NLDS 2013 Preview: Cardinals Vs. Pirates

Let's be clear about one thing… 

ZERO people that aren't Cardinal fans are going to be rooting for St. Louis in this series.

The last time the Pirates won a playoff game was 1992. They posses all the feel goods. They made Kristen Stewart smile.

All the sports writers under 40 have been itching to write about the Pirates "RETURN TO GLORY" and "FINALLY BREAKING THE CURSE OF BONDS".

You want your baseball served smothered in human interest? Well, belly up to the table, bub. Don't eat until you're full… eat until you feel bad about yourself.

That's right – you're a Yankee fan. You're a Cowboy fan.

Buckle up and take a ride to the dark side. 

Still, there are potentially 5 games left in this NL Central bonus baseball series. And it's our job at Cards Diaspora to separate the facts from the fantasy.

Hey… Verducci… get your hands out of McCuthen's pants! COME ON MAN.

SEASON SERIES: Pirates 10 Cardinals 9 (Cardinals 6-3 in STL | 4-1 final 5 games of '13)

POSITION BY POSITION: A breakdown by position according to WAR from FanGraphs + observation.

+ Catcher: Molina (5.6)  vs Martin (4.1) – You thought this was a slam dunk for the Cardinals, then Martin jacked 2 HRs in the Wild Card game against the Reds. And then we remembered he now has 17 post-season home runs. He's not the defensive presence Molina is, but who is? ADVANTAGE: CARDS

+ First Base: Adams (1.7) vs Jones (-0.2) – Toss up here. Jones is basically a replacement level player and Adams is actually a replacement player. Adams has been on fire in September since replacing Allen Craig full time, but could be a defensive liability in the postseason… one of the true indicators of success. ADVANTAGE: TOSS UP

+ Second Base: Carpenter (7.0) vs Walker (2.7) – Carpenter will be in the Top 5 of MVP voting after the season ends. Walker is having an under appreciated season, but there isn't much of a comparison here. ADVANTAGE: CARDS

+ SS: Descalso (-0.3) vs Barmes (0.6) – Have to figure that the Cardinals go with Descalso over Kozma for starts and replacing him with a PH late and having Kozma be a defensive stopper. Barmes isn't great; isn't' a built-in storyline to question after every loss either. ADVANTAGE: BUCS

+ 3B: Freese (0.3) vs Alvarez (3.1) – Mr. October hasn't filled up the box score like Alverez has in 2013. As much as it pains us to not think that Freese could ignite (again) in the post season, it's not likely. ADVANTAGE: BUCS

+ LF: Holliday (4.5) vs Marte (4.6) – Crazy good match-up here. Holliday is the bigger name. But when it comes to the stats he eeks out a WAR advantage over Marte. Holiday has been destroying pitchers the past 3 weeks (when not having back spasms) so he'll get the nod here. ADVANTAGE: CARDS

+ CF: Jay (1.9) vs McCutchen (8.2) – Pirates don't win this series without McCutchen coming up big. ADVANTAGE: BUCS

+ RF: Beltran (2.0) vs Byrd (4.1) – Carlos Beltran hasn't been as productive in the second half of the season of the second straight year. He showed some life the last two weeks, but this time last year was a disappointment. I wouldn't expect a ton out of the veteran. Byrd, on the other hand, is in his first post-season. Already has 1 HR. And is ready for his time in the spotlight. ADVANTAGE: BUCS

… TO BE CONTINUED

So far we have it 4-3 BUCS with one TOSS UP.

We need to see the pitching match-ups before making a ruling. We do know that the closer will be an advantage for the BUCS. So it's really 5-3. The rest coming before the start of the NLDS.

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