10 things to know about the Cardinals, the Braves’ NLDS opponent

Here are 10 things to know about the National League Central champion St. Louis Cardinals, the Braves' opponent in an NL Division Series beginning Thursday at SunTrust Park:

1. The Cardinals' starting pitching is their strength, led by 23-year-old right-hander Jack Flaherty (11-8, 2.75). He has an MLB-low 0.91 ERA since the All-Star break, allowing 10 earned runs and 48 hits in 99-1/3 innings.

2. The rest of the rotation, all right-handed, can be tough, too. Dakota Hudson (16-7, 3.35) has a 2.36 ERA since Aug. 1, although he leads the majors in walks with 86 for the season. Adam Wainwright (14-10, 4.19), a long-ago Braves prospect, now 38 years old, allowed 11 earned runs across 9-1/3 innings in his past two starts but just one earned run across 27 innings in his previous four starts. Miles Mikolas (9-14, 4.16) has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his past six starts.

3. The Cardinals haven't announced their NLDS pitching rotation. Flaherty would have been the obvious pick for Game 1, but he had to pitch the division clincher Sunday and won't be on regular rest until Game 2.

4. Offensively, the Cardinals lag most teams in this season of heavy hitting. Their team batting average of .245 ranks 11th among the 15 NL teams, and their 210 home runs rank 12th.

5. But like just about every team this year, the Cardinals have players who can hit the ball out of the park with frequency. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt slugged 34 home runs, shortstop Paul DeJong 30, outfielder Marcell Ozuna 29 and outfielder Dexter Fowler a career-high 19.

6. Keep an eye on rookie Tommy Edman. Since being called up in June, he has been a big contributor while getting playing time at third base (mostly), second base and the outfield. He hit .304 in 92 games, including .350 in September.

7. The Cardinals have the best fielding percentage and the fewest errors of any MLB team this season.

8. Second baseman Kolten Wong (.285, 11 homers, 59 RBIs, 24 steals and premium defense) has been sidelined the past 10 days with a hamstring injury. He hopes to play in the NLDS.

9. The Cardinals like to run. They lead the NL in stolen bases with 116 and an 80% success rate.

10. The Cardinals were a .500 team at the All-Star break, 44-44. But they have been a different team since the break, going 47-27. They broke a four-game losing streak with Sunday's 9-0 win over the Cubs to clinch the NL Central and a trip to Atlanta.