GAME: St. Louis Cardinals (88-74) at Atlanta Braves (94-68)WHERE:
Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
The final season of Chipper Jones’ Hall of Fame career will last at least one more game. Jones and the Braves will host the defending World Series-champion St. Louis Cardinals on Friday in the National League's one-game wild card playoff. After being overtaken for the wild card by the Cardinals on the final night of the 2011 season, the Braves will be looking for some payback when Kris Medlen takes the mound opposite Kyle Lohse.
Atlanta made a strong run at first place in the National League East over the final week before ultimately falling short. The Cardinals have been in playoff mode for at least the last two weeks, fighting off the Los Angeles Dodgers until finally clinching the No. 2 spot on Tuesday. The Braves set up their pitching for a deep playoff run by having a “bullpen game” in the regular season finale on Wednesday and have made sure that Jones is well-rested by giving him just one at-bat over the final two games. St. Louis, which dropped five of six to Atlanta this season, set itself up similarly by letting rookie Shelby Miller make his first start on Wednesday. The clubs have not met since May 30 and both come in having won seven of their last 10 games.LINE
: 160, -170 TOTAL: 6.5 - The line varies considerably for this game, depending on where you get it. Some offshore sites have the Braves as high as -180 and you can get them as low as -160 in Las Vegas as of Thursday. TV:
5:07 p.m. ET, TBSPITCHING MATCHUP
: Cardinals RH Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA) vs. Braves RH Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57)
Lohse put together the best regular season of his 12-year career by relying on pinpoint control, issuing only 38 walks in 211 total innings. Lohse struck out nine and walked one in his regular-season finale but was charged with four runs on eight hits in six innings against Washington. He matched his shortest start of the year at the Braves on May 30, yielding five runs on nine hits in five innings. He did not factor in the decision that time and is 3-1 with a 4.97 ERA in 10 career starts against Atlanta.
The Braves have won a major league-record 23 straight games started by Medlen, who has not lost since joining the rotation at the end of July. The right-hander, who turns 27 on Sunday, has allowed more than two runs only once in 50 total appearances in 2012 and capped his regular season by surrendering one run (unearned) on three hits in six innings to beat the New York Mets on Sunday. One of Medlen’s roughest appearances came out of the bullpen against St. Louis on May 28, when he was reached for two runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings.BETTING TRENDS: WALK-OFFS
1. Atlanta 2B Dan Uggla suffered a laceration to his right hand during the playoff clinching celebration but returned to the lineup despite swelling on Wednesday.
2. Due to the nature of the one-game playoff, neither team will need to carry multiple starters and could stock the bullpen or carry 16 position players if necessary.
3. Jones slumped his way to the finish, going 2-for-19 over his last seven games. He is 6-for-13 with six walks, a home run and five RBIs in his career against Lohse.