Today the 2012 Major League Baseball postseason will officially begin and for the first time since 2006 it will not involve the Phillies. Each of the past five seasons the Phillies have opened up their playoff schedule at home in Citizens Bank Park. There will be no white rally towels waving in the stands and no dancing by the Phillie Phanatic this October, but some fans may be keeping an eye on the postseason anyway. We certainly will be watching here, and keeping some tabs on former Phillies in the postseason.
Today the first-ever one-game Wild Card games will be played to determine which teams will advance to the Division Series in each league. First up is the National League, where the Atlanta Braves will get a chance to dethrone the reigning World Series champions, the St. Louis Cardinals.
St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves
Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA) vs. Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA)
First pitch: 5:07 p.m., TBS
When I think of Kyle Lohse I think of one thing: Kaz Matsui grand slam. Lohse gets slammed for tossing up a grand slam in game two of the 2007 NLDS but blame has to be rightfully be placed on Kyle Kendrick for loading the bases with a 3-2 lead. But that is ancient history at this stage.
The ghosts of Lohse's playoff past will have to be silenced if the defending World Series champions want to live to see another day this October. The Braves counter with Kris Medlen, and the Braves have not lost a game he has started in two years. Those trends tell you to go with Atlanta in this game. I know I will be pulling for the Braves because I am not ready to see the Chipper Jones farewell tour come to a stop just yet. I also respect how Atlanta put last year's downfall behind them the way they did and feel they are entering the postseason on a positive note, and playing at home for one game is huge.
I think Atlanta advances to host the Washington Nationals, and that could give Atlanta the upper hand in that NLDS match-up.