Wild Card Game Preview: Cardinals vs Dodgers

With one wild card game in the books, the floor is now open for Los Angeles as the Dodgers and Cardinals square off tonight. The Dodgers had a very successful regular season, going 106-56. The Cardinals struggled for most of the year but caught on fire late, when they went on a franchise record, 17 game win streak.

Looking at tonight’s game, it is the aces going against each other, Adam Wainwright for the Cardinals and Max Scherzer for the Dodgers. Both pitchers have found success late in their career with Adam Wainwright at 40 years old and Max Scherzer at 37 years old.

Looking at the opposing pitcher, Max Scherzer has been Cy Young caliber this season. Since being traded to Los Angeles, Scherzer has dropped his ERA by almost an entire percentage point. Leaving the Nationals, Scherzer had a 2.76 ERA and at the end of the year with the Dodgers he held a 1.98 ERA.

Scherzer, who is a free agent at the end of the season, will be a top priority for many teams looking to add veteran arms. For one team in particular, they have shown they may push for Scherzer when that time comes. That team is the St.Louis Cardinals. With Scherzer being a Missouri kid, the chance to come back to the hometown team is always an option and a possible pitch made to Scherzer and his team in the offseason.

The Cardinals will have money coming off the books at the end of the year by presumably losing Matt Carpenter, Paul DeJong, Carlos Martinez and many other pitchers. The Cardinals will dump quite a few of these players that are costing them money and will have room to make a pitch to not only Scherzer but many other players for positions that need to be filled.

Looking at the Cardinals starter, ‘Uncle Charlie’ or Adam Wainwright will start on Wednesday night. Wainwright has been nothing but phenomenal since the All-Star break. Wainwright leads the Cardinals pitching staff in the major three categories, wins, earned run average, and strikeouts.

Wainwright ended the regular season with 3.05 ERA and 174 strikeouts. Wainwright recorded 17 wins this year, the 17th being the most important, as the Cardinals clinched a postseason spot with that win. As a 40 year old, we do not often see the level of production from Wainwright, as he ranked third in the number of innings pitched this season at 206.1.

The Cardinals offense was one of the biggest parts of the run the Cardinals went on, led by their stars Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, but also from a young rising star, Tyler O’Neill. O’Neill received September National League Player of the Month honors for his play in the month of September. O’Neill shredded opposing pitching with a .328 average, blasting 13 home runs, bringing in 30 runs and scoring 31 runs.

While the media loves the Dodgers in this matchup, do not be discouraged as a Cardinals fan. Looking back in history, the Cardinals have owned the Dodgers when it comes to the postseason. The 2013 NLCS, the Cardinals won the series 4-2, the 2014 NLDS when the Cardinals won in four games led by a Matt Adams home run against Clayton Kershaw late.

There is a reason the game is played on a field and not on paper. If the game was played on paper, the Cardinals would not be in the playoffs and would not stand a chance but this is a one game, win or go home effort. Anything can happen.

The N.L. Wild Card Cardinals vs Dodgers Game starts at 7 p.m. Central Time and the game will be broadcasted on TBS.