The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals take to the diamond for game 2 of the NLDS. In game 1 yesterday John Lackey was able to pick up an impressive win for the Cards, who are feeling right back at home in the postseason. This is all new to the young Cubbies. They have a good core, but the optimal word with them is young and inexperienced. Winning three straight games against the Cards seems like an afterthought, so winning today will be imperative. The Blue Jays were unable to tie things up yesterday, albeit, in a controversial game. Never mind the blatantly missed call at 2nd base in extra innings. The home plate ump was making the game hard on the Blue Jays, with one of the more inconsistent strike zones I’ve seen. Yes, that has a big impact on hitters at the plate. Not knowing where the strike zone is can cripple an offense, and while it isn’t the main reason the Blue Jays lost, it certainly contributed to it. But in any case, all the Jays had to do was hold Napoli down with 2 outs in the 8th inning and they would have been heading to Texas with a tied series. They then could have gotten a solo shot from of their heavy hitters, or came through in the bottom of 13th with a runner in scoring position. So many what ifs for the Jays. The Cubs don’t want to head down that same road as well.
A loss today would put them in the same position as Toronto. It feels cruel knowing both the Jays and Cubs may be out in the divisional round. Such success and promise this season, wiped away in just a few days. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, though. The Blue Jays could win three straight games, and after today the Cubs and Cardinals might be tied up with the series heading to Chicago. The Cubs need to make it past Jaime Garcia, not the easiest thing to ask of them, but anything goes in the postseason, as we have been seeing in the Toronto series. Gallardo beating David Price? Yes that happened. Kyle Hendricks takes the mound for the Cubs in game 2 of the NLDS.
Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Kyle Hendricks (8-7, 3.95 ERA) vs. Jaime Garcia (10-6, 2.43)
The Cardinals have picked up for the loss of Adam Wainwright without a doubt. But just think how good their rotation would have been if he had stayed healthy. It is filthy enough as it is even with Wainwright on the shelf. The Cards finished with a 101-62 record, so you figure Wainwright could have added a few more wins onto that. They may not need him to win the World Series considering the way they have been playing. Now the get Jaime Garcia starting game 2, who has been a dynamite pitcher for the Cards. Notably, he hasn’t been able to get hit pitching at home. Garcia sports a 1.70 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in St. Louis. Just like his team as a whole, he doesn’t lose at home. To boot, Garcia has been hot lately as well, posting a 1.89 ERA in his last three starts.
Conversely, Kyle Hendricks hasn’t liked finding himself pitching away from home. Note that Hendricks has a 3.95 ERA overall, but his worst stuff comes on the road with a 4.47 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and .306 OBA. There is no room for error playing against the Cards in their own backyard. They are too good of a team to be able to overcome if mistakes are made. The Cardinals didn’t make a mistake yesterday at all. I don’t think they do today either. It might not be as easy at a 4 run win, but I have to ride with Garcia in game 2.
PICK: CARDINALS TO WIN -130