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NLDS/NLCS Preview

Los Angeles Dodgers (78-55, 1st NL West)

@

St Louis Cardinals (89-44, 1st NL Central)


Friday, September 3
Time: 7:10 CT
TV: FSMW

vs

Jose Lima: 11-4 4.12 ERA, 76 K
Matt Morris: 14-8 4.63 ERA, 108 K

Saturday, September 4
Time: 6:15 CT
TV: FSN2,KPLR

vs

Kaz Ishii: 13-6 4.58 ERA, 76 K
Jason Marquis: 13-4 3.59 ERA, 110 K

Sunday, September 5
Time: 1:15 CT
TV: FSN2,KPLR

vs

Jeff Weaver: 12-10 3.60 ERA,131 K
Woody Williams: 10-7 4.06 ERA, 112 K

While the Dodgers' offense has MVP candidate Adrian Beltre, the Cardinals have three MVP candidates -- Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds.

"I'm happy for him. He's a great guy," Pujols said of Beltre. "He's got all the talent in the world. Hopefully he will just keep doing it. The guy is amazing. He battled a couple injuries this year, and even last year and put big numbers up."

Bradley to Return Saturday

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I'm really looking forward to this series and potential first rd matchup in the playoffs.. Oh and not to mention Rick Ankiel could make his debut tonight.. Weeee this should be fun :)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here's where the respect lays

Morris, Cards take on Dodgers
Los Angeles (78-55) at St. Louis (89-44), 7:10 p.m. CT
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com


Who's next?

Fresh off sweeping the Wild Card-contending Padres in a three-game series, the Cardinals welcome another potential playoff opponent to Busch Stadium for the weekend: the NL West-leading Dodgers.

If the Cubs or Astros win the Wild Card, and St. Louis and L.A. finish with the best and third-best records in the league, then the Cards and Dodgers would meet in the Division Series. And there's always the possibility of an NL Championship Series matchup, reprising the battle for the 1985 pennant.

That extra bit of intrigue certainly can't hurt St. Louis as it tries to maintain an edge. However, the Cardinals appear to be doing anything but coasting on their huge division lead. Manager Tony La Russa has emphasized a consistency of effort, and his team has lived up to that standard.

This will be the Cardinals' best test in a few weeks, though. The Dodgers carry the NL's third-best record, just a hair behind Atlanta in the race for home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. It's the second series of a two-week stretch of games against the two Southern California contenders.

"They've got a great back end of the game," La Russa said. "They've been starting fine. They've got an MVP candidate at third base [Adrian Beltre] and a nice club around him. They're in first place because they're very good. It should be a great competition."

Taking the mound for the Cards is the increasingly consistent Matt Morris, who has a 3.82 ERA over his past five starts. Home has been friendly to Morris this season. At Busch Stadium, he's 8-3 with a 3.70 ERA, averaging more than seven innings per start.

His opponent will be Jose Lima, who also has preferred to pitch at home. Away from spacious Dodger Stadium, the demonstrative right-hander carries a 5.49 ERA, with 14 homers allowed in 57 1/3 innings. He'll have to minimize the long ball against a team that has been going deep with amazing frequency.

"It's as good as any in the National League, top to bottom," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said of the St. Louis lineup. "They have a number of weapons that can hurt you. You can ill afford to make a mistake and get away with anything. They're that good."

The game could mark the 2004 big league debut of Rick Ankiel, who hasn't appeared in the Majors since May of 2001. Ankiel last pitched on Sunday in the final game of a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

Friday's game is the fourth of a six-game homestand for the Cardinals and the first of six this year between St. Louis and Los Angeles. Next week, the Cards head west for series in San Diego and at Dodger Stadium.



Cards provide playoff preview
Los Angeles (77-55) at St. Louis (89-44), 5:10 p.m. PT
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com


This regular season is practically over and the Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals are about to meet for their first home-and-home series, but they both hope it will not be the last.
In what shapes up as a possible preview of the postseason, the Dodgers send Jose Lima to the mound after giving him nine days to recover from a four-homer beating in Montreal.

While the Dodgers' offense has MVP candidate Adrian Beltre, the Cardinals have three MVP candidates -- Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds.

"I'm happy for him. He's a great guy," Pujols said of Beltre. "He's got all the talent in the world. Hopefully he will just keep doing it. The guy is amazing. He battled a couple injuries this year, and even last year and put big numbers up."

The way the Expos hit Lima, one can only imagine what the potent St. Louis lineup must be thinking.

"It's as good as any in the National League top to bottom," said Dodgers manager Jim Tracy. "They have a number of weapons that can hurt you. You can ill afford to make a mistake and get away with anything. They're that good."

Tracy ran through the lineup.

"Tony Womack has given them an added dimension at the top of the order as a base stealer," he said. "The addition of Larry Walker, Reggie Sanders batting seventh, that's a formidable lineup. Their starting pitching is similar to ours. They have professional people who throw strikes and get the ball in play.

