Before the game gets underway, we needed to get down what a lot of you have been asking from us for a week now: predictions.
Well, here are our predictions that are sure to be 100% correct.
Mike Petriello – Dodgers In 5
Kershaw (twice) and Greinke throwing three times is about the best you can hope for, to say nothing of Ryu’s return and the possibility of good Haren. Still, the Cardinals shouldn’t be underestimated, and Wainwright is really, really good, so I’ll say that he’ll top Kershaw once, the bullpen kicks away another game, and the Dodgers will need to break out some heroics in a Kershaw/Waino Game 5 rematch.That game will end on a walkoff by Justin Turner that scores Miguel Rojas after Mattingly calls a bunt that then (via intentional walk) takes the bat out of the hands of Puig or Kemp, because the baseball gods hate you.
Chad Moriyama – Dodgers In 4
Last year against the Cardinals in the NLCS, I actually wasn’t that optimistic, because I thought the Cardinals were the better team on paper. And I know it’s roll-your-eyes expected for a Dodger blogger to pick the Dodgers to win, but as Dodger fans who think I’m too negative about the team will attest to, I have no problem picking against them. But this year, as we explored in the opposition previews of the Cardinals’ field players and pitching staff, I think they’ve taken a temporary step back as they reload. There’s obviously ample reason to be fearful of the talent on the Cards, but the Dodgers will probably go into every non-Dan Haren started game a rightful favorite, so there’s reason to expect they’ll come out on the right side of this series.
That said, the pessimist in me can envision a world where Kolten Wong hits like five homers in the series and then not only do I have to watch the Dodgers lose, but I then have to hear local news talk about him like he’s a perennial MVP candidate or something for the rest of my life. The world wouldn’t be that cruel though, would it?
Dustin Nosler – Dodgers In 3
This isn’t like last year when the Dodgers we more evenly matched with the Cardinals — an underdog, even. This is a new year and both clubs are different than they were during their NLCS meeting last year. The Dodgers are coming off a 94-win season that was overall good, but didn’t have the huge valley and peak it did in 2013. The Cardinals played well enough to win the NL Central, but forgot how to hit. And their historic success with runners in scoring position last year could not be duplicated (imagine that?). The Dodgers have the advantage in almost every aspect of the matchup, and if they can get a run or two off Adam Wainwright, this should be a short series. That isn’t to say the Cards are a complete pushover, but if this series goes more than four games, something hasn’t gone right for the Dodgers.
Daniel Brim – Dodgers In 5
I hate predicting things. The Dodgers as a whole are probably a little better this year than last, and the Cardinals are a bit worse. There’s still questions about how Ryu will do, what Haren is at this point, and of course there’s the nausea-inducing bullpen before the ninth. The easy prediction is that they’ll cause some heartburn when one starter can only go six innings or so (Ryu?).
Now for the more specific predictions which will all be wrong. The bullpen will give up one game, and the other will be either Kershaw or Greinke losing the first game at home, causing the team to go to St. Louis with a split. Given the forecast weather over the next couple of days, the longball could potentially be a significant factor behind that loss. Ultimately, the Dodgers starters will be too good for the Cardinals lineup to overcome, but it’ll be close and stress-inducing. Adrian Gonzalez will be the series MVP, taking advantage of the fact that the Cardinals do not have a lefty starter. Of course, this is baseball, so this entire paragraph will be wrong so everybody can laugh at me in a week.