Beltran is a switch hitter, but has a career .878 OPS against lefties. However, this year that number dropped to .729. It will make for an interesting matchup.
The Cardinals counter with Joe Kelly, who started the year in the bullpen but was moved to the rotation after the injury bug hit. He finished the year with a 2.69 ERA, but with a very low K/9 ratio of 5.7. He'll need his defense more than likely. The two guys Kelly must worry about are no surprise: Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez. Those are the Pirates best two hitters, and so far in the playoffs they've hit like it. McCutchen has 5 hits already in the postseason, while Alvarez has a home run in both games in this series.
The second game of the evening is at Dodgers Stadium between the Braves and Dodgers (8:07, TBS). For Dodgers fans, the first hope is that Don Mattingly will manage better. From there, it's a battle of rookie starters. For the Dodgers, it's Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Korean import had a fine season, sporting a 3.00 ERA with solid strikeout and walk ratios. He has never pitched in the American postseason, but he has extensive experience pitching in big games in the Korean league and internationally for South Korea, including the Gold Medal Game in the 2008 Olympics. There are concerns that he is not 100 percent though.
The Braves are countering with a more traditional rookie, Julio Teheran. Teheran finished the year with a 3.20 ERA and an 8.2 K/9 ratio. He would be a Rookie of the Year candidate if it weren't for Jose Fernandez's brilliance. However, Teheran usually did not go more than 6 innings, and he did not end the season particularly well. In Gerrit Cole and Sonny Gray though, we've seen young arms come up big. Teheran will try to make it three tonight.
Q it up here throughout the NLDS Game Threes.