Kersh (21-3, 1.77) vs. Waino (20-9, 2.38).
A year ago, the Cardinals owned the Dodgers in the NLCS. In Game 1, Joe Kelly plunked Hanley Ramirez in the McRibs and we were McFucked. Matt Kemp was already on crutches. Twice Kershaw faced the rookie Michael Wacha, and twice Wacha won, with the nadir arriving in the form of a humiliating Game 6 shellacking in which Kershaw was charged with seven earned runs.
Things be different now. The setting is one round earlier. Kelly is on the Red Sox, and some Red Sox are probably on some island in the Bahamas. Kemp is hot and healthy. Most significantly, Kershaw has thrown far fewer innings this year (198 1/3 as opposed to 236). And Wacha has been relegated to the Cards' bullpen after a major DL stint for a shoulder issue.
Oh, and Kershaw's pissed. Yeah, he'll say all the right things, but you know he's just dying to shut these ribcrackers down. And there are 215 million reasons to think he'll deliver. You could say the same for Hanley, who knows he's putting his skills on display for potential free-agent suitors.
Then there are the external narratives. Heat! Shadows!
This thread will also serve as your scoreboard watching thread for those other teams playing today. GO BLUE!