NL Wild Card Preview and Prediction: [email protected]

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 09: Trea Turner #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats in a run with a single against the St. Louis Cardinals in the third inning at Busch Stadium on September 9, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Dodgers won 106  this year; what did that earn them? A one-and-done playoff with the St.Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals were the hottest team in baseball over the last month of the season; that last month included a remarkable 17 straight wins that helped them steamroll into this one and done wild card game.

The Pitching matchup

Adam Wainwright vs. Max Scherzer

Wainright will start for St.Louis, and the 39-year-old veteran is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. The veteran right-hander recorded 18 quality starts in his last 22 outings and owns a 2.58 ERA during that stretch.

Since coming to the Dodgers in a trade with the Nationals, Scherzer has been dominant with a 1.98 ERA with a 0.82 WHIP while limiting opponents to a .189 batting average in 11 starts since coming over from the Nationals.

Biggest questions heading into the game

The Cardinals were an incredible 22-7 over the last month of the season. Will they carry that hot streak into the playoffs? Unfortunately, Scherzer did limp to the end of the season as in his previous two starts; he allowed ten runs and 17 hits in 10 innings. Scherzer has been a good postseason pitcher over his career, though, so I think we will get more of the dominant Max we saw before those two bad starts that he ended his season with.

Can Wainwright get the Dodgers big four players out? The Top 4 in their lineup (Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Trea Turner, and Justin Turner) combine to hit .369 off Wainwright. This is a big-time red flag in this game to me. The Dodgers are hot at the plate, and in their final five regular-season games, they scored at least eight runs in each of those games.

Prediction

The Dodgers are the best team in baseball, at least if you are looking at strictly just talent. Max Scherzer has been dominant in a Dodgers uniform. I don’t think this game is a mismatch as you have the most complete baseball team against the hottest team. If this were a seven-game series, I would not hesitate to bet the Dodgers. A one-game playoff is different, though. I am going with the Dodgers to win this game, but they will have their hands full with a hot Cardinals squad! Dodgers 5  Cardinals 3

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