NLDS Preview: Cardinals vs Pirates
Game 1: Thursday, October 3, 5:07 p.m. ET (televised on TBS)
Pirates (A.J. Burnett) at Cardinals (Adam Wainwright)
Game 2: Friday, October 4, 1:07 p.m. ET (MLB Network)
Pirates (Gerrit Cole) at Cardinals (Lance Lynn)
Game 3: Sunday, October 6, time TBD (TBS)
Cardinals (Joe Kelly) at Pirates (Francisco Liriano)
Game 4, if necessary: Monday, October 7, time TBD (TBS)
Cardinals (TBD) at Pirates (Charlie Morton)
Game 5, if necessary: Wednesday, October 9, time TBD (TBS)
Pirates (Burnett) at Cardinals (Wainwright)
This matchup features two of the best pitching staffs in the National League. The Pirates and Cardinals are ranked 3rd and 5th, respectively, in ERA among NL teams. Both teams feature a strong rotation, but the Pirates' bullpen has been a bit better, particularly as of late.
On the offensive side, the Cardinals have a clear advantage. Their offense led the NL with 783 runs, which trails only AL powerhouses Detroit and Boston in all of MLB. The Pirates finished 9th in the NL with 634 runs scored, but their stingy pitching staff is what propelled them into the first Wild Card slot.
The Cardinals seem to be the favorites, and came into the postseason rather hot, winning their final 6 games. The Pirates, on the other hand, are on an emotional high after an incredible win over the Reds in the wild card game. Pittsburgh fans are more excited about the Pirates than most of them have ever been in their lifetime, after 2 decades of losing seasons.
I'm predicting the Cardinals win in 5. Leave your predictions in the comments below.