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Cardinals vs. Pirates: How they match up

A look at the National League division series between St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

October 02, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Catcher Yadier Molina and slugger Carlos Beltran help make the Cardinals a tough team to beat in the playoffs.
Catcher Yadier Molina and slugger Carlos Beltran help make the Cardinals… (Jeff Roberson / Associated…)

SCHEDULE

Game 1: Thursday, 2 p.m.

Pittsburgh (A.J. Burnett, 10-11, 3.30) at St. Louis (Adam Wainwright, 19-9, 2.94)

Game 2: Friday, 10 a.m.

Pittsburgh (Gerrit Cole, 10-7, 3.22) at St. Louis (Lance Lynn, 15-10, 3.97)

Game 3: Sunday, TBA

St. Louis (Joe Kelly, 10-5, 2.69) at Pittsburgh (Francisco Liriano, 16-8, 3.02¿

Game 4: Monday, TBA*

St. Louis (TBA) at Pittsburgh (TBA)

Game 5: Wednesday, TBA*

Pittsburgh (TBA) at St. Louis (TBA)

*-if necessary | All times PDT

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Pittsburgh

Pos. | PLAYER, AVG., HR, RBI

LF | Starling Marte, .280, 12, 35

2B | Neil Walker, .251, 16, 53

CF | Andrew McCutchen, .317, 21, 84

1B | Justin Morneau, .259, 17, 77

RF | Marlon Byrd, .291, 24, 88

3B | Pedro Alvarez, .233, 36, 100

C | Russell Martin, .226, 15, 55

SS | Clint Barmes, ,211, 5, 23

P | A.J. Burnett, .068, 0, 2

St. Louis

Pos. | PLAYER, AVG., HR, RBI

2B | Matt Carpenter, .318, 11, 78

RF | Carlos Beltran, .296, 24, 84

LF | Matt Holliday, .300, 22, 94

1B | Matt Adams, ,284, 17, 51

C | Yadier Molina, .319, 12, 80

CF | John Jay, .276, 7, 67

3B | David Freese, .262, 9, 60

SS | Daniel Descalso, .238, 5, 43

P | Adam Wainwright, .211, 0, 6

KEYS TO THE SERIES

It's hard to find a flaw with the Cardinals. St. Louis has a potent offense that led the National League in scoring during the regular season. Even without first baseman Allen Craig, who was batting .315 with 97 runs batted in when he was sidelined because of an injury to his left foot, the Cardinals have three .300 hitters in their lineup, including most-valuable-player candidates Matt Carpenter, who led the majors with 126 runs, and catcher Yadier Molina. The Cardinals aren't one dimensional either. The starting rotation had the majors' second-lowest earned-run average, led by Adam Wainwright, who led the NL with 19 victories, and 15-game winners Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller. St. Louis lost 10 of 19 games against Pittsburgh in the regular season, but the Cardinals won the last four. That included three at Busch Stadium, where they have the majors' second-best home record. St. Louis is on an upswing, posting an NL-best 19-8 record in September to clinch home-field advantage in the NL playoffs. The last two seasons, the NL team with the best September record went on to win the World Series. But the Pirates are also riding some momentum, having won four consecutive games against the Cincinnati Reds, including Tuesday's wild-card game, to reach the division series. Pitching has been the key for the Pirates, especially out of the bullpen. Pittsburgh leads the league with 55 saves and ranks second with 30 victories and a 2.89 earned-run average. Pittsburgh's ability to generate offense will be key. No winning team in the majors scored fewer runs than the Pirates, who averaged less than four per game. Only the New York Yankees, among winning teams, had a lower batting average than Pittsburgh's .245.

THE PICK

Cardinals in four.

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