Oct 3, 2013, 2:12 PM EDT
PITTSBURGH PIRATES (94-68) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (97-65)
Where: Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo.
Gametime: 5:00 p.m.
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Partly cloudy, 86 degrees, wind 15 mph
Starting pitchers: PIT – A.J. Burnett (10-11, 3.30) / STL – Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.94)
Okay, enough of this one-game playoff stuff, now it’s time for the real postseason to start. This evening the Pirates and Cardinals kick off a day that will see both National League Division Series commence, the first game featuring two veterans with World Series rings and plenty of experience pitching in the playoffs.
After Francisco Liriano helped the Pirates advance past the NL Wild Card round, A.J. Burnett will now take over in his eighth career postseason start. He has a bit of a troubled history in October, holding a 5.08 ERA through 39 career innings in the playoffs, all as a member of the New York Yankees. The 36-year-old has faced the Cardinals six times already this year, posting a 3-1 record with a 3.67 ERA.
Pitching for the Cardinals is a right-hander with a much better history in the playoffs. Adam Wainwright has a 2.48 ERA through 13 postseason appearances, and 42 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings. He has a 3.00 ERA across 21 total innings against Pittsburgh this season after facing them in three starts.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS (92-70) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (96-66)
Where: Turner Field in Atlanta, Ga.
Gametime: 8:00 p.m.
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Partly cloudy, 77 degrees, wind 4 mph
Starting pitchers: LAD – Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83) / ATL – Kris Medlen (15-12, 3.11)
The 2013 MLB playoffs figure to be exciting with out a true World Series favorite, but no division series has quite the buzz surrounding a pitching matchup as this one. Mainly it’s because Clayton Kershaw – the obvious choice for NL Cy Young – is taking the mound. But his counterpart, September’s NL Pitcher of the Month Kris Medlen, is no slouch either.
Kershaw has made six postseason starts before and holds an ugly 5.87 ERA. But he hasn’t pitched in the playoffs since 2009 and has since developed into one of the game’s best pitchers.
Medlen started for the Braves in last year’s NL Wild Card game and took the loss despite allowing just two earned runs through 6 1/3 innings. Five total runs were scored off Medlen in that game, but three were unearned due to defensive miscues by his teammates.
The Braves won five of the teams’ seven matchups this season and outscored the Dodgers 27-17 in those games. They haven’t played since May and that was before the Dodgers became one of the best teams in the league. That was also before some guy named Yasiel Puig made his debut in June.
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
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