Cardinals Playoffs: Let’s Get Wild

After 162 games we will remember forever, the St. Louis Cardinals are finally set to begin postseason play. The magical season continues, but we have a big test ahead of us.

After winning the division, but having the worst record of the other division winners, we will battle the Philadelphia Phillies in a best-of-three series in Baseball Heaven. Let’s break down some key notes prior to the series.

Looking Back at the Regular Season

Okay, let’s start off with the bad news; the Phillies won the season series against the Cardinals, 4-3. All seven games were played in July, where the Phillies took two of three games, and then split the following four-game series. Philadelphia outscored us 22-20 in those games, including three shutouts.

Looking back at my article last week, I stated that I hope we draw the Phillies as our opponent. The entire series is played in St. Louis, where the Cardinals are 53-28. Philadelphia is 40-41 on the road and 34-47 against teams over .500.

In the last 30 days, opponents hit .264 against the Phillies, which is the 13th worst in the NL. During that stretch, their team ERA is 4.31, and this is where the Cardinals will capitalize. It may not seem like it, but July was long ago, and our offense has improved a lot. The Phillies ended the season, winning four of their last 10 games.

In two out of the three games, we were shutout against Philly; Zach Wheeler was the starter. He pitched 14.0 innings, striking out 10 and only walking two. Kyle Gibson threw the other shutout. Our biggest test is if we can take the game against Wheeler, and if we do, it will be smooth sailing from that point on.

The Phillies do have a scary offense, but our offense is even better. It sure is going to feel great watching the .218 hitter Kyle Schwarber go up against the Cards.

Oli Marmol has some key decisions to make in deciding who will get the ball as the starting pitcher. The good news is that we have plenty of guys who I believe are deserving. It is much better to have this problem than to be like the Phillies and not have a rotation filled with quality arms.

Mark Your Calendars

So, when the heck are the games on? MLB (finally) released the schedules, and game one is already on Friday. You may want to call in sick or take a half day, as the first pitch is scheduled for 1:07 PM. The game will be aired on ABC, or you can use the ESPN app.

Game two–and hopefully the final game–will be Saturday night at 7:37 PM. I feel like this is the game that is finally going to hit fans that we are actually watching a playoff game. This game will be aired on ESPN2.

Finally, game three–if needed–will be Sunday night, also at 7:37 PM on ESPN2. Let’s just hope we are watching Sunday Night Football, rather than sitting on the edge of our seats watching the Cardinals battle in a do-or-die game.


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