Jon Lester was solid for the Cubs but John Lackey was masterful, not allowing a hit until the sixth inning and giving the Cardinals 7 1/3 strong before giving way to the bullpen. Tommy Pham and Stephen Piscotty continued the Cardinals never-ending tradition of finding new postseason heroes with their home runs in the eighth inning, and St. Louis took Game One, 4-0. The Cubs will try to salvage a split in St. Louis before the series moves to Wrigley Field on Monday.

Chicago Cubs (Kyle Hendricks) at St. Louis Cardinals (Jaime Garcia), 5:30 p.m. Eastern

PECOTA odds of winning: 56% Cardinals, 44% Cubs

Projected Starting Lineups

Cubs vs. Garcia (L)

Cardinals vs. Hendricks (R)

Dexter Fowler (S), CF

Matt Carpenter (L), 3B

Austin Jackson (R), LF

Stephen Piscotty (R), RF

Kris Bryant (R), RF

Matt Holliday (R), LF

Anthony Rizzo (L), 1B

Jason Heyward (L), CF

Starlin Castro (R), 2B

Jhonny Peralta (R), SS

Javier Baez (R), 3B

Brandon Moss (L), 1B

Addison Russell, (R), SS

Kolten Wong (R), 2B

David Ross (R), C

Yadier Molina (R), C

Kyle Hendricks (R),P

Jaime Garcia (L), SP

Injuries/Availability: Molina hadn’t played since tearing a ligament in his thumb attempting a swipe tag on Rizzo on September 20, but he started for the Cardinals last night in Game One. He told the media prior to the game that he has more issues catching due to the injury than he does hitting. The Cubs do not have any significant injuries that will impact playing time.

The lineup listed for the Cubs assumes that Joe Maddon will roll with a righty-heavy alignment the way he has the last three times Chicago has faced a southpaw. Garcia and Hendricks are both the kind of pitchers who could be lifted early at the first sign of trouble. For Maddon, this is familiar terrain, as he has managed with a playoff mentality and an early hook going all the way back to August. Jason Hammel will also be available for Maddon out of the bullpen if needed.

Outlook: With Jake Arrieta only available for one game in the NLDS, it puts more emphasis on the shoulders of a pitcher like Hendricks in a short series, and the Cubs loss in Game One puts even more “pressure” on Hendricks. Hendricks posted a 3.95 ERA in 2015 but was money down the stretch, with a 3.03 ERA and 2.58 FIP in his last six starts. Like any non-overpowering arm who lives off of a sinker, Hendricks is effective when he keeps the ball down in the zone and struggles when his location isn’t there. A significant reason PECOTA gives the edge to the Cardinals in Game Two is Garcia, whose DRA was 13th-best in the majors in 2015 (minimum 100 innings). Like Hendricks, Garcia thrives on the groundball, but the Cardinals’ hurler has a superior arsenal to Hendricks, with four pitches that Garcia throws for strikes with regularity along with the occasional curve. There is some BABIP noise in Garcia’s statistical profile, but St. Louis’ strong up-the-middle defense could mean that the Cubs are in for a long evening if they can’t buck the trend and get the ball out of the infield, as Garcia’s groundball rate was fourth-best in the majors. —Mike Gianella


After a pitching duel for the ages, the encore is Zack Greinke against Noah Syndergaard. Not too shabby.

New York Mets (Noah Syndergaard) at Los Angeles Dodgers (Zack Greinke), 9:00 p.m. Eastern

PECOTA odds of winning: 60% Dodgers, 40% Mets

Projected Starting Lineups

Mets vs. Greinke (R)

Dodgers vs. Syndergaard (R)

Curtis Granderson (L) RF

Carl Crawford (L) LF

David Wright (R) 3B

Howie Kendrick (R) 2B

Yoenis Cespedes (R) CF

Corey Seager (L) SS

Daniel Murphy (L) 2B

Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B

Travis d'Arnaud (R) C

Justin Turner (R) 3B

Lucas Duda (L) 1B

Andre Ethier (L) RF

Michael Conforto (L) LF

Yasmani Grandal (S) C

Rubin Tejada (R) SS

Joc Pederson (L) CF

Noah Syndergaard (L) P

Zack Greinke (R) P

Injuries/Availability: The Mets only day-to-day injury concern is David Wright's back, and based on his reaction after his two-RBI single last night, not even Dalton could remove him from the lineup right now. Michael Conforto takes Michael Cuddyer's spot in the lineup with a right-hander on the mound. Cuddyer went 0-for-3 last night and played a couple of fairly routine flyballs into doubles, so it's possible he loses his starting spot against lefties to Juan Lagares going forward. Jeurys Familia got a four-out save last night, but there is no reason to think he couldn't go more than an inning again if needed.

Yasiel Puig didn't appear in last night's game. Mattingly elected to use lefty Chase Utley and switch-hitter Jimmy Rollins against the Mets right-handed pitchers. If the Dodgers skipper continues to play platoon matchups in those spots, we may not see Puig, even if available, until a Jon Niese appearance or Game Four of the series. Mets fans probably prefer to see neither of those situations occur. The Dodgers bullpen should also be fully available, but that may be more of a threat than anything.


As always, the best baseball analysis comes from 90's indie rock icons.

After deGrom's performance last night, you could argue the Mets are playing with a bit of house money today. Terry Collins and company would have signed up for a split in Los Angeles pre-series, and Matt Harvey is ready to take the ball in Game Three against Brett Anderson, the one pitching matchup in this series that clearly favors the Mets. The Mets would love to get on the plane with two chances to win the series in Flushing, though, and Noah Syndergaard pitched well against the Dodgers lineup in July.

The Dodgers counter with Zack Greinke, who has had an MVP-caliber season. The Mets lineup did an outstanding job last night making Kershaw work for his outs, but trying to grind out at-bats against Greinke is a less viable strategy. The pitching matchup favors the Dodgers again, but they will need to get more from their lineup, which only threatened to score in Game One when they were able to hit balls at Cuddyer. That will not be an option tonight.

When Syndergaard has struggled this year, it's been because lineups have been able to punish him when he falls behind and has to come in with the fastball. The Dodgers have the left-handed boppers to do just that, but Syndergaard has looked every bit as good as deGrom and Harvey down the stretch (2.93 ERA, 37-to-2 K:BB in 27 2/3 IP over the last month of the season). —Jeffrey Paternostro

Thank you for reading

This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.

Subscribe now
You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe