This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
The pitchers for Game 1 don't scream NLCS, but both have been fairly consistent this season and there isn't much to separate them. Miles Mikolas and the Cardinals were a small -125 home favorite over Anibal Sanchez and the Nationals as of early Friday.
The over/under dropped from 8.5 to 8 runs mainly because both Anibal Sanchez and Miles Mikolas have put in quality postseason outings, continuing what they did during the regular season. Sanchez went old school and struck out nine Dodgers in five innings, but that's not something to rely on from the veteran. His K% was below 20 this season while struggling most against lefty bats, allowing a .311 wOBA. That said, his 5.36 xFIP against righties is worth playing in this matchup, as well.
It's a similar case for Mikolas, who struggled more against lefties allowing a .336 OBP and .331 wOBA. His numbers in the NLDS were in line with what he did all season, striking out two in six innings (two appearances) while allowing just two runs. The underlying part is that Mikolas allowed a .283 wOBA at home compared to .354 on the road.
Given the Mikolas splits, it makes more sense to stack the Cardinals against Sanchez in case he gets roughed up, which wouldn't be surprising for the 35-year-old. Tommy Edman ($6,500) has been the most consistent option with a .402 OBP and .276 ISO in his last 82 plate appearances against righty arms, but Paul Goldschmidt ($9,000) will probably be more popular for MVP because he's more expensive. Matt Carpenter ($5,500) also came around late in the season and would be a nice value play to add to a National stack with a .377 OBP and .289 ISO in his last 53 PA against righty hurlers. Kolten Wong ($4,500) will be plenty popular not only because of price, but he has two doubles in each of the last two playoff games to go with a .345 OBP in his last 56 PA against righties.
It's somewhat clear who the public will back against Mikolas as he has some ugly numbers against a good portion of Washington's lineup, allowing a .396 OBP in his career to their roster. Howie Kendrick ($5,500) may be the most chalk play with an 8-for-11 mark against Mikolas in his career, while Anthony Rendon ($9,500) is 4-for-9. Kendrick will be popular, though maybe not as much in terms of an MVP or All-Star pick. That title will likely go to Juan Soto ($7,500), who not only has two homers in the postseason, but also a .416 OBP and .293 ISO in his last 77 PA against righties. Michael Taylor ($4,000) should get some love if he starts at a minimum price and with four hits in the last three games.
You don't have to worry about price with either lineup unless you really like all of the most expensive options. The quality of cheaper bats like Carpenter, Wong and Kendrick will allow for two high-priced options with the slight home favorite likely getting more attention between Paul Goldschmidt ($9,000) and Marcell Ozuna ($8,000). While Kendrick has the hot bat in this matchup, he isn't a must to use because he'll be chalky and the cheaper St. Louis guys should leave you enough room to get Soto on the roster.
Anyone is in play in a game without a major favorite and two pitchers who don't instill much confidence despite having solid numbers. Taylor will be a popular route for those backing the Nationals, but teammate Yan Gomes ($4,000) is the quiet power option, who didn't do much in the first series. He's still leading the charts with a .345 ISO in his last 64 PA against righty arms.
For the Cardinals, Dexter Fowler ($6,000) will likely be the most overlooked bat with two hits in the first five games. While he doesn't have a ton of power, he still gets on base at a decent rate with a .338 OBP in his last 74 PA against righties. Of course, he's also at the top of the order so that gives him a boost over those later in the order like Carpenter and Edman.