The Nationals and Cardinals have tabbed starters for Game 1 of the NLCS, set for Friday night in St. Louis. The visiting Nationals will send veteran Aníbal Sánchez to the hill to oppose Miles Mikolas, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and Anne Rogers, respectively. While the Nationals haven’t set the rest of their rotation yet, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt has set up Adam Wainwright for Game 2, Jack Flaherty for Game 3, and Dakota Hudson for Game 4.
Sánchez, 35, was quite good in his NLDS Game 3 start against the Dodgers, limiting them to a lone run while scattering four hits and a pair of walks with nine strikeouts over five innings. Sánchez is, in a lot of ways, an afterthought when discussing the Nationals’ rotation which boasts Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin. The Cardinals know well enough not to underestimate Sánchez, who posted a 3.85 ERA across 30 regular season starts.
Mikolas, 31, enjoyed a major league career rebirth last year after spending several years in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants. In 2018, he led the league with 18 wins while posting a 2.83 ERA in 200 2/3 innings. He finished sixth in NL Cy Young voting. He wasn’t able to follow up with the same level of success this year, finishing the regular season leading the league with 14 losses along with a 4.16 ERA. Mikolas was good in his NLDS Game 1 start against the Braves, though, allowing a lone run over five innings. He also tossed a perfect inning of relief in Game 4.
Nationals-Cardinals is definitely not the NLCS many of us predicted — certainly not I — but it should be a fun one.