In St. Louis, the Pirates continue their quest for glory and their first postseason appearance in 21 years. In contrast, the Cards are in the playoffs for the third time in just four years. A.J. Burnett will take the mound for the Bucs after finishing 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA this season. That includes a 3-1 record and 3.67 ERA in six starts against St. Louis, who will counter with Adam Wainwright. Wainwright went 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts against Pittsburgh and 19-9 with a 2.94 ERA overall this year.
Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the Dodgers in Atlanta. He finished the year 16-9 with a 1.83 ERA, becoming just the second pitcher (after Sandy Koufax) in Dodgers history to post a season ERA below 2.00. The co-sub-2.00-ERA pitcher also led the league in strikeouts this season with 232. He didn't face the Braves during the regular season, so this will be his first look at them this year. Atlanta will send Kris Medlen to the mound to try to go pitch-for-pitch with Kershaw. Medlen began his season with a 1-6 mark, but won 14 of his last 20 decisions to finish 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA overall and a 2.04 ERA over his final 11 starts. Last year Medlen lost in the NL Wild Card game, despite only giving up two runs to the Cards in 6 1/3 innings. He'll try to avenge that loss tonight versus the Dodgers, against whom he went 1-0 in two starts this season, giving up just one run total in 13 2/3 innings while striking out 11.