2012 NLDS Preview – Cardinals vs. Nationals

2012 NL Division Series

Game

Matchup

Day

Date

Time ET

TV

Gm 1

WSH @ STL

Sun

Oct. 7

WSH 3 – STL 2

Gm 2

WSH @ STL

Mon

Oct. 8

STL 12 – WSH 4

Gm 3

STL @ WSH

Wed

Oct. 10

STL 8 – WSH 0

Gm 4*

STL @ WSH

Thu

Oct. 11

4:00 PM

TBS

Gm 5*

STL @ WSH

Fri

Oct. 12

9:30 PM

TBS

 Team Overview

Teams

Record

Avg.

R

HR

ERA

BAA

Nationals 98-64 .271 765 159 3.33 .237
Cardinals 88-74 .261 731 194 3.71 .255

Neither of these teams lacks any offensive firepower, that much is certain.  The real difference in this series will come on the pitchers mound.  The Nationals boasted the best ERA in the National League, but a big part of their success has been benched for the rest of the season on an innings limit. Stephen Strasburg was a dynamic pitcher, but Gio Gonzalez is more than capable of filling the role of staff ace.  It will be important for the Cardinals to take advantage of scoring opportunities, since they will come at a premium against this Nationals staff. The Nats are the number 1 seed in the NL for a reason, they have consistently had one of the top records since about mid May and have been one of those quiet, steady under the radar teams. St. Louis, on the other hand, didn’t seal their playoff spot until game 161 and needed a controversial Wildcard game vs. Atlanta to advance to the 2012 NLDS. Still, they are always a threat when it comes to the post-season and they shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Head to Head

Teams

Record

Avg.

R

HR

ERA

BAA

Nationals 4-3 .294 43 10 4.94 .268
Cardinals 3-4 .268 40 7 5.90 .294

During their seven regular season meetings, the Cardinals and Nationals exploded for a 6 run per game average, well above their regular season averages.  Both teams hit better and both pitching staffs posted a worse ERA than their regular season averages.  If history repeats itself, these games will be high scoring and each team will likely have to call on its bullpen a little earlier than they are used to.

2012 NLDS Predictions

Momentum is huge when it comes to baseball’s postseason, but don’t underestimate the power of consistency.  Both teams played well during the regular season, that’s the reason why they made the playoffs in the first place, but in a 5 game series, the best overall team usually wins.  We believe that the Nationals are the better of the two teams.  The Cardinals are a great ballclub, but we really believe that pitching wins in the playoffs and the Nationals have the upper hand there, even without Strasburg.  It will likely come down to the fifth and final game, but it will be in DC and that city will be rocking.

About Aaron Garcia

Aaron is an avid sports fan who passionately follows the NFL, NBA and MLB, in addition to NCAA Sports. He is an Arizona State University grad who loves the Dodgers and the Patriots.