Wednesday was a crazy day in the MLB playoffs with two winner-take-all Game Fives with two very different game flows. What resulted from Wednesday was a very exciting National League Championship Series between the NL Wild Card winner Washington Nationals and the NL Central division champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Even though the Cardinals have the home field advantage it is the Washington Nationals who are series favorites as they are currently -135 to win the NL and the Cardinals are +115 to advance to the World Series, so odds makers expect this to be a pretty tight series. Also, as of Thursday night the Nats are +470 to win the World Series and the Cardinals are +490.
Below is my pick for Game One of the National League Championship Series. All lines are from the FanDuel Sportsbook.
Washington Nationals (+104) @ St. Louis Cardinals (-120)
The Washington Nationals looked dead and buried Wednesday night, but a two sole HRs in the 8th inning, off Clayton Kershaw, set the stage for a huge 10th inning. The Los Angeles Dodgers got off to a quick start going up 2-0 two batters in thanks to Max Muncy HR and adding another solo HR in the bottom of the 2nd, but the bats cooled off from there. Walker Buehler pitched brilliantly and got the Dodgers through 6.2 innings with a 3-1 lead. In came Clayton Kershaw who got the last out of the 7th inning, but then gave up back-to-back solo HRs in the 8th, to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto, to give up the lead. The game stayed tied until the top of the 10th inning when Howie Kendrick hit a grand slam to help send the Nats to the NLCS.
The St. Louis Cardinals had a much different Game Five experience as the Cardinals put up 10 runs in the top of the 1st inning, and 13 in the first three innings, to cruise to a 13-1 win Wednesday. Every Cardinals player scored a run in that first inning and it allowed pitcher Jack Flaherty to relax and get his work in with no pressure. St. Louis used just four pitchers and will have a well-rested bullpen heading into this NLCS matchup with the Washington Nationals.
Game One Pitching Matchup: Anibal Sanchez (1.80 ERA in 5.0 playoff innings) vs Miles Mikolas (1.50 ERA in 6.0 playoff innings)
Game One Prediction: This is going to be a close series, but I think the Nationals have a bit of an emotional hangover from Wednesday nights crazy win, so take the Cardinals to get the Game One win.
MLB Playoffs Record: 14-6