The St. Louis Cardinals will put their season on the line Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Only one team will survive the NL Wild Card Game, and the other will be sent packing.
The Cardinals are big underdogs against the juggernaut Dodgers, but there are a few reasons to be optimistic about St. Louis’ chances.
If the dominoes fall the right way, the Cardinals may very well end the Dodgers’ season sooner than expected.
Here are three reasons St. Louis has what it takes to shock L.A.
Reason No. 3: The Cardinals Were A Fantastic Road Team Throughout The Regular Season
It’s hard to win on the road.
For most teams, the formula to a postseason berth is to play winning baseball at home and .500 ball on the road.
But the Cardinals didn’t follow that formula in the 2021 regular season.
Instead, they were just as good on the road as they were at home.
They went 45-36 in home games and 45-36 in away games.
Their road winning percentage of .556 ranked seventh in all of baseball in the 2021 regular season.
St. Louis is going to have to enter a hostile environment on Wednesday and escape with a win, but the club is clearly prepared to do so.
Reason No. 2: The Dodgers Are Hot, But So Are The Cardinals
Look, no one wants to face a 106-win team in the Wild Card Game.
That’s the hand St. Louis is being dealt, and it isn’t a very enviable one.
The Dodgers are the second-best team in baseball, and they simply don’t belong in a single-elimination Wild Card Game to start the postseason.
Plus, as if winning 106 games wasn’t impressive enough, the Dodgers won seven straight games to finish the regular season and 18 of their final 21.
Clearly, this doesn’t sound like a fun matchup for St. Louis.
But hold your horses.
As hot as L.A has been all year, the Cardinals have been on the same level for almost a month.
St. Louis won 19 of its final 22 regular-season games.
The Cardinals even won 17 straight at one point in September.
Historic run for the @Cardinals!
They’ve won 17 straight, the MLB's third-longest win streak in the last 60 years 👏 pic.twitter.com/tBHHX1BaUO
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 29, 2021
It’s hard to imagine that there’s any team in baseball playing with more mojo than St. Louis is right now.
Reason No. 1: Adam Wainwright Is A Bad Man
Adam Wainwright will get the ball for the Cardinals on Wednesday night.
Adam Wainwright officially will start the NL Wild Card game for the #STLCards, Mike Shildt says.
— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) September 30, 2021
He’s in for a tough matchup against Dodgers ace Max Scherzer, but if there’s anyone on St. Louis’ staff who’s capable of pitching this club to an upset victory, it’s Wainwright.
At the age of 40, the veteran just had one of the best regular seasons of his career.
He pitched to a 3.05 ERA, 3.66 FIP, and 1.06 WHIP over 32 starts.
It was vintage Wainwright from the gate this season.
Moreover, if you need another reason to believe that the righty is going to give the Cardinals a chance to win on Wednesday, just look at his postseason track record.
He’s one of the best playoff performers in St. Louis history.
Over 28 career postseason outings (15 starts), he has a 2.89 ERA, 2.75 FIP, and .665 opponent OPS.
He flourishes on big stages, and it’s a sure thing that he’ll be mentally prepared for the challenge tomorrow night.