The Dodgers will play in the National League wild card game for the first time, hosting the Cardinals on Wednesday, October 6 at Dodger Stadium.
San Francisco clinched the National League West on Sunday with a win over the Padres, giving the Giants a 107-55 record. Los Angeles finished with 106 wins, more than any wild card team in the 27-year history of wild card teams.
“Looking at being a 100-win team and potentially being in a one-game, sudden death I don’t think is appealing to us or the Giants, but it is what it is,” manager Dave Roberts said Wednesday.
Since the advent of two wild card teams and a wild card game in each league in 2012, the largest gap in records between wild card opponents was six games. The 2012 NL wild card game saw the the 94-win Braves and 88-win Cardinals matchup, and in 2017 the NL had the 93-win D-backs face the 87-win Rockies.
The Dodgers finished at 106-56, 16 games up on the Cardinals (90-72).
“It’s not the path we planned out,” Roberts said Sunday. “But now our focus turns to winning a ballgame on Wednesday.”
The entirety of the National League playoffs will be televised by TBS, beginning with the wild card game on Wednesday. The Dodgers and Cardinals will start at 5:10 p.m. PT at Dodger Stadium, with a one-hour pregame show on TBS starting at 4 p.m. PT.
Brian Anderson will be on play-by-play for the NL wild card game, alongside analyst Ron Darling.
Roberts has said multiple times that Max Scherzer will start if the Dodgers are in the wild card game, or any one-game scenario, for that matter.
“He’s already angry,” Trea Turner said of Scherzer, his teammate for seven seasons. “He’s going to be the same guy, the same intensity, and just do what he does. He prepares better than anybody, and is ready to pitch every single time he’s given the ball, whether it’s game one or a postseason game.”
Adam Wainwright will start on Wednesday for the Cardinals.
The Dodgers won four of seven games against the Cardinals during the regular season, including taking two of three in Los Angeles from May 31-June 2. Los Angeles and St. Louis split four games at Busch Stadium from September 6-9.
Scherzer struck out 13 in eight innings in the series opener at Busch Stadium, and Wainwright pitched into the ninth in a win two days later. Since that series in St. Louis, the Cardinals are 19-4, including a 17-game winning streak that ended on Wednesday.
The wild card game will be the fifth postseason matchup between the Dodgers and Cardinals. St. Louis has won four of the five series (1985 NLCS, 2004 NLDS, 2013 NLCS, 2014 NLDS), with Los Angeles sweeping the 2009 NLDS.
The first tiebreaker in National League history was in 1946, when the Brooklyn Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals tied atop the league at 96-58 after the 154-game schedule. The best-of-three series, which was won by St. Louis two games to none, technically counts as a regular season matchup, though the stakes were akin to the playoffs.
By virtue of being a wild card team, despite having the second-best record in MLB, the Dodgers, should they advance past St. Louis, wouldn’t have home field advantage in either the NLDS or NLCS. The Brewers or Braves, despite having a worse record, would have home field advantage over the Dodgers in the NLCS.
The World Series is free of such a restriction. Home field advantage is determined simply by best record, which the Dodgers would have against any American League team. They just have to get to the Fall Classic first.