The Los Angeles Dodgers had the second best record in all of baseball in 2021 — but the defending World Series champions will be forced to play in a single-game elimination against the St. Louis Cardinals to try and make the division series.
The Dodgers narrowly defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series last season for their first title since the 1988 season. The team fought with the San Francisco Giants for the NL West division title, but fell one game short of the crown. For that, they had to settle for the wild-card game.
The Cardinals put together a 17-game winning streak to leap the Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres in the final month of the season and secure a playoff spot. St. Louis is one of the hottest teams coming into the postseason and could be dangerous if they get past the Dodgers.
Here’s what you need to know about this wild-card game.
What to know about the game?
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright throws to the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
The Dodgers will host the Cardinals on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. St. Louis will put the veteran Adam Wainwright on the mound in hopes of conjuring some magic. Los Angeles will start Max Scherzer, who the team acquired during the season and is in line for an NL Cy Young award. The game will start at 8:10 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on TBS
Recent Dodgers-Cardinals playoff history
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner celebrates with Will Smith (16) after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Los Angeles. Trea Turner and Marx Muncy also scored. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
It’s the first time these two teams are meeting in the playoffs since 2014. The Dodgers won the NL West and met the Cardinals in the division series. The Cardinals got the better of the Dodgers in four games. St. Louis would lose to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants that season. St. Louis also beat the Dodgers in the championships series in 2013 before eventually losing to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.
What’s on the line?
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Trea Turner, right, gets congratulations from Corey Seager (5), Mookie Betts (50), and Matt Beaty (45), after Turner hit a grand slam home run against the Milwaukee Brewers during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
The single-game wild-card playoff began in 2012. The winner moves onto the National League Division Series, which is a best of five games. The Dodgers have never been in the wild-card playoff game. The Cardinals were in the first playoff and defeated the Atlanta Braves, 6-3.
The winner gets a crack at the Giants in the next round.