The Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t necessarily had luck on their side this season.
In addition to losing countless key players to injuries or other matters (like in the case of Trevor Bauer), the team has had to play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball.
The NL West is extremely unforgiving.
It could very well produce three playoff teams in 2021.
Additionally, it features the best-in-baseball San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers, who are on a 103-win pace, may very well find themselves in the NL Wild Card Game as a result of the Giants’ dominant season.
Los Angeles currently trails San Francisco by 2.5 games.
If the Dodgers fail to overtake the Giants, then L.A.’s season will indeed come down to a single-elimination game.
The Dodgers Would Be A Nightmare Opponent For The 2nd NL Wild Card Team
Let’s tell it like it is: L.A. doesn’t exactly belong in the Wild Card Game.
The Dodgers’ record would be good for first place in any division in baseball EXCEPT the NL West.
Assuming L.A. does land in the Wild Card Game, it’s going to be a nightmare matchup for the opposing team.
And since the Dodgers have such a massive lead for the No. 1 Wild Card spot, they are likely are going to have the luxury of lining up their rotation so that their preferred starter will be on the mound in the Wild Card matchup.
In all likelihood, that starter will be Max Scherzer.
Scherzer has been unstoppable since joining the Dodgers.
Over eight starts, he has managed an absurd 0.88 ERA, 1.26 FIP, and 0.67 WHIP.
He has fanned 72 batters in 51 innings, and L.A. has gone 8-0 in his outings.
The future Hall of Famer is the best pitcher in the league right now.
The 3,000th strikeout. pic.twitter.com/3H4KzfLb4T
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 12, 2021
The Dodgers will certainly feel good about their chances with him on the mound.
Who Could Knock L.A. Off?
Now that we’ve established the fact that the Dodgers are going to be an extremely tough out, let’s talk about which team might have the best shot at knocking them off.
Right now, the three teams with the best chance at nabbing the NL’s second Wild Card spot are the San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, and St. Louis Cardinals.
Of those teams, the Cardinals might give the Dodgers the best run for their money.
There are few players in baseball who you’d rather have in the postseason than St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright.
Over 28 career outings in the playoffs, Wainwright has managed an outstanding 2.89 ERA and 2.75 FIP.
The moment never seems to get too big for him.
He has helped the Cardinals to two World Series titles already, and he’d love to do it again in 2021.
Even if you were to throw the 40-year-old’s postseason resume out the window, he’d still be the Cardinals’ top candidate to get the ball in a potential Wild Card Game.
He’s having a stellar season.
The righty has a 2.88 ERA, 3.50 FIP, and 1.03 WHIP across 29 starts.
40-year-old Adam Wainwright has a 2.88 ERA this season! pic.twitter.com/Y3jXO8EwMD
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 14, 2021
On top of all of that, he has been throwing the ball exceptionally well lately.
He has managed a 2.27 ERA since the calendar turned to June.
Wainwright vs. Scherzer would be must-see TV, and it just might happen.