"Their defense is terrific. They got Gold Glove winners at third base [Scott Rolen], shortstop [Edgar Renteria], Edmonds in center, Walker, Mike Matheny's won one behind the plate. They're just a solid baseball team."

And he didn't even mention Pujols.

The admiration is mutual.

"They've got a great back end of the game," said Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. "They've been starting fine. They've got an MVP candidate at third base and a nice club around him. They're in first place because they're very good. It should be a great competition."

Tracy said the fact the Cardinals were overlooked in preseason predictions was a reflection on offseason activity.

"So much attention was put on the Cubs' rotation and the Astros over the winter signing Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens, that a lot of people felt, based on what's on paper, how do you beat that?" he said. "The insinuation was that the Cards went in a different direction from a budget standpoint and would not be that good."

But as Tracy said, the Cardinals score runs in bunches and are a challenge to any opposing pitching staff. And they play in front of fans as intensely loyal as any city could claim.

"It will be a good challenge and one we're looking forward to," he said. "If you entertain ideas of playing in October, they'll be one of the participants. But when you look at big series this year, we rise to the occasion big-time against clubs like this."
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Originally posted by <b>SacKings384</b>!
ITS LIMA TIME!!
It's Lima time to get rocked :yes:

The Big Series

Big Series:

Los Angeles (78-55) at St. Louis (89-44).

Big Defense: Extra outs will be hard to come by this weekend in St. Louis, where two division leaders, and arguably the two best defensive teams, will face off. The Dodgers have exceptional infield defense, with the underrated shortstop Cesar Izturis and second baseman Alex Cora, as well as third baseman Adrian Beltre; Los Angeles has committed only 57 errors, the fewest in the majors. And the Cardinals field almost a complete team of Gold Glovers, from third baseman Scott Rolen to shortstop Edgar Renteria to catcher Matt Matheny to center fielder Jim Edmonds. Strong defense is part of the reason both teams have thrived with pitching staffs that don't overpower.

Big Matchups: The Cardinals' will start the trio of Matt Morris, Jason Marquis and Woody Williams in this series, each of whom has allowed about a hit per inning -- not exactly Pedro-like -- and racked up relatively few strikeouts. But the Cardinals' pitchers don't allow many walks, they will battle hitters and compete strongly -- especially Williams. The Dodgers will start Jose Lima, who has been born again as a major-league pitcher, followed by Kaz Ishii and Jeff Weaver. There will be lots of contact in this series, and it figures the Cardinals will test the Dodgers' middle relief, which has been revamped in the aftermath of the Guillermo Mota trade and the injury to Darren Dreifort. The Cardinals' staff ranks third in the majors in opponents' batting average; the Dodgers are second.

Big Mo: The Cardinals have won 66 of their last 88 games, after starting 23-22, and they've created the same kind of self-sustaining momentum the Yankees did in 1998 -- the players start going out every day absolutely certain they'll find a way to win, and this allows them to sustain their intensity. The Cardinals are crushing opponents; they outscored the Padres 20-7 in their recent three-game sweep of San Diego, and for the season, they have scored 186 runs more than they've given up.

Big Help? The Cardinals devastated San Diego, doing serious damage to the Padres' nearly extinct dreams of catching the Dodgers. Now the Padres must hope that St. Louis gives the same treatment to L.A. this weekend and provides San Diego an opportunity to make up a few games.

Big Addition: Before opposing pitchers delve into the heart of the St. Louis lineup, they must first deal with newcomer Larry Walker in the No. 2 slot -- something for which he is almost perfectly suited. Walker is a left-handed hitter, draws walks, works deep into counts and gives the great hitters who follow him a chance to see the starter throw a variety of pitches. Walker is batting .295 with six homers in 78 at-bats for the Cardinals, with an on-base average of over .400.

Big X-Factor: Few players have conquered the kind of throwing neurosis experienced by Rick Ankiel, because somewhere along the line, those affected eventually revert back to old problems. Ankiel is back in the big leagues and taking his shot, and he's shown in the past and again this year that when he throws strikes, he can be dominant.

Big Absence: As the Dodgers run up a healthy portion of left-handed hitters, like center fielder Steve Finley, the Cardinals will be without injured lefty reliever Steve Kline.

Big Dark Cloud Gathering: None of the NL contenders -- not the Dodgers, nor the Cardinals -- could want the surging Marlins to make the playoffs. Florida's pitching would make it a tough playoff obstacle.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Game 1 Lineups


1. Cesar Izturis, SS: .293 AVG, 3 HR, 50 RBI
2. Jason Grabowski, LF: .235 AVG, 7 HR, 19 RBI
3. Steve Finley, CF: .318 AVG, 6 HR, 26 RBI
4. Adrian Beltre, 3b: .338 AVG, 43 HR, 99 RBI
5. Shawn Green, RF: .262 AVG, 22 HR, 72 RBI
6. Robin Ventura, 1b: .227 AVG, 4 HR, 20 RBI
7. Alex Cora, 2b: .275 AVG, 8 HR, 38 RBI
8. Brent Mayne, C: .160 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI
9. Jose Lima, SP: .158 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI


