The wild card game is almost here. Here are the expert predictions, with the St. Louis Cardinals being significant underdogs.
But they have a real chance of advancing to the National League Division Series for a matchup against the San Francisco Giants.
Having Adam Wainwright, 40, on the mound puts the Cardinals in the best position to compete against Max Scherzer. Having Jack Flaherty in the bullpen to relieve Wainwright gives them a lethal combination that could be complimented by Giovanny Gallegos in the ninth inning if St. Louis enters the ninth inning with the lead.
Which is possible with just how good the offense has been in recent weeks. Paul Goldschmidt has been the best hitter in baseball. Nolan Arenado looks like a superstar. Harrison Bader has had a breakout second half of the season. Dylan Carlson looks like a strong Rookie of the Year candidate. That’s not to mention Tyler O’Neill, who is on the verge of stardom and has been the Cardinals’ most consistent hitter this season.
But the Dodgers are historically good — and it’s why I have them winning the wild card game. Scherzer will be the Cy Young winner and is a Hall of Famer. Their lineup is headlined by three MVP caliber stars and, even without Max Muncy, is capable of scoring runs at a frenetic pace.
I have the Dodgers winning, 7-4, and advancing to the NLDS for a five-game series against the Giants. Here are the rest of the Redbird Rants staff predictions:
J.T. Buchheit: “Adam Wainwright will outduel Max Scherzer in a low-scoring thriller. The absence of Max Muncy will prove crippling for the Dodgers.”
Miranda R: “The Cardinals will win a hard fought game building off the good from September. Waino has a Waino-Esque game and Tyler ONeill has a homer.”
Russ Robinson: “Dodgers over Cards. Red Sox over the Yankees. You’ve got to love four of the most storied franchises in baseball going at it in a one game winner take all game.”
Greg Simons: “Max Scherzer has looked vulnerable lately, while Adam Wainwright has been ageless this season. However, I’m still forecasting a 7-4 victory for the 106-win Dodgers.”
Ben Remis: “We know that the matchup between Adam Wainwright and Max Scherzer is going to be fun, but it’s also going to put a lot of pressure on the bullpens. The two starters will shut down each offense early, so I think this game comes down to who has the timely hit in the 8th inning. Watch out for veterans Albert Pujols and Matt Carpenter in a late game spot. Who wins? I don’t know. But I sure hope it’s the visitors.”