The Cardinals have a two game lead over the Dodgers for the second wild card spot and after examining the pitching matchups in both series, the Cardinals are in the driver’s seat and could most likely grab the final playoff spot even if the Reds were to somehow sweep the Cardinals.
Cardinals vs. Reds preview
In game one of this series, Cincy’s Bronson Arroyo has lost two of his last three starts and Jaime Garcia is 3-2 with a 2.32 ERA at home, compared to an ERA over 5.00 on the road. The Reds are still fighting Washington for the best record in the National League, which would give them the home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Chris Carpenter will make his third start of the season and will face a much tougher lineup from the Reds, more so than the Astros and Cubs. Carp went 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA against the bottom feeders of the NL Central. Carpenter will face Mat Latos, who is 13-4 and retired 14 of his first 15 batters in his last outing against Milwaukee. If the season comes down to game 162, the Cardinals will decide on whom to start against Homer Bailey, who is coming off pitching a no-hitter against Pittsburgh.
Giants vs. Dodgers preview
The Giants have clinched the NL West Division and now their starters, Matt Cain and Barry Zito will make final tune up starts before the first round of the playoffs. The Giants will face either Cincinnati or Washington. The first two pitching matchups certainly favor San Francisco in this series with the Dodgers.
Cain has a 2.18 ERA in his last nine starts. The Giants have won Zito’s last ten starts and he is 6-0 in that stretch with a 4.02 ERA. Ryan Vogelsong will start the final game of the season and has struggled recently, compiling an ERA over 10 in a recent seven game stretch. The Dodgers will counter with starters Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano in the first two games. Those two starters are a combined 22-21 with a 3.69 ERA. Clayton Kershaw, the team’s ace will pitch Wednesday night if the season is still up for grabs.