NL Wild Card Race: Braves and Cardinals, Tonight
Despite being in the driver’s seat for the NL Wild Card, the Braves have not captured the victory needed to punch their ticket to October as of yet. They enter the regular season’s final day tied with the Cardinals atop the Wild Card standings.
With St. Louis winning on Tuesday, Atlanta needs to beat Philadelphia coupled with a St. Louis loss to wrap up its second consecutive Wild Card berth. Should the Braves and Cards remain even following the season’s 162nd game; they will play a tiebreaker Thursday at 8:07 p.m. ET in St. Louis.
Joe Blanton and Cole Hamels will be standing in the Braves’ way tonight. The Braves will not go without seeing one of the Phillies’ eventual postseason starters. Hamels is slated to make an appearance in relief. Should the game fall the right way, Hamels could pick up his 15th victory of the season. If he were to earn the win, the Phillies would become the first team since the 1972 Orioles to boast three pitchers with at least 15 wins and an ERA under 3.00.
The Braves will counter with Tim Hudson, even though they had hoped to save for Game 1 of the NL Division Series. Should Atlanta advance to a one-game playoff on Thursday, Manager Freddie Gonzalez will hand the ball to Brandon Beachy. Hudson is a gamer and should be on point tonight, this should be a blast to watch!
The Cardinals’ come in on the heels of a 13-6 come-from-behind victory over the Astros last night. If St. Louis can beat Houston, it will be assured of at least a one-game playoff with the free-falling Braves for the National League Wild Card berth. A win coupled with an Atlanta loss and the Redbirds will have completed a mesmerizing comeback from 10.5 games back as recently as Aug. 25.
St. Louis couldn’t feel any better about the man they’re sending to the mound in the biggest game of the season. Carpenter has played a significant role in his club’s late-September push, allowing just 1 earned in 15 combined innings over his last two starts with 10 strikeouts and three walks. He has also been a source of depth and durability, having averaged 7 2/3 innings per start over his last four outings.
A season-ending matchup with the Astros was perceived to be in the Cardinals’ favor, but the task gets no easier on Wednesday. Red-hot Brett Myers is in a position to win his fifth consecutive September start, and possibly end the Redbirds’ season.
Myers is 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four starts this month, with 21 strikeouts and just three walks. His recent run follows a comparatively colder August in which he went 0-2 with a 5.50 ERA in six appearances (five starts). Myers is just 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA in two starts against St. Louis this season, and 7-13 with a 4.31 ERA for his career. Playing the spoiler role could have a lasting positive effect for the young Astros.
Look for this to be the show stopper out of all the great action tonight….
Should a tiebreaker be necessary, the two clubs will meet at Busch Stadium for Thursday’s one-game playoff, slated for 7:07 CT.