I recently spoke with Evan Makovsky, host of The E-Mak Show on Sports Radio 1380 in St. Louis about the Cardinals and the upcoming wild card play-in game. Here’s what he had to say:

Steve Hirsch: What do you think are the keys to the Cardinals winning on Friday night and advancing to face the Nationals in the division series?

Evan Makovsky: Well I think they need a positive start out of Kyle Lohse, obviously, because it’s a one game playoff and you don’t want to fall behind by a handful of runs because it puts a lot of pressure on the team. It may sound cliche, but getting off to an early lead or at least staying very close is a key. Of course, we would like to see some timely hitting as well from Holliday or Beltran or whoever.

SHDo you agree with Kyle Lohse being given the start or do you think someone more experienced like Chris Carpenter should have gotten the start?

EM: I think Lohse is the right call. Definitely.

SH: Along the same lines, the Braves have a very left-handed heavy lineup. Obviously Lohse is a RHP and the Cardinals only have two lefties in their bullpen. Do you think this could be a problem or should all the probabilities of righty-lefty matchups be thrown out in a one-game playoff and not be considered.

EM: I don’t know about not being considered but I do believe there’s very little margin for error so if Kyle Lohse is struggling, then maybe you go to Lance Lynn. To me, I’m not saying you want to be a paranoid manager, but really I think you have to manage very closely, all hands on deck, make pitching changes and deal with the ramifications later. You have to take care of what’s in front of you.

SH: David Freese missed 4 games last week due to a bad ankle and is 2-for-11 since returning. Should the Cardinals defeat the Braves on Friday, do you think he’ll be as effective and perhaps as heroic as he was in the last year’s postseason or is this ankle going to be a lingering issue for him?

EM: It’s impossible to expect that he’ll be as heroic as last year’s postseason given the fact that this is a play-in game as opposed to game six of the World Series. What he did last year will be played years from now as far as World Series highlights. As far as being effective on Friday, I don’t know. I don’t think his end of the season is so encouraging. Obviously he’s comfortable on the big stage and this is a big stage so you would like to hope that he can produce.

SH: How do you think Mike Matheny handled managing a team during a pennant  down the stretch

EM: I think Mike Matheny did a very good job this year. People questioned his moves here and there and his decisions. They lost Albert Pujols, and Matheny still got them back to the playoffs. I think there’s very little criticism to be thrown at Mike Matheny for the 2012 Cardinals.

SH: Whose your World Series winner in 2012?

EM: Until three days ago, I would have said the Texas Rangers. I think it’s the most stunning thing that after the season, start to finish, it’s the Texas Rangers who have to play in a play-in game, of all teams. This, to me, is flabbergasting  I know a lot of people like the San Francisco Giants, but the fact that the Rangers now have to play in a single elimination game, it’s hard to like their chances as it makes the road a whole lot tougher. So I have no idea. Now that they have to play Friday, and I hope they just make it to the division series.

The E-Mak Show can be heard on Sports Radio 1380 from 6AM-9AM, Mon-Fri.