N.L. Division Series
6: Season series: Nationals won 5-2.
Season series: Dodgers won 4-3.
St. Louis Cardinals (90-72): St. Louis finished two games ahead of Pittsburgh in the N.L. Central. Adam Wainwright is among majors’ elite starters and was a no-doubt MVP for team that was on and off offensively, but he might have to beat Clayton Kershaw twice for Cardinals to advance. … Pitching staff is deep enough that Michael Wacha won’t be in rotation given struggles to regain form after a lengthy DL stay from a shoulder injury. John Lackey has come on strong his last few starts and has big game bona fides, beating the Cardinals twice in World Series last fall with Boston. … The franchise is in the postseason for 10th time in 14 seasons. … In first full season as closer, Trevor Rosenthal was among majors’ best, giving hitters more to worry about than just a fastball that tickles triple digits.
Los Angeles Dodgers (94-68): Los Angeles won the N.L. West by six games over San Francisco and begins the playoffs on a five-game winning streak. … The Dodgers have been one of baseball’s best hitting clubs in September, leading the majors with 156 runs scored. Powering the offense have been Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez, the latter ending the regular season with 116 RBIs.
Watch for: With four days off before Game 1, the Dodgers might wonder whether their hot-hitting lineup can stay that way. Kemp has been tearing it up since the All-Star break.
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