This is a heavyweight matchup here in the NLDS folks. The Chicago Cubs travel to St. Louis to get game 1 of the NLDS started today. I have a keen eye on the Rangers/Blue Jays story and this one. All four competitors have the firepower to get them to the World Series. Ask four people and they will probably give you one of these teams to reach the World Series. The Cardinals are familiar to this role in October, the Cubs not so much. The Cubs haven’t been in the postseason in over a decade and haven’t won a World Series in over a hundred years. Is this going to finally be the team to snap the curse? The Cubs can smell it, they have a roster fully capable of doing just that. And if you believe superstitions and things of the like, the movie Back To The Future predicted the Cubs would win the World Series in the movie in 2015. There was actually an upsurge in money coming in on the Cubs before the season began. With excellent odds to win it before the season started, a lot of people are holding onto a potential rich ticket.
Step 2 is out of the way for the Cub. Step 1 was making the postseason, check. Win a playoff game, check again. The Pittsburgh Pirates had to bow out once again in the Wild Card round, this time it was the Cubs to send them packing. Another long cold season for the Pirates, but for the Cubs it could be a long winter of partying and celebration if they can pull a World Series victory off. However, they have a whale of an opponent in front of them in this series. The Cardinals finished 1st overall in the majors and were a juggernaut all year at home. The NLDS starts today and it is one game you are not going to want to miss between the Cubs and Cardinals.
Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Jon Lester (11-12, 3.34 ERA) vs. John Lackey (13-10, 2.77)
The Cardinals have coasted to the postseason. They have owned the league since it started months ago. They’ve had a firm grip on the National League and look to cap this successful season off with the ultimate prize of winning the World Series. Remember the name Adam Wainwright? Wainwright, one of the best pitchers in the game, was put on the shelf in the first month of 2015. The prospects of winning another World Series weren’t looking so good at that point. But Michael Wacha took the controls and took over as the undisputed ace on the roster. Somebody else had to pick it up though, and that guy has been John Lackey. The veteran answered the call and put forth a solid season, in which he featured a 2.77 ERA. What you want to focus in on this game is how he has been pitching at home, where Lackey has posted a very strong ERA of 1.93. In his last two starts at home, he allowed only 2 runs in total against the Brewers and Reds.
I see this as an even pitching matchup. Jon Lester has been good as well for the Cubs. A pretty solid signing for them. Although, in baseball terms, the Cardinals have been unbeatable at home. A 55-26 record in baseball is good as you’re going to find. At least until the World Series, if they make it there, the Cards are going to have home field advantage in St. Louis. For a team as good as they are playing at home it’s a big advantage. I have to go with the Cards to get the series started off with a win in the NLDS.
PICK: CARDINALS TO WIN -106