NLDS Schedule 2011: Full Sked for Cardinals vs. Phillies and D-Backs vs. Brewers

Zachary D. Rymer@zachrymerMLB Lead WriterSeptember 29, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25:  Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch against the New York Mets in the first inning during a game at Citi Field on September 25, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The National League playoff matchups weren't sealed with something quite as dramatic as a walk-off home run, but they were definitely decided amidst plenty of drama.

All we knew heading into the final day of the season was that the Philadelphia Phillies were going to be the top seed in the National League playoffs. It took a handful of games and no small amount of craziness to figure out the rest.

But the picture is all clear now, so let's take a look at what we can expect two see in the two National League Division Series.

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Schedule

Game Matchup Date Time
 Game 1
 Cardinals at Phillies
 Saturday, Oct. 1
 5:00 p.m.
 Game 2
 Cardinals at Phillies
 Sunday, Oct. 2
 8:00 p.m.
 Game 3
 Phillies at Cardinals
 Tuesday, Oct. 4
 TBD
 Game 4*
 Phillies at Cardinals
 Wednesday, Oct. 5
 TBD
 Game 5*
 Cardinals at Phillies
 Friday, Oct. 7
 TBD

*if necessary

Watch: all games on TBS

Cardinals Pitching Report

The Cardinals' pitching was not as strong in 2011 as it has been in years past, but they actually ended up with a very decent team ERA of 3.76.

Besides which, the Cardinals still have one of the best pitchers in the National League in their rotation in Chris Carpenter. He pitched a complete game shutout to propel them into the playoffs, and he finished the year with a respectable 3.45 ERA.

Carpenter won't start Game 1 against the Phillies, though. Exactly who will is a mystery until further notice.

Phillies Pitching Report

The Phillies assembled a rotation that was supposed to be the best in the league in 2011, and it was. The Phillies led all of baseball with a team ERA of 3.02, and their 18 complete games and 21 shutouts were also tops in the majors.

According to the Sporting News, Roy Halladay will start Game 1. The last time he started Game 1 of the NLDS, he threw a no-hitter. After him, it will likely be Cliff Lee in Game 2 and Cole Hamels in Game 3.

Yup, it's a good rotation.

HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 27:  Allen Craig #21 of the St. Louis Cardinals receives congratulations from Yadier Molina #4 after hitting a three run home run in the eighth inning scoring Albert Pujols #5 and Lance Berkman #12 at Minute Maid Park on September 27,
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Cardinals Hitting Report

The Cardinals wouldn't seem to have a particularly strong lineup, but they actually led the National League in runs scored. The three-headed monster of Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman definitely helped in that regard but don't overlook Yadier Molina and his team-best .305 batting average.

Make no mistake, this is not a lineup that is going to make it easy for the Phillies' sent-from-the-heavens rotation.

Phillies Hitting Report

We're used to the Phillies scoring runs in bunches, but that's something they didn't do this year. They finished eighth in the National League with 711 runs scored and ninth with a team batting average of .253.

Nevertheless, you still have to fear guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. When it comes to the playoffs, 2011 will not be their first rodeo.

Who Must Step Up for Cardinals?

It has to be Carpenter. I don't know which game he's going to start and where, but he needs to put forth more efforts like the one he gave the Cardinals in game No. 162. That's the ace they need him to be, and they need at least one ace to contend with all of Philly's aces.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25:  Ryan Howard #6 walks off the field after scoring in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 25, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Patrick McDerm
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Who Must Step Up for Phillies?

I think it has to be Ryan Howard. His days of dominating the competition seem to have slipped into memory, and you're already hearing people accuse him of being an overrated fraud. He needs to show everyone he's still got it by putting the Phillies on his broad back.

Prediction

I want to give the Cardinals a chance, but have you seen Philly's rotation?

Phillies in 4

 

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers

Schedule

Game Matchup Date Time
 Game 1
 Diamondbacks at Brewers
 Saturday, Oct. 1
 2:00 p.m.
 Game 2
 Diamondbacks at Brewers  Sunday, Oct. 2
 4:30 p.m.
 Game 3
 Brewers at Diamondbacks
 Tuesday, Oct. 4
 TBD
 Game 4*
 Brewers at Diamondbacks
 Wednesday, Oct. 5
 TBD
 Game 5*
 Diamondbacks at Brewers
 Friday, Oct. 7
 TBD

Watch: all games on TBS

Diamondbacks Pitching Report

Overall, the Diamondbacks finished with pretty modest pitching totals in 2011, as they finished ninth in the National League with an era of 3.78.

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 19:  Starting pitcher Ian Kennedy #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on September 19, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

However, one thing that's easy to overlook is the fact that the Diamondbacks finished with 90 quality starts, a figure that tied them for fifth in the NL. And when you think about it, the very phrase "quality start" pretty well sums up Arizona's starting staff.

Of the bunch, Ian Kennedy is easily the best, as he went 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA this season. Daniel Hudson is no slouch either, as he went 16-12 with a 3.49 ERA.

According to FOX Sports Arizona, Kennedy will go in Game 1, Hudson will go in Game 2 and Joe Saunders will go in Game 3.

Brewers Pitching Report

As far as starting rotations go, Milwaukee's managed to stay under the radar this season. It didn't get much credit, but it was pretty solid.

According to the Sporting News, Yovani Gallardo is expected to pitch Game 1, with 2009 American League Cy Young winner Zack Greinke pitching in Game 2.

At least, that was the plan. I'm not sure if it will hold seeing as how Greinke pitched six innings on Wednesday. That means he would be starting Game 2 on three days of rest. We'll see if Ron Roenicke changes his plans.

Update: There's a report out from the Associated Press that Greinke will indeed start Game 2. He will do so on three days' rest.

Diamondbacks Hitting Report

If there is one thing the Diamondbacks do well with the bats, it's hit the ball hard. They finished third in the league with a collective slugging percentage of .413.

To boot, the power is pretty well spread out in Arizona's lineup. Five of their regulars had slugging percentages of .420 or better.

Leading the pack was none other than Justin Upton, who had his finest season as a pro. He finished the year with a .289 average, 31 homers, 88 RBI and 21 stolen bases.

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 18:  Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers and Prince Fielder #28 of the Milwaukee Brewers walk back to the dugout after they both scored runs in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on Sept
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Brewers Hitting Report

You know how I just mentioned the Diamondbacks have power? Well, the Brewers have even more power.

The Brewers finished the season with an NL-high 184 home runs, and their collective slugging percentage of .425 tied them with the Cardinals for the highest mark in the NL.

Much of Milwaukee's power comes from two men: Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. The two of them combined to hit 71 homers and drive in 231 runs, which is pretty good.

But hey, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks both topped 20 homers as well, so they deserve some credit too.

Who Must Step Up for Diamondbacks?

A bit of a tough call, but I'm going to go with Kennedy. He has ace numbers, but you wonder if he really is an ace. Last I checked, spearheading a charge through the playoffs is something that tends to earn one such a designation.

Who Must Step Up for Brewers

It has to be Prince Fielder. Since he hasn't made any effort to hide the fact that this is going to be his final season in Milwaukee, he owes the locals something to remember him by. A World Series run should do the trick.

Prediction

This is probably the toughest of the four playoff series to predict, but I think I'll have to go with Milwaukee. The Brewers are more well-rounded, and I think more talented than the Diamondbacks.

Brewers in 5

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