(BaseballStL) -- Gerrit Cole will face the Cardinals for the very first time, and it comes at a crucial juncture in the series. Lance Lynn, coming off a terrific September, faces a pirates squad that needs to take a split in St. Louis to have a fighting chance in the NLDS.
Four of the first five hitters in the order hit at or near .300. The only exception is the number two hitter (.189). Hitters that bat third are posting an average .360 with an OPS of .981 against him.
Cole has never faced the Cardinals or pitched at Busch Stadium.
He pitches well on the road, with an ERA of 2.38. He also averages just under a strikeout per inning away from home.
Hitters do well if they swing early, hitting .326 on the first two pitches of the at bat.
During the day, Cole is 2-4 with a 4.28 ERA.
He is riding a very impressive September, going 4-0 with an ERA of 1.69. He also struck out 39 hitters in 32 innings.
Lynn also rolled through September, going 2-1 with a 2.12 ERA in five starts. He struck out 36 hitters in 29 innings, and allowed 26 hits and seven runs over that span.
He must do two things to be successful. Keep men off base, and get ahead in the count.
ERA when ahead in the count: 1.73.
ERA when behind in the count: 7.44
When no one is on base, he posts a sterling .53 ERA.
When runners are on second and third, that jumps to 14.73.
Second and third rockets it up to 33.23.
He has nine wins at home and has struck out nearly a man an inning while allowing 86 hits. The number three hitter in the order fares terribly, batting a paltry .172.
He is 2-1 against the Pirates with 30 Ks, 30 hits, and a 5.60 ERA in 27 innings.