Thu, 16 Sep 2021

Cardinals, Mets square off again in NL wild-card race

Field Level Media
14 Sep 2021, 17:19 GMT+10

The St. Louis Cardinals inched closer to controlling their playoff destiny Monday night -- and in the process muddied the New York Mets' path to the postseason.

The Cardinals, who are within one-half game of the second National League wild-card berth, will visit the Mets on Tuesday night for thesecond game of a three-game series.

Jake Woodford (2-3, 4.38 ERA) is slated to take the mound for the Cardinals against Marcus Stroman (9-12, 2.87) in a battle of right-handers.

On Monday night, Adam Wainwright threw six shutout innings and combined with a trio of relievers on a six-hitter in a 7-0 victory.

Hours later, San Diego's 9-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants snapped the tie for the second wild card and left the idle Cincinnati Reds (75-69) a half-game ahead of both the Padres (74-69) and Cardinals (74-69).

The Cardinals are in a stretch that has them playing 26 of their final 33 games against teams either bound for the playoffs or battling for a wild-card spot. St. Louis is 8-6 vs. the Reds, Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers since Aug. 30.

"It felt like a playoff game (Monday) because we've got to win them all," Wainwright said. "We can't have any slip-ups the rest of the way. We've got to go out and play really good baseball down the stretch against a lot of very good teams that are in the hunt or already in the playoffs."

The Mets (72-73), who entered Monday fresh off a stirring three-game series win over the crosstown Yankees, fell 3 1/2 games behind the Reds and 5 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves, who were idle.

The Mets are into a season-ending, 21-game stretch that has them playing 17 games against the division-leading Brewers and Braves plus a quartet of wild-card contenders, the Yankees, Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox.

"It's scoreboard-watching time of year right now," said New York left-hander Rich Hill, who took the loss Monday after giving up three runs in five innings. "I think everybody's aware of where we are in the wild card and also in the division. It just comes down to what we can control. We have to take care of our business and win ballgames."

Neither Woodford nor Stroman factored into the decision in his most recent start on Thursday. Woodford allowed one run over four innings as the Cardinals beat the Dodgers 2-1. Stroman surrendered one run in 6 1/3 innings in the Mets' 3-2 road loss to the Miami Marlins.

Woodford has appeared against the Mets just once previously, on May 6, when he tossed two scoreless innings of relief. Stroman is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts against the Cardinals.

Stroman first faced the Cardinals in 2014, but his other appearance against them came earlier this season. He allowed four runs, two earned, on seven hits in five innings during the opener of a May 5 doubleheader. He struck out six and walked one. The Cardinals won that game 4-1, led by a two-run homer from Paul DeJong and a solo shot from Paul Goldschmidt, both against Stroman.

--Field Level Media

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