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Friday's game could possibly be Chipper Jones' last.
When looking at the lineups for both teams, there's a lot to be excited about at the top.
The Cardinals have been without Rafael Furcal at the top of the lineup, which could be huge in a close game. The Braves have Michael Bourn, who can turn a game around with his speed on the basepaths.
Both teams have good players in the middle of the order, but the bottom part of the lineups are very different.
Although the starting lineups won't be official until a few hours before the game, here's how they should look for both teams.
|St. Louis Cardinals ||Atlanta Braves
|CF Jon Jay ||CF Michael Bourn
|RF Carlos Beltran ||LF Martin Prado
|LF Matt Holliday ||RF Jason Heyward
|1B Allen Craig ||3B Chipper Jones
|C Yadier Molina ||1B Freddie Freeman
|3B David Freese ||C Brian McCann
|2B Daniel Descalso |
|2B Dan Uggla
|SS Pete Kozma ||SS Andrelton Simmons
|P Kyle Lohse ||P Kris Medlen
Jay has clearly shown he can fill in for Furcal at the top of the lineup, batting .305 with a .347 on-base percentage. Although he has a little speed, it's not game-changing speed at the top of the lineup.
Beltran and Holliday give the Cardinals a big advantage in the No. 2 and 3 holes. While most teams save their best hitters until No. 3, the Cardinals choose to put Beltran second. This guarantees him more at-bats and a chance for St. Louis to strike in the first inning.
The real X-factor, however, is No. 6 hitter David Freese, who was the hero of last year's postseason. If he struggles, then the Cardinals will struggle to drive in runs, as the lineup's last three hitters have a combined 45 RBI on the year.
Then again, all it takes is one hit in a close game.
For the Braves, Bourn is a game-changer at the top of the order. With Prado behind him, the Braves have played for one run in the first inning in many games this year.
From there, the Braves are stout through Uggla. Although he has struggled this year, Uggla has shown that when he's hot, he can really be hot.
The key for the Braves is in the top of the lineup. If Bourn and Prado are getting on base and/or moving runners over, the Braves will be hard to stop.