Series: 1-0, Washington
Time/Place: 4:30 p.m., Busch Stadium
Pitching Matchup: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 2.94 ERA) vs. LHP Jaime Garcia (7-7, 3.92 ERA)
Zimmermann has flown under the radar this season, most often being mentioned as "that guy who the Nationals are modeling Stephen Strasburg's innings limit after." However, Zimmermann was arguably one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball. He started 32 games in 2012 and went at least five innings with four earned runs or less in 31 of them. That "other start? Eight earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings pitched against these same Cardinals on September 1st.
Garcia missed nearly three months of the season with a shoulder issue, but showed no signs of rust in his first start back, striking out 10 Pittsburgh Pirates hitters in 8 innings on August 19th. He was knocked around in his next couple starts, including a 5 1/3 inning, 6 earned run outing against the Nationals on August 30th. Overall, Garcia's season was pretty unlucky, as his 2.97 FIP suggests. He allowed a .339 BABIP and only stranded 69.1% of runners on the year.
Much like the San Francisco Giants last night, the Cardinals need to win this game to keep themselves in this series. Garcia is nowhere near the pitcher that Madison Bumgarner is, but with the way things have gone this postseason, this might be a good thing.
St. Louis evens the series in a high-scoring affair.
Series: 1-0, New York
Time/Place: 8:00 p.m., Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Pitching Matchup: LHP Andy Pettite (5-4, 2.87 ERA) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (12-11, 4.02 ERA)
Pettite has made a living as a solid playoff pitcher throughout his career, posting a 19-10 record and 3.63 ERA in 42 postseason starts. These numbers explain why he is their Game 2 starter, not the 75 big league innings pitched during the regular season. While he may not put on the kind of show that Bronson Arroyo did for the Cincinnati Reds last night, he will keep the Yankees in the game long enough for them to score a couple of those runs that only the Yankees seem to score during the playoffs.
Chen hasn't been particularly effective against the Yankees this season, going just 1-2 with a 5.25 ERA against the Evil Empire this year. As has been his issue all season long, he has gotten into trouble with the home run ball. The Yankees have hit six homers off of Chen, who allowed 1.35 dingers per 9 innings this season. Still, Chen has been a key member of the Orioles' rotation all season long and has the ability to shut down the Yankees' offense if he is able to locate his off-speed pitches effectively.
I could talk about Pettite's playoff experience against Chen's youth, but I could also do this with anyone on the Yankees' roster. The point is that the O's need to win tonight. I don't like their chances of winning more than one game in Yankee Stadium even though they were 6-3 in the Bronx during the regular season. The playoffs are a different animal, and no one knows this better than Pettite and the Yankees.
The O's get out to a quick lead and hold on to win behind a strong bullpen effort.