The day for National League Wild Card play has come. The MLB 60-game sprint season has come to an end, and it’s officially time for playoff baseball. The American League started things on Tuesday, but now it’s the National League’s turn on Wednesday. Let’s take a look at the National League.
(8) Milwaukee Brewers vs. (1) Los Angeles Dodgers
The moneyline for this National League Wild Card series has been set at -300 for the Dodgers, making them a heavy favorite over the Brewers at +240.
For Los Angeles, it’s very simple: They need to win this year. They’re notorious for being the best team in baseball that can’t finish in the playoffs.
Dave Roberts is on the hot seat to bring home a title. Walker Buehler will take the hill in Game 1 looking to shut down the Brewers.
The big story in this series is that these two teams haven’t met yet this season due to the way the MLB scheduled games to limit travel. Even though Milwaukee finished two games under .500, it’s still a team that is familiar with the postseason. Unfortunately, this won’t be enough to slow down the Dodgers