The first day of the divisional series kicks off today with two games. The Atlanta Braves will play host to the St. Louis Cardinals in the early game. Later tonight the Los Angeles Dodgers will host the Washington Nationals, fresh off of their Wild Card Game win.

The Cardinals at Braves Match Up

The Braves won the National League East by going 97-65. They’ll host the Cardinals. St. Louis won the National League Central thanks to a 91-71 record.

Stat Comparison and Rankings

On paper, the Braves look to be the better team. Their offense was significantly better in nearly every category. On the pitching side the Cardinals had a small advantage across the board on the season.

The Starting Pitching Match Up

Miles Mikolas (9-14, 4.16 ERA, 184.0 IP, 27 HR, 32 BB, 144 K)

A year after leading the National League with 18 wins, Mikolas led the National League in losses with 14. Luck wasn’t exactly on his side as he posted a 103 ERA+, which is slightly better than the league average. But he was not nearly as good in 2019 as he was in 2018 when his ERA was 2.83 and his ERA+ was 137. When it comes to handedness, the right-handed pitcher doesn’t really show splits. But in 2019 he showed very big home and road splits. Away from St. Louis his ERA was 5.40 and he allowed 17 home runs in 88.1 innings. At home his ERA was 3.01 and he allowed just 10 home runs in 95.2 innings.

Dallas Keuchel (8-8, 3.75 ERA, 112.2 IP, 16 HR, 39 BB, 144 K)

After posting a 3.74 ERA and throwing 204.2 innings for Houston in 2018, Dallas Keuchel couldn’t find a job until the second week of June this year because baseball is really stupid. Once he took the mound for the Braves, he did what was expected – he showed he’s an above-average pitcher as he posted a 121 ERA+ for Atlanta. Unlike Mikolas, Keuchel does have platoon splits. That said, it’s more so because he dominates left-handed hitters, who had a .620 OPS against him this year. Teams limited how many lefties he faced, as he saw more than four times as many right-handed hitters this year. Like Mikolas, he too has huge home and road splits. His ERA at home was 2.74 and he allowed just 5 home runs in 62.1 innings. On the road his ERA was 5.01 and he gave up 11 homers in 50.1 innings.

The Starting Lineups

Cardinals Braves
1 Dexter Fowler RF Ronald Acuna Jr. CF
2 Tommy Edman 3B Ozzie Albies 2B
3 Paul Goldschmidt 1B Freddie Freeman 1B
4 Marcell Ozuna LF Josh Donaldson 3B
5 Yadier Molina C Nick Markakis LF
6 Paul DeJong SS Matt Joyce RF
7 Kolten Wong 2B Brian McCann CF
8 Harrison Bader CF Dansby Swanson SS
9 Miles Mikolas SP Dallas Kuechel SP

Game Information

Start time: 5:02 PM ET

Television/Radio: TBS / ESPN Radio

The Nationals vs Dodgers Match Up

The Dodgers are a dynasty, at least among the National League. But they haven’t busted through and won the World Series yet during their current run. Once again they were the best team in the league, winning 106 games and the National League West Division. They’ll host the Washington Nationals, who took the top wild card spot by going 93-69 and then won the Wild Card Game on Tuesday.

Stat Comparison and Rankings

The two offenses were among the best in the league. They finished first and second in runs scored. They finished first and second in on-base percentage, and were first and third in slugging percentage. The Nationals did steal bases at a much higher clip. It’s the pitching that is the difference here. Los Angeles was easily the best pitching staff in the National League. It wasn’t close. The team WHIP was 1.10 for crying out loud. But when it comes to starting pitching, the Nationals can match up with anyone. Unfortunately for them, in order to get through the Wild Card game and have a chance they had to use both Max Scherzer AND Stephen Strasburg on Tuesday. Wilder things have happened, but, good luck.

The Starting Pitching Match Up

Patrick Corbin (14-7, 3.25 ERA, 202 IP, 24 HR, 70 BB, 238 K)

The Nationals big offseason signing paid off well in 2019 for Washington. Corbin posted a 141 ERA+ while topping 200 innings and being credited with twice as many wins as losses. The left-handed pitcher does have some platoon splits, but only because lefties have no chance against him. This season left-handed hitters had a .190/.260/.248 line against him and just 4 total extra-base hits in 151 plate appearances. Right-handed hitters had a .235/.300/.404 line against him on the season. Away from Washington he posted a 4.18 ERA in 97.0 innings and allowed 16 home runs. At home his ERA was just 2.40 and he had 8 home runs allowed in 105.0 innings.

Walker Buehler (14-4, 3.26 ERA, 182.1 IP, 20 HR, 37 BB, 215 K)

Not that records mean a whole lot with starting pitchers throwing fewer innings than ever before, but Buehler had the best winning percentage in the league among qualified starters. He walks no one and he strikes out everyone. It’s a pretty good combo if you can do it. The right-handed starter doesn’t really have splits – righties had a .657 OPS against him this season, while lefties had a .616 OPS against him. He did show some small home and road splits. He dominated in Los Angeles, posting a 2.86 ERA in 91.1 innings with 12 home runs, 10 walks, and 112 strikeouts. On the road he had a 3.66 ERA in 91.0 innings with 8 home runs allowed, 27 walks, and 103 strikeouts.

The Starting Lineups

Nationals Dodgers
1 Trea Turner SS A.J. Pollock LF
2 Adam Eaton RF David Freese 1B
3 Anthony Rendon 3B Justin Turner 3B
4 Juan Soto LF Cody Bellinger CF
5 Howie Kendrick 1B Chris Taylor RF
6 Asdrubal Cabrera 2B Max Muncy 2B
7 Victor Robles CF Corey Seager SS
8 Yan Gomes C Will Smith C
9 Patrick Corbin SP Walker Buehler SP

Game Information

Start time: 8:37 PM ET

Television/Radio: TBS / ESPN Radio

4 Responses

  1. RedNat

    If the reds kept Duvall in left and Billy in center and Puig in right I think things would have been alot different with the reds this year especially with our pitching the way it was


    You can really tell the difference in the Reds and these playoff teams. It’s honestly like a different sport. Just from the early game, the Braves talent is eye popping and the Cardinals just don’t have many bad at bats. The Reds seem to have two give away outs per inning.
    Unfortunately there is no real way for the Refs to acquire that type of talent.

  3. Ed

    When I was a kid, I thought Rick Honeycutt was so awesome. On that note- I Hope David Cone ends up managing the Mets.

  4. TR

    Not the result I was hoping for, but the Cardinals come at you. Acuna, Jr. is loaded with talent but seems to be a bit of a head case.