St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – MLB, NL Wild-Card Game

| October 4, 2021 2:00 pm PDT

We knew for a while that the top wild card in the NL would be the second-place finisher in the NL West. However, the second wild-card spot was wide open until the St. Louis Cardinals went on a 17-game winning streak.

Before the streak, the Cardinals had a five percent chance to make the playoffs. By the end, they clinched a spot in the playoffs. Their prize? A matchup with the 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers.

You know what they say. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.

Let’s discuss this matchup and predict who will come out on top.

Cardinals vs. Dodgers Odds for October 6th

Cardinals ML+180
Dodgers ML-220
Over 7.5 Runs-115
Under 7.5 Runs-105
Cardinals (+1.5)-120
Dodgers (-1.5)+100

I know the Cardinals had a long winning streak, but you could argue the Dodgers will enter this game with more momentum. They went 22-7 in September and October. They’ve been in playoff mode for a while as they battled the San Francisco Giants for the top spot in the NL West.

Factor in that the Dodgers will host the game, and you realize why they are the favorite.

Cardinals vs. Dodgers Matchup Breakdown

The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers will each start their veteran ace. How will those guys stack up against the lineups? Let’s check things out.

Adam Wainwright vs. Max Scherzer

The St. Louis Cardinals will hand the ball to their longtime ace. We’ll see 40-year-old Adam Wainwright take the mound as he tries to navigate the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup.

Wainwright had a rough couple of years, but we’ve seen him regain his form over the last two seasons.

Here are his numbers from the 2021 season.

  • 3.05 ERA
  • 1.06 WHIP
  • 174 strikeouts
  • 3.5 WAR

Since the all-star break, we’ve seen Wainwright perform like a true ace. His 2.50 ERA across 15 starts ranks sixth in the majors.

He has just one start against the Dodgers this season. On September 8, Wainwright went 8 1/3 innings, allowing four runs in the Cardinals 5-4 victory. He went into the ninth inning, having only allowed two runs. St. Louis will need another performance like that.

The Dodgers have multiple options for the Wild-Card Game. They ultimately went with Max Scherzer.

Scherzer joined the Dodgers at the trade deadline and has been nothing short of amazing.

We talked about Wainwright and his post all-star break success. Well, Scherzer’s numbers are better.

  • 2.21 ERA
  • 0.85 WHIP
  • .185 Batting Average
  • 102 Strikeouts

Even with the great second half, we’ve seen Scherzer scuffle just a bit in his last two outings. After allowing no more than two runs in his first nine starts with the Dodgers, he allowed five runs in each game. He also hasn’t made it past the sixth inning.

This season, Scherzer has a pair of starts against the Cardinals. One came back in April, so I wouldn’t value it too much.

In September, he went eight innings, allowing one unearned run with 13 strikeouts. If he has another performance like that, Los Angeles will run away with this one.

Once the playoffs hit, you can throw all that out the window.

Hitting Lineups

We aren’t sure who will be hitting where for either team, but we can make an educated guess on which players will be in the lineup.

The St. Louis Cardinals offense has made huge strides from the beginning to the end of the season. Let’s compare their numbers from pre and post all-star break.

Pre All-Star Break (90 Games) Post All-Star Break (72 Games)
Runs 358 348
Home Runs 94 104
RBIs 343 335
Batting Average .230 .261

Everyone knows Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, but the Cardinals have other contributors like Harrison Bader, Tommy Edman, and Tyler O’Neil.

Unfortunately for St. Louis, most of those guys haven’t had much success against Scherzer. Edman is the only one with a home run. Arenado is hitting .200, while Goldschmidt is all the way down at .156.

We have seen in the past where Scherzer is susceptible to the home run ball. If the Cardinals can get a few, they’ll have a shot.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have an insanely deep lineup. Here is my prediction for what it’ll look like.

  • Mookie Betts
  • Corey Seager
  • Trea Turner
  • Justin Turner
  • Albert Pujols
  • AJ Pollock
  • Will Smith
  • Chris Taylor
  • Max Scherzer

One notable name missing is Max Muncy. Muncy suffered an elbow injury in the final game of the regular season, and he is unlikely to play in the Wild-Card Game. Luckily, the Dodgers have a deep bench that includes a guy like Albert Pujols.

Trea Turner won the NL batting title with a .338 batting average. There are five other players in the lineup with over 20 home runs this season. That’s a big reason why they have the best odds to win the World Series.

Both Justin and Trea Turner are hitting over .300 against Wainwright.

Obviously, Los Angeles has a great lineup, but I think the depth sets them apart from other elite offenses.

Cardinals vs. Dodgers Prediction

Adam Wainwright is looking to turn back the clock and lead the St. Louis Cardinals into the NLDS. However, it’s going to be tough against a Los Angeles Dodgers offense that can attack you from anywhere.

The Cardinals will have their work cut for them. I think the home run ball is the key to pulling off the upset.

Cardinals vs. Dodgers Pick

  • Dodgers (-1.5)

Part of me wants to believe that the St. Louis Cardinals can pull off the upset, but the Los Angeles Dodgers just have too much offense.

I like the value the Dodgers present at (-1.5). Scherzer has been nearly unbeatable since joining the Dodgers. I know he has had some trouble lately, but I think we’ll see him perform like the Cy Young award winner he is.

If you’d like to bet on this game, please do so at one of the top MLB betting sites.

Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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