Originally posted on Yankees Unscripted  |  Last updated 10/9/11
National League Championship Series Preview

When the St. Louis Cardinals meet the Milwaukee Brewers inGame 1 of the National League Championship Series tonight don't expect a lot ofpre-game hugging. These guys do not likeeach other.  The Brewers were the NL Central winners by six games over the Cardinals, but the teams split the season series winning nine games a piece.
Brewers starter Zach Greinke began tossing salvos 2 days before throwingthe first pitch saying Cardinals hurler Chris Carpenter has "a phony attitude" among other things. Being rivals in the same division only raises the level ofcontempt. There were several incidentsthis season between the teams, including a bench clearing moment with AlbertPujols in the middle of the squabble. With the tension high already with a trip to the World Series at stake,don't be shocked if there are fireworks between players during the series.
On the field, each team was forced to shuffle rotationsdue to the use of their aces to close out their respective division seriesfoes. The Brewers begin with Greinke and the Cardinals with Jaime Garcia, bothvery competent pitchers. Their aces Yovani Gallardo and Chris Carpenter are expected to pitch Game 3.
At the plate, the Brewers rely on the power of RyanBraun and Prince Fielder while the Cardinals counter with Albert Pujols andLance Berkman. Matt Holliday should be on the roster for the Cardinals but is nursing an injured right hand.
Each team has a fine bullpen, though the Brewers may have aslight edge with two bonafide closers in Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford.
It will be interesting to see how the managers put theirmark on the series. With each area beinga close call, it could come down to how the managers handle the nuances of thegame. One bad move could cost their team a game and the series.
Statistical Notes:
Greinke led all MLB starters with 10.5 K/9 Braun hit .225 BA with a .633 OPS vs. the Cardinals in the regular season Fielder hit .237 with a .793 OPS vs Cards in the regular season Pujols hit .250 with a .773 OPS vs. Brewers in the regular season Berkman hit .196 with a .578 OPS vs. Brewers in the regular season
Prediction: The Brewers will end up being just a bit better in all facets ofthe game. The Cardinals while playing valiantly at the end of the regularseason and then in the division series, will once again come up short against the Brewers.Milwaukee in 7.
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com
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