First off let me apologize for the tardiness of this NL Wild card piece, you see I was making a bit of merry last night after the Red Sox dispatched the Evil Empire. Thank you boys for exorcising the demons of 1978. Then I was woken up by a slap across the face by the Patriots release , now trade of Stephon Gilmore. So lets just start this all over in the next paragraph shall we ?

Dateline Los Angeles : Chavez Ravine , Two of the most storied franchises in the history of the greatest sport in the word collide tonight as the 90 win Cardinals head west to take on the 106 win L.A. Dodgers. Yes one hundred and six wins, let that sink in for a moment. You win 106 games but end up in a win or go home scenario. vs the hottest team in the Major Leagues . GOD I LOVE BASEBALL. People complaining about this situation need to get a grip. Could it be unfair ? sure. But life isn’t fair and Baseball is Life. 

Tonight we will all be treated to what us old timers call a pitching duel. As two of the best to ever take the mound square off  The 40-year-old Wainwright went 17-7 with a 3.05 ERA and tied for the MLB lead with three complete games. Wainwright pushed past the 200-inning mark (206 1/3 innings) for the first time since 2014.

Scherzer finished 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 30 starts between the Nationals and Dodgers, though he was shaky down the stretch. The 37-year-old righty went 7-0 with a 0.78 ERA in his first nine starts with Los Angeles before getting tagged for 11 runs (10 earned) over 10 1/3 innings in his last two outings. Both of these men have been “The Man” for the majority of their careers. And tonight we get to see them in a do or die game that will be one for the ages. 

 

The Dodgers had one of the best bullpens in MLB this season. Their 3.12 bullpen ERA ranked second in the Majors, behind only San Francisco’s 2.97 — and well ahead of St. Louis’ 3.93. Kenley Jansen was a big part of that, bouncing back from a rocky 2020 postseason by posting a 2.22 ERA and racking up 38 saves over 69 innings. If it comes down to it and Scherzer doesn’t find his groove the Dodgers are in good hands. 

Defense is the Word 

The cards have lived on their defense this season. I’m no stat geek but when you lead the league in Defensive Runs Saved (83) you have to acknowledge the fact that this team slings leather like no other in baseball. Pitchers realize this and the smart ones are quick to acknowledge it.  

 

“I don’t think I’ve played on a team that’s this talented on the defensive side of the ball,” 

Adam Wainwright is obviously a smart man. 

 

Looking Down To See the Stars 

With the smog that forever hangs over LA it’s a rare sight to look up at the stars the way you or I take for granted. Lucky for the people lucky enough to attend this game all they need to do is look down. 

Catchers 

Yadier Molina – the greatest catcher of his generation, Nine gold Gloves, 

Will Smith – The Fresh Prince of Catchers w 25 Round Trips this season 

First base 

Paul Goldschmidt – One of the hottest hitters in the second half of the season. 

Cody Bellinger – who hit .165 with just 10 home runs and a .542 OPS this season but lest we not forget his 2019 MVP cred, true Max Muncy loss will hurt but Cody could have a flashback tonight.  

Second 

Tommy Edman –  can make things happen atop the Cardinals’ lineup, with speed to burn. The 26-year-old racked up 30 stolen bases this season. 

Trea Turner – Turner has been unstoppable since arriving in L.A He finished the regular season with a MLB-leading .328 average. including posting a .338 mark with a .950 OPS in 52 games with the Dodgers. He also led  the NL with 32 stolen bases. If he comes up with bases jacked ,  just walk in the run from third. Trey hit two grand slams on the season’s final weekend.

Short Stop 

Corey Seager – Seager fractured his hand back in May. After returning from the 60-day DL on July 30. Seager hit .335 with a 1.009 OPS and launched 12 home runs in 58 games

Edmundo Sosa- Sosa is a true utility nightmare for the Cardinals opposition, slashing .271/.346/.389 over 113 games at SS-second and third base.. The versatile 25-year-old has played a superb SS this year and is always a threat to ignite his team with his bat or glove. 

Third

Justin Turner – thirteen years in the league and Turner just keeps on slugging. 27 dingers and drove in 98 RBI. The two time all star thrives in the postseason and I expect this year will be no different. 

Nolan Arenado – Arenado’s career speaks for itself. He hit 34 homers and drove in 98 in 2021.  one of the best defensive players in the Majors. Any game could turn on his glove or bat. 

The Lawn Keepers 

Tyler O’Neill – The 26-year-old slashed .286/.352/.560 (.912 OPS) with 34 home runs and drove in 80. all while continuing to play that Cardinals type stellar defense in left.

AJ Pollock – Pollock played in just 117 games this season but the last 50ish were something to behold. Bating .324/9/36 RBI in the second half of 2021. 34 of Pollock’s 60 hits went for extra bases. He Loves L.A.

Chris Taylor – the Dodgers black hole is center. Taylor had 20 homers and 13 stolen bases in 148 games across six spots this season. And will more likely than not be roaming center for the Dodgers tonight. 

Harrison Bader – Don’t let the name fool you. Defensively it doesn’t get much better than Bader. His 14 outs above average ranked second among all center fielders in 2021. And he’s no slouch at the dish. 

Dylan Carlson – the 22 year old, slashed .266/.343/.437 with a 117 OPS+ and 18 homers in 149 games this season. Not too shabby for a guy who can barely buy Booze. 

 

Mookie Betts – yea enough said. 

That’s a lot of words for one game. But this game means everything. If the Dodgers don’t pull this off the Blue Fan Group will be up in arms again over the fairness of things and maybe rightfully so. I’m just hoping for the game of the season . We all deserve that. 

 

As always you can follow/give me grief on the Twitter @Tmurph207