1. Tony Womack, 2b: .304 AVG, 5 HR, 34 RBI
2. Larry Walker, RF: .295 AVG, 6 HR, 18 RBI
3. Albert Pujols, 1b: .332 AVG, 43 HR, 106 RBI
4. Scott Rolen, 3b: .323 AVG, 32 HR, 116 RBI
5. Jim Edmonds, CF: .310 AVG, 39 HR, 101 RBI
6. Edgar Renteria, SS: .294 AVG, 10 HR, 62 RBI
7. Reggie Sanders, LF: .260 AVG, 20 HR, 59 RBI
8. Mike Matheny, C: .241 AVG, 3 HR, 38 RBI
9. Matt Morris, SP: .145 AVG, 0 HR, 6 RBI
 

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What Do You Know??? Shaqtus
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I think Brent Mayne may be the worst hitter in baseball that's not a pitcher... He is AWFUL...
 

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Even tho both teams have put up great offenseive numbers (espicially the cards) the most interesting part of that series if it happens would be the pitching mathcups. I defienlty look forward to a dodgers card series.:D
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Game 2 Lineups


1. Cesar Izturis, SS: .291 AVG, 3 HR, 50 RBI
2. Jason Grabowski, LF: .229 AVG, 7 HR, 19 RBI
3. Steve Finley, CF: .310 AVG, 6 HR, 26 RBI
4. Adrian Beltre, 3b: .336 AVG, 43 HR, 99 RBI
5. Shawn Green, RF: .260 AVG, 22 HR, 72 RBI
6. Hee Seop Choi, 1b: .160 AVG, 0 HR, 5 RBI
7. Alex Cora, 2b: .273 AVG, 8 HR, 38 RBI
8. Brent Mayne, C: .151 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI
9. Kaz Ishii, SP: .146 AVG, 1 HR, 5 RBI


1. Tony Womack, 2b: .302 AVG, 5 HR, 34 RBI
2. Edgar Renteria, SS: .292 AVG, 10 HR, 62 RBI
3. Albert Pujols, 1b: .333 AVG, 43 HR, 106 RBI
4. Scott Rolen, 3b: .323 AVG, 32 HR, 116 RBI
5. Jim Edmonds, CF: .310 AVG, 39 HR, 101 RBI
6. Reggie Sanders, LF: .263 AVG, 21 HR, 61 RBI
7. Mike Matheny, C: .242 AVG, 4 HR, 39 RBI
8. So Taguchi, RF: .284 AVG, 2 HR, 21 RBI
9. Jason Marquis, SP: .274 AVG, 0 HR, 9 RBI
 

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Originally posted by <b>SacKings384</b>!
I think Brent Mayne may be the worst hitter in baseball that's not a pitcher... He is AWFUL...
Word. Lima and Ishii's batting numbers are just about equal or better as Mayne's. That's just sad...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
JIMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Career Homer #300 Jim Edmonds.. HR #40 on the year..

Congrats Jimmy.. That's why he's my fav player on this team.. When he's going he's going!

2-0 Cards, Bottom 3

Marquis: 3 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K

:yes:

God yangit Jason I wanna see Ank tonight :laugh:
 

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Sure Mayne Sucks but I don't want Ross and his 175 average.

BTW why does Tracy love Grabowski so much.

Werth, Choi, Ventura, Saenz, and Hernandez are all better than him.
 

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Discussion Starter #19

1. Cesar Izturis, SS: .293 AVG, 3 HR, 50 RBI
2. Steve Finley, CF: .299 AVG, 6 HR, 26 RBI
3. Milton Bradley, LF: .271 AVG, 16 HR, 59 RBI
4. Adrian Beltre, 3b: .339 AVG, 43 HR, 100 RBI
5. Shawn Green, RF: .260 AVG, 22 HR, 72 RBI
6. Robin Ventura, 1b: .228 AVG, 4 HR, 20 RBI
7. Alex Cora, 2b: .276 AVG, 8 HR, 38 RBI
8. David Ross, C: .175 AVG, 4 HR, 12 RBI
9. Jeff Weaver, SP: .217 AVG, 0 HR, 2 RBI


1. Tony Womack, 2b: .300 AVG, 5 HR, 34 RBI
2. Marlon Anderson, LF: .221 AVG, 6 HR, 24 RBI
3. Larry Walker, RF: .284 AVG, 6 HR, 18 RBI
4. Scott Rolen, 3b: .323 AVG, 32 HR, 117 RBI
5. Jim Edmonds, CF: .310 AVG, 40 HR, 103 RBI
6. John Mabry, 1b: .312 AVG, 8 HR, 30 RBI
7. Hector Luna, SS: .225 AVG, 2 HR, 16 RBI
8. Mike Matheny, C: .241 AVG, 4 HR, 39 RBI
9. Woody Williams, SP: .216 AVG, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Mahahahaha @ the lineup.. We'll still win!
 
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