On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every playoff series during the 2015 season.
The Teams: The Cardinals won 100 games this year, and the Cubs, who were third place in the NL Central, won 97. It's pretty remarkable how great the division was as the second-place, 98-win Pirates are home for the winter after losing to the Cubs in the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday night.
Past 2015 Meetings: The Cardinals won the season series 11-8, but the Cubs had more success against them late in the year.
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Pitching Matchups: Friday — Jon Lester (11-12, 3.34 ERA) vs. John Lackey (13-10, 2.77); Saturday — TBA vs. TBA
What's Hot: The top two spots of the Cubs' order, Dexter Fowler and Kyle Schwarber, carried the load on Wednesday night in the Wild Card Game, at least from an offensive perspective, as both homered and Fowler finished the night with a few hits and scored a few runs. Lester hasn't pitched in more than a week, but the Cubs' bullpen is on fire led by closer Hector Rondon, who has converted his last two save attempts.
Brandon Moss is really the only bat hitting right now for the Cardinals, as he's hitting .571 in his last three games. Adam Wainwright made his return after missing the season, but he's coming out of the bullpen. He's been successful, though, working two scoreless innings in the last week.
What's Not: Rookie phenom Kris Bryant went 0-for-3 in the NL Wild Card Game and scuffled his way to a 1-for-10 line in the last three games of the regular season, and the Cubs will need him to perform better in the heart of their order.
John Lackey allowed three runs in four innings his last time out. The Cardinals have a total of 12 hits in their last four games, and four of those hits are off Moss' bat. They'll now have to deal with a pitcher in Lester, who's been nails in the postseason over his career.