A pair of underrated right-handers will oppose one another at 4:07 p.m. Friday in the National League wild-card playoff game.
Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA), who has lost just once since the middle of June, will pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Atlanta Braves' Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA) at Turner Field.
Medlen, who opened the season as a reliever, is 9-0 in 12 starts and the Braves have won each game. Atlanta has won each of Medlen's 23 starts dating to 2010, a major-league record.
"I know he's going to be the same way I am," Lohse said of his Medlen. "He's going to be trying to break down our lineup just the way I'm going to break down theirs. It's going to be a tough task for both of us. I like our team."
The winner will play host to the the top-seeded Washington Nationals on Sunday in Game 1 of the best-of-five Division Series.
Lohse, who turned 34 on Thursday, has been the Cardinals' steadiest pitcher, allowing three or fewer runs in 29 of his 33 starts.
"It's just Kyle's consistency," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of the reason Lohse earned the start. "Every time he got on the mound, we had a chance. He made pitches. From Opening Day in Miami until his last start, it was impressive to watch."
Lohse appreciates the fact that the Cardinals have enough confidence in him to hand him the assignment over other deserving candidates like Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.
"It feels real good to know they trust me enough to go out there and pitch in a one-game playoff," Lohse said. "That's something you dream about as a kid. Now I get to go do it.
"I've had a good year. I feel like I've done everything I could this year to help get us in this position. I'll do everything I've been doing to help win Friday."
Lohse will chalenge a lineup that has plenty of danger in third baseman Chipper Jones, right fielder Jason Heyward, first baseman Freddie Freeman, speedy center fielder Michael Bourn and second baseman Dan Uggla.
Lohse surrendered five runs on nine hits in five innings of a no-decision May 30 at Atlanta, a game the Braves won 10-7.
"Immediately after that start, I changed a couple of things," Lohse said, adding that he thought he might have been tipping pitches. "I did look at it, saw some things I wanted to change and saw some things I wanted to do more of. I came up with a game plan."
Medlen will face the Cardinals' regular lineup: Jon Jay, center field; Carlos Beltran, right field; Matt Holliday, left field; Allen Craig, first base; Yadier Molina, catcher; David Freese, third base; Daniel Descalso, second base; and Pete Kozma, shortstop.
Lohse said it's hard to ignore Medlen's accomplishments.
"It's impressive what he's done," Lohse said. "Obviously, the team plays very well behind him."
Matheny has 15 position players and 10 pitchers on his roster. Lance Lynn is the only other starting pitcher besides Lohse.
Jaime Garcia was not kept as a potential left-handed specialist to face against Freeman, Heyward or perhaps catcher Brian McCann, who will be available off the bench as Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez will start David Ross.
The left-handed specialist roles instead will fall to Marc Rzepczynski and rookie Sam Freeman.
Among the bench players on the Cardinals' roster are outfielder Adron Chambers, catcher Bryan Anderson and infielder Ryan Jackson. Pitcher Shelby Miller is not on the roster, but fellow rookie pitchers Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal earned spots.
Carpenter, who won two elimination games last postseason, said early Wednesday morning after the Cardinals clinched a playoff berth that Lohse should approach his win-or-go-home start as if it's business as usual.
Easier said than done, but Lohse will give it a shot.
"Everyone knows there's this one game," Lohse said. "The winner gets to move on, the loser gets to go home. With that kind of stuff on the line, it makes it more fun, I think.
"I'm not going to put any (extra) pressure on myself. I'm not going to change my pregame routine. I'm pretty laid-back on game day. ... It's been a good year, and I'm just going to try and keep it going."
Lohse said the biggest mistake he could make would try to be a pitcher he isn't.
"I'm not going to go out there and try to throw 95 (mph)," Lohse said. "I'm going to try to locate the ball and do the things that I do. The game doesn't change, no matter what the significance of it or what's on the line."
If the Cardinals lose, it likely will be Lohse's final start in the St. Louis uniform. The soon-to-be free agent almost certainly will sign with another team in the offseason.
Lohse doesn't want to leave the Cardinals, but there have been no contract talks and Lohse doesn't seem optimistic there will be any dialogue between the team and his agent, Scott Boras.
"I don't know what next year is going to hold," Lohse said. "All I've been concerned about all year is what we do here with this club -- and try to live in the moment. I don't try to look at it as a last hurrah. I'm here now. Let's go do it."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at email@example.com or 239-2665.