MLB Wild Card Games Preview
The American League and National League Wild Card will be decided in a one-game playoff today with the right to play in the ALDS/NLDS on the line! Let’s take a look at both games.
St. Louis Cardinals (88-74) vs. Atlanta Braves (94-68)
5:07 PM ET, October 5
The final season of Chipper Jones' Hall of Fame career will last at least one more game as he and the Braves host the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals in the National League's one-game wild card playoff. After being overtaken for the wild card by the Cardinals on the final night last year, the Braves will be looking for some payback when Kris Medlen takes the mound opposite Kyle Lohse.
The Braves made a strong run at first place in the National League East over the final week before ultimately falling short. The Cardinals have been getting ready for the playoffs for at least the last two weeks, fighting off the Dodgers until finally clinching the second Wild Card on Tuesday. The Braves set up their pitching for a deep playoff run by having a "bullpen game" in the regular season finale on Wednesday and have made sure that Chipper Jones is well-rested by giving him just one at-bat over the final two games.
The Cardinals lost five of their six games against the Braves this season. These two teams have not met since May 30 and both come in having won seven of their last 10 games.
Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA) vs. Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA)
Kyle Lohse put together the best regular season of his 12-year career by relying on pinpoint control, issuing only 38 walks in 211 total innings. Lohse struck out nine and walked one in his regular-season finale but was charged with four runs on eight hits in six innings against the Nationals. He matched his shortest start of the year against the Braves on May 30, giving up five runs on nine hits in five innings. He did not factor in the decision that time and he is 3-1 with a 4.97 ERA in 10 career starts against the Braves.
The Braves have won a major league-record 23 straight games started by Kris Medlen, who has not lost since joining the rotation at the end of July. The right-hander, who turns 27 on Sunday, has allowed more than two runs only once in 50 total appearances this season and he yielded one run (unearned) on three hits in six innings to beat the Mets last Sunday. One of his roughest appearances came out of the bullpen against the Cardinals on May 28, when he was reached for two runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Baltimore Orioles (93-69) vs. Texas Rangers (93-69)
8:37 PM ET, October 5
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
These two teams owned at least a share of first place in their respective divisions with three games remaining in the regular season. The surprising Orioles were tied at first place with the Yankees in the American League East entering the final three-game series of the year, but the Yankees swept the Red Sox while the Orioles dropped two of three against the Rays in Tampa Bay following a 25-10 run.
The end of the regular season was even more disappointing for the Rangers, who squandered a five-game lead with nine games remaining and settled for the first Wild Card. The Rangers were in first place in the American League West for 178 days but they were swept in their season-ending three-game series by the eventual division champion Athletics. The Rangers lost nine of their final 13 games, including Wednesday's season finale, in which they built a 5-1 lead before allowing 11 unanswered runs.
The Rangers won five of their seven meetings with the Orioles this season. The Rangers captured two of three at home from August 20 to August 22 after taking three of four in Baltimore from May 7 to May 10.
Joe Saunders (3-3, 3.63 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA)
Joe Saunders has pitched well since giving up seven runs against the White Sox in his debut with the Orioles on August 29, allowing three earned runs or less in each of his last six starts. He ended his regular season on a high note, giving up three runs over 7 1/3 innings of a 6-3 win against the Red Sox on Sunday. Saunders has not fared well against the Rangers in his career, going 3-7 with a 6.48 ERA in 11 starts.
Yu Darvish finished his impressive rookie season strong, winning his last four decisions while allowing three runs or less in each of his last eight starts. The 26-year-old Japanese right-hander finished fifth in the American League with 221 strikeouts and held opponents to a .220 batting average, the third-best mark in the league. Darvish went 10-2 in 14 starts at home and he will face the Orioles for the first time in his career.
You can bet all MLB games at America's Bookie
- Lynn tosses Cards over Dodgers
- Cuddyer productive in return, leads Rox over Giants
- Diamondbacks use big 7th inning, down Padres
- Lackey shines as Red Sox crush Tribe
- Young’s HR in 9th boosts A’s over Astros
- Keppinger, White Sox beat Marlins in extras
- Vargas shuts down Royals
- Estrada pitches Brewers over Pirates
- Orioles slug their way past Jays
- Hanigan blasts Reds over Cubs