The Phillies will face the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card Series.
Since 2012, MLB only had two Wild Card teams eligible to make the postseason. They would play in a win-or-go-home game against each other to determine who would face the No. 1 seed in each league. Thankfully for the Phillies, Major League Baseball expanded the postseason to welcome a third Wild Card team from each league.
While the Phillies have one game remaining in the regular season, they can not overtake the San Diego Padres in the Wild Card standings. Yet, the Phillies playing the Cardinals is more favorable than their would-be other opponent — their division-rival New York Mets. Not to say that the Cardinals are not a very good team, but in a three-game series, the thought of the Phillies offense opposing Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer is terrifying.
The Phillies struggled to win games this season against the Mets — going a poor 5-14, including a 2-7 home record. And that is not even the worst statistic. The strong one-two punch of Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola posted an 0-7 record against the Mets in nine total starts. They combined for a pedestrian 4.40 ERA. Needless to say, the Padres have a tough Wild Card Series opponent on their hands.
On the flip side, the Phillies have performed much better against the Cardinals this year. Their 4-3 record against St. Louis gives fans hope that there will be competitive games. In those seven games, the Phillies shut out the Cardinals three times — indicating that their pitching has already had success against Oliver Marmol’s squad.
A player to look out for is first baseman Paul Goldschmidt — who will likely succeed Bryce Harper as the National League MVP. The 35-year-old is having a ridiculously successful year in his fourth season with the Cardinals. His .581 slugging percentage and .986 OPS lead the league, and he has also hit 35 home runs and 114 RBI.
As for pitching, it is unknown who the Cardinals are expected to start in the two guaranteed games. Miles Mikolas and Jose Quintana are two likely options. For the Phillies, it was recently announced that Wheeler and Nola would respectively start Games 1 and 2, followed by Ranger Suarez for a possible Game 3. The postseason rosters should be released on Thursday or early Friday.