LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Dodgers will play host to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL wild-card game today at Dodger Stadium, trying to take the first step to their first back-to-back World Series championships.
The Dodgers won a franchise record-tying 106 games in the regular season, but finished one game behind the San Francisco Giants, who won a franchise-record 107, in the NL West, relegating them to the “win or go home'' wild-card game for the first time.
Major League Baseball began playing wild-card games in 2012 in an attempt to add importance to division races, penalize wild-card teams and increase postseason interest and revenue.
Max Scherzer will pitch for the Dodgers, facing fellow right-hander Adam Wainwright.
The Dodgers went 11-0 in Scherzer's starts after they acquired him in a July 30 six-player trade with the Washington Nationals that also brought them shortstop and 2021 NL batting champion Trea Turner.
When asked Monday about the Dodgers' undefeated record in his starts, the 37-year-old Scherzer responded, “You kind of throw all streaks, all stats, everything out the window. It's the playoff baseball. Anything can happen. I've seen baseball, some crazy things happen when you get into October baseball. All that stuff doesn't matter.
“It literally just matters to go out there and play your best baseball, and you need the whole team to play the best baseball. That's the only way you win these games.''
Scherzer is 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA as a Dodger and 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA for the entire season. The eight-time all-star and three-time Cy Young Award winner has faced the Cardinals once as a Dodger, limiting them to an unearned run and six hits in eight innings, striking out 13, in a 5-1 victory Sept. 6 at St. Louis.
The 40-year-old Wainwright was 17-7 with a 3.05 ERA in the regular season. In his only 2021 appearance against the Dodgers, the three-time all-star allowed four runs and seven hits in 8 1/3 innings in a 5-4 Cardinals victory Sept. 8 at St. Louis.
“Wainwright pitched one of his best ball games of the year, really dominated us,'' Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Wainwright is 1-3 with a 4.30 ERA in seven regular-season appearances at Dodger Stadium and 0-1 with a 4.19 ERA in three postseason appearances there.
Both teams had record winning streaks in September.
The Dodgers concluded the regular season with a franchise-record 15-game home winning streak. The Cardinals had a team-record 17-game winning streak from September 11-28.
The Dodgers had MLB's best home record in 2021, 57-23 for a .713 winning percentage. Their 43-13 record since Aug. 1 was also the best in Major League Baseball.
Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy will miss the game because of an elbow injury sustained Sunday and it was “very unlikely'' he would play in the NL Division Series should the Dodgers win Wednesday, Roberts said.
Roberts said Monday he had not decided who will start in place of Muncy, who led the Dodgers in both home runs with 36 and RBI with 94.
Tickets priced from $78-$348 were available Wednesday morning onwww.Dodgers.com/Postseason. The 5:10 p.m. game will be televised by TBS.
Wednesday's winner will face the Giants in a Division Series that will begin Friday in San Francisco.
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