Who would’ve thought that the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals would be playing for a berth in the World Series? With Washington’s stunning upset of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 5 games, and the Cardinals surprising run, these two teams will be playing in the National League Championship series. Game 1 will be on Friday night in St. Louis with the Cardinals as MLB Betting favorites.
Nationals vs Cardinals 2019 NLCS Game 1 Odds, Preview & Prediction
Long RoadOn May 24th, the Nationals were 19-31, and there was talk that Washington manager Dave Martinez was on the hot seat. After that day, the Nationals went 74-38, and clinched the top Wild Card spot in the National League.
After defeating the Brewers in the Wild Card game, and then beating the heavily-favored Dodgers, the Nationals now find themselves in the National League Championship Series for the first time as the Nationals.
As for their opponent, the Cardinals are no strangers to the NLCS. This will be their 14th NLCS appearance, they have won 19 NL pennants, and have 11 world titles. The Cardinals are the old guard, and know how to handle things in October.
The Cardinals have been on quite the run since the start of the second half, and now they are playing for a chance to get to their 20th World Series.
These two teams are very similar. Both teams got off to slow starts and were written off by many experts. Both teams have strong veteran presences, along with a good mixture of youth. Washington and St. Louis have a lot of flexibility with their positional players, as players such as Howie Kendrick, Tommy Edman, and Matt Carpenter can be used in multiple positions.
Both Dave Martinez and Mike Shildt are known as “old school” managers, who manage from their guts, rather than rely on statistics.
In analyzing both teams, the Nationals have the better starting rotation. Washington will start Anibal Sanchez in Game 1. Sanchez had a great outing against the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLDS.
The Nationals will follow Sanchez with Patrick Corbin, Stephen Strasburg, and Max Scherzer. While Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright have been two of the league’s hottest starters as of late, the advantage still has to go to Washington.
Cardinals Offense Huge KeyThe better lineup belongs to the Cardinals. Even though Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon, and Trea Turner are a very capable group, the Cardinals have the better hitters. Led by Paul Goldschmidt, Marcell Ozuna, Dexter Fowler, and Yadier Molina, the Cardinals have a veteran group of sluggers.
The Cardinals are fairly healthy, as Kolten Wong has returned from an injured hamstring. Washington is still unsure of starting CF Victor Robles’s status.
As for the bullpens, the Cardinals had the fifth best bullpen ERA in baseball this season. Although there have been question marks as of late, especially with closer Carlos Martinez, the Cards still have the better group.
Other than Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson, the Nationals bullpen has been shaky. Dave Martinez has had to rely on some of his starters in the late innings during the postseason.
Look for some FunThis should be a fun series to watch. Both of these teams have had great second halves, and have surprised the league. They both have a great deal of momentum heading into the NLCS.
We should see some great baseball. This series could very well be decided in the late innings of games where bullpen usage could be key. Let’s enjoy this great series, and see if the better pitching staff or the better lineup prevails.