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Nationals vs. Cardinals: 2019 NLCS Preview

Nationals Cardinals

The 2019 National League Championship Series is set. The Nationals are taking on the Cardinals for a shot to make the 2019 Fall Classic. Both teams won Game 5 of the NLDS, the Nationals over the Dodgers and the Cardinals beating the Braves. Here is a preview of the series:

Details/What to Expect

First pitch for the series is scheduled for tonight at 8:08 PM EST. TBS is supposed to broadcast the games of the series. The Cardinals will have home-field advantage if the series makes it that far.

Washington Nationals
Image courtesy of nbcsports.com

The Cardinals and Nationals faced each other seven times this season. St. Louis won five of the meetings, outscoring Washington 26-17. The Cardinals have the edge according to those stats. However, the Nationals should have some momentum after beating the Dodgers in Los Angeles, so either team can win this series and move on to the World Series.

Anibal Sanchez (11-8, 3.85 ERA) is scheduled to start game one for the Nationals. He is facing Miles Mikolas (9-14, 4.16 ERA).

Players to Watch For

Washington Nationals: Juan Soto

Juan Soto is playing very mature for his age. The 20-year-old finished with a line of .282/.401/.548 in the regular season. Soto has continued to rake in the playoffs, as he finished the NLDS with an OPS of 1.020. This includes a huge 449 foot homerun against Clayton Kershaw that tied game five at three in the eighth. He also had two RBI in the Wild Card game. Soto has been clutch this Postseason, and that can be a big factor in this series as well. Soto can start the series off hot against Miles Mikolas, who Soto hits .375/.375/.875 against. This also includes an OPS of 1.250.

St. Louis Cardinals: Paul Goldschmidt

St. Louis Cardinals
Image courtesy of upi.com

Paul Goldschmidt had a so-so regular season, finishing with a line of .260/.346/.476. He also was not in the All-Star game for the first time since 2013. However, Goldy hit exceptionally well in the NLDS. He slashed .429/.478/.905 with an OPS of 1.383. In 21 at-bats, the 32-year-old had nine hits including six for extra bases. If there is a time to turn things around in baseball, the Playoffs are not a bad option. The former Arizona Diamondback also has a .308 average against game one starter Anibal Sanchez, so there’s a chance he can continue to hit well off of him tonight.

Notable Injuries

Washington Nationals:

  • After an unfortunate hit-by-pitch, Kurt Suzuki (C) is probable but has to do some concussion protocol first.
  • Victor Robles (OF) should be set to play if his hamstring is ready.

St. Louis Cardinals:

  • Alex Reyes (RP) will likely not pitch in the Postseason with a pectoral injury.
  • Brett Cecil (RP) will also be unlikely for the Postseason.
  • Michael Wacha (SP) may not be on the NLCS roster with a shoulder issue.

Feature Image Courtesy of Flipboard.

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