Saturday, October 8, 2011

NLCS Game 1 Preview

Who: Cardinals (Jaime Garcia) vs Brewers (Zack Greinke)
When: Sunday October 9th at 3:05 pm CST
Where: Miller Park Milwaukee, WI
Radio: 620 AM WTMJ/540 AM ESPN

"Shit just got real". That is what I tweeted after the Cardinals defeated the Phillies last night to set up this epic rematch of the 1982 "Suds" Series. 29 years after the Cardinals defeated the Brewers in 7 games to win the World Series the two teams will meet in the NLCS for the right to represent the National League in the World Series. While this matchup is certainly not what Yankees vs Red Sox is on a national level, it is a very heated rivalry that could produce the type of intensity and drama that those two teams have brought to numerous ALCS'.

These teams do not like each other. It is clear. LaRussa and the Cards have had issues with the Brewers pretty much since the Braun/Fielder era began. The Cardinals do not like swagger. They consider themselves the police of baseball, the keepers of the unwritten rules and are to "classy" to actually enjoy the game and have fun, much like their fans. They hated the Brewers "untucking" after wins 2008 and 2009 and things have only gotten worse with the Brewers adding Nyjer Morgan this season the whole "beast mode" celebrations. The rivalry came to a boiling point in their final regular season meeting when Morgan and Chris Carpenter exchanged "fuck yous" and Albert Pujols decided to run in and start shit, the benches cleared but no physical altercations occurred.

When the playoffs started many people could see this matchup happening and hoped for it. Two very good teams who don't like each other meeting in a 7 game series for the NL pennant. It has classic written all over it. As Bart Scott of the Jets would say: "CAN'T WAIT."

Since both teams had to use their aces (Gallardo and Carpenter) in game 5 of their NLDS games they will not be available in game 1 of the NLCS. Instead Roenicke and LaRussa have to go to their number 2's, Zack Greinke will toe the rubber for the Crew and Jamie Garcia for the Red Birds. Greinke has been incredible at Miller Park for the Brewers. They did not lose a single start he made their all season. On the year Greinke was 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA in 28 starts, 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA vs the Cardinals. The most impressive stat for Zack was his 10.5 SO/9 that led the NL. Jamie Garcia like Greinke had a very good 2011 campaign. He went 13-7 with a 3.56 ERA in 32 starts, 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA vs the Brewers. The Brewers the past two years have struggled to hit and score runs vs Garcia, it will be important to score early and get to him before he settles in. Unlike Zack, Jaime is more of a pitch to contact pitcher.

The season series between these two teams was split at 9 games a piece. They are about as evenly matched as two teams can be and they obviously know each other very well. I expect a grind it out series that will go the full 7 games. With the home field advantage I have full confidence that the Brewers will pull it out and advance to the World Series.


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