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Cardinals clinch - 1 game playoff a tough matchup

Posted Wednesday, October 3, 2012, at 10:04 AM

Just like in 2011, the Cardinals spent their clinch night sitting in a clubhouse watching television waiting for someone else to lose. Maybe it's not the ideal way to back into a playoff, but you take it however you can get it.

As everyone knows, once you make it to October, anything can happen. It's not always about who's best - sometimes its about who's hot.

Aside from the Tuesday night loss to the Cincinnati Reds, the Cardinals are pretty hot right now.

It all hinges one game - one very tough game.

The Atlanta Braves have been good in 2012 - very good. With that being said, they are struggling through these last few games against the Pittsburgh Pirates. If the Pirates "humble" them this final week of the regular season, that could bode well for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals have turned up the heat through the last two weeks going 10-4 in 14 of their final 15 games. They are certainly getting hot at the right time.

Wednesday morning the Cardinals officially announced that Kyle Lohse, the anchor of their starting rotation in all of 2012, will make the Friday night start at Turner Field.

Lohse has been strong and has earned the opportunity for the start - It's not just simply because it is his turn in the rotation.

The Braves are bringing their "ringer" to the mound - RHP Kris Medlen.

Medlen is 9-0 since moving to the rotation in July with an overall ERA of 1.57. He does not give up runs.

So far, he's surrendered 10 earned runs as a starter in 12 starts.

In 2012, he has given up two runs or more only five times - one of those times was to the Cardinals on May 28.

That evening, Medlen gave up two earned runs on four hits in 2.2 IP.

The key to coming out on top in this game will be for the Cardinals to strike early and often with the offense.

In truth, this likely won't be a high scoring game to begin with given the pitching matchup.

While Medlen has been a good starter, the Cardinals hit right-handed pitching well.

I know a lot of people are concerned about the one-game playoff, but if this team can play like they have for the last two weeks, they can certainly come away with a win.

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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