By Jonathan Lee

The Brewers expected to be here; the Cardinals did not.  Either way, this is the match-up in the National League Championship Series that begins Sunday in Milwaukee.  Both teams were pushed to five games in the opening round of the playoffs, and survived by just a run.

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As in the American League, we expect both teams to go with four man pitching rotations just like in the opening round.  Milwaukee is set up better than St. Louis with the ability to go with Zack Greinke in Games 1 and 4 and Shawn Marcum in Games 2 and 5.  Randy Wolf would pitch Game 4 while Yovani Gallardo could pitch Game 3 along with a potential Game 7.  St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter was masterful against the Phillies, but likely won’t be able to go until Game 3.  Luckily he would be able to go again in a Game 7.  We project Kyle Lohse to start Game 1 followed by Jaime Garcia, and Edwin Jackson being the fourth starter.  Jackson could potentially flip with Garcia because of Garcia’s track record at home.

While St. Louis is probably the hottest team in baseball over the past month, AccuScore projects Milwaukee as the favorite in this series.  The Brewers advance to the World Series in 60 percent of simulations.  The home team is favored in each of the seven games, but Milwaukee is significantly favored in both Games 2 and 6.  St. Louis’ projected margin in its three home games are smaller than the edge Milwaukee has at Miller Park.  The Cardinals will likely need a starting pitcher other than Carpenter to step up in this series.

Below are the game-by-game projections for the NLCS.  These odds can and will change given lineups, pitching changes, and/or injuries (Skip Schumaker). 

Game 1: MIL 56%
Game 2: MIL 65%
Game 3: STL 53%
Game 4: STL 54%
Game 5: STL 55%
Game 6: MIL 66%
Game 7: MIL 59%

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