NLCS Game 1 Preview: Dodgers’ Look to Ruffle Cardinals’ Young Arms

The Dodgers and Cardinals are set to face off in the NLCS in Game 1 tonight as the Dodgers have been resting since clinching their series against the Braves on Monday night. St. Louis beat the Pirates in Game 5 of their NLDS series Wednesday behind a complete game shutout from Adam Wainwright.

Since Wainwright won’t be available to pitch in Game 1, the Dodgers will get a look at Cards’ second-year starter Joe Kelly.  The 25-year- old UC Riverside product broke through this year going 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA in 124 IP.  Kelly was pitching out of the bullpen for St. Louis to start the year before moving to the rotation full time at the end of June.  In 12 starts after the All Star break Kelly went 9-2 with a 1.91 ERA.

Kelly is a straight sinker baller who pitches to contact and only struck out 79 batters in 124 innings this year. Kelly will also walk a batter here and there as evidenced by his K:BB ratio that isn’t quite 2-to-1. He also does a good job keeping the ball in the yard, allowing only 10 homers this year. In his only start against the Dodgers, Kelly tossed 5.1 innings of one run ball and most recently pitched Game 3 of the NLDS at PNC Park. He held the Pirates to three runs, two earned, over 5.1 innings with five strikeouts and four walks.

Before tonight’s game, the Dodgers got news that Andre Ethier will be in the starting lineup after being sidelined since September 13 with an ankle injury. Relegated to pinch-hitting duties in the NLDS, Ethier was hitless in three at-bats with a walk and reportedly has assured the coaching staff that he’s healthy enough to make all the plays in the field.

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