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With the Dodgers and Cardinals set to open their National League Division Series on Friday at Dodger Stadium with two of the best pitchers in baseball on the mound in Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright, we take a look at each position on the diamond for both teams.
As the protective plastic was being torn down in the aftermath of Sunday's National League Central-clinching celebration and the Cardinals prepared to board a flight back to St. Louis, attention turned from another goal down to the next one on the list.
In advance of the Cardinals' fourth postseason trip in as many years, general manager John Mozeliak sat down with MLB.com to address several different topics during an extensive question-and-answer session. In Part 1 of that discussion, Mozeliak talks about the signings and trades that went into building the 2014 team.
For a fitting frame of reference, we go back a half-century to the mid-1960s to find a Dodgers-Cardinals matchup comparable to Clayton Kershaw engaging Adam Wainwright in Friday's Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on FOX Sports 1.
The NL Central-winning Cardinals will renew their fall rivalry with Dodgers, this time in an NL Division Series that starts Friday in Los Angeles with Adam Wainwright opposing Clayton Kershaw.
A simple count of the flags atop the right-field scoreboard at Busch Stadium serves as a reminder of how extensive a postseason history the Cardinals have put together. There are 11 of those flags, each representing a World Series championship won between 1926-2011. Only the Yankees can boast more.
The Pirates' loss on Sunday did more than just clinch the National League Central for the Cardinals. It also set us up for one of the best playoff pitching matchups you could possibly imagine. When the Dodgers host the Cards on Friday in Game 1 of the NL Division Series, Clayton Kershaw is set to take the hill against Adam Wainwright at Dodger Stadium.
The Cardinals beat the D-backs, 1-0, Sunday behind a handful of plug-in players that were a part of manager Mike Matheny's last-minute switcheroo once a Pirates loss eliminated any meaning from the outcome of Game 162. Win or lose in their regular-season finale, the title of National League Central champs could not be plucked away from the Cardinals.
With Sunday's game irrelevant in the NL Central final standings, the Cardinals pulled starting pitcher Adam Wainwright and several starting position players out of the lineup. Matt Carpenter, Jhonny Peralta, Jon Jay, Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday were all taken out of the lineup upon the Pirates' game going final.
Voting is underway through Sunday exclusively at MLB.com to help decide the 16th annual winners of the Hank Aaron Award, given by "The Hammer" himself during the upcoming 110th World Series to the outstanding offensive performer in each league.
Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday exited Saturday night's 5-2 loss to the D-backs in the sixth inning due to flu-like symptoms. His availability for Sunday's series finale was unclear following the game.
Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams may have recorded the most productive strikeout of his career in Saturday night's 5-2 loss to the D-backs, as it started Randal Grichuk's scamper from second base to home with the tying run in the third inning.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny initiated a review of a bang-bang play at first base between D-backs runner Cliff Pennington and starter Lance Lynn, who was covering the base. First-base umpire Jordan Baker called Pennington safe, and after a review, the play was ruled as stands in Saturday night's 5-2 loss.
A day after Michael Wacha made his last audition for a postseason role in October, the Cardinals remained undecided as to how Wacha will fit into those playoff plans. General manager John Mozeliak on Saturday did not rule out a spot in the bullpen for the right-hander.
The Cardinals intended to start Adam Wainwright in the series finale regardless of Saturday's outcome because it would not preclude him from being available to start Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Friday. St. Louis oozes with confidence behind its ace, who is 5-0 with a 1.38 ERA this month.
Lance Lynn gave up back-to-back jacks in the first, while the bullpen gave up a go-ahead three-run shot in the seventh in the Cardinals' 5-2 loss to the D-backs on Saturday night.
Rookie left-hander Marco Gonzales was thrust onto the biggest stage of his young career in Friday night's 7-6 win in 10 innings against the D-backs. He escaped a jam in the ninth as the Cardinals preserved their one-game lead in the NL Central race.
Alan Trammell lost his first challenge as acting D-backs manager in the eighth inning of Friday night's 7-6 loss in 10 innings to the Cardinals, when a safe call on a pickoff attempt on Kolten Wong at first was ruled as stands. Cards manager Mike Matheny also lost a review in the 10th when an out call at second was confirmed.
Entering Friday's series opener against the D-backs, Cardinals infielder Kolten Wong had gone hitless in 12 at-bats. But, Wong said that skid had more to do with the trouble he had picking up pitches under the lights at Wrigley Field than it did his swing getting too long again.
While the Cardinals insist that they are trying to avoid the distraction of scoreboard watching on how the Pirates are faring in Cincinnati over the weekend, they could nevertheless use help from the Reds to make the path to a National League Central title a bit smoother.
While the Cardinals are hopeful of clinching the National League Central title this weekend, plans are being made back in St. Louis for the possibility of a tiebreaker game on Monday.
Jhonny Peralta delivered a pair of go-ahead hits, including an RBI single in the 10th that lifted the Cardinals to a 7-6 win over the D-backs on Friday night.
On a night when Cubs starter Jake Arrieta outdueled John Lackey by striking out 10 and delivering a two-run triple in a 3-1 win, the Cardinals' takeaway wasn't with what happened 700 miles away as the Bucs fell to the Braves, but rather with their own inability to play themselves closer to a division title.
It fell to general manager John Mozeliak to reconstruct the Cardinals' lineup, and he's done that, even if his two biggest moves weren't exactly popular ones.
Matt Holliday delivered the game-tying home run and put himself on base to be the potential game-winning tally, but the lack of a supporting cast cost the Cardinals offensive chances and bided time for the Cubs to find some vulnerability in Pat Neshek. With Welington Castillo's two-out single off Neshek in the 10th, the Cubs celebrated a 4-3 win that made the National League Central race a little bit tighter.
Having clinched a postseason berth for the fourth straight season, the Cardinals are looking to return to the Fall Classic for the third time during that stretch. Here are five reasons they could go all the way.
For the fourth straight season and the 11th time since 2000, the Cardinals earned an invitation to October. They clinched a spot in the postseason with seven games left to play, and then closed out their pursuit of a second straight division title on the final day of the season. Here is a look back at five things that changed their season.
News provided by stlcardinals.com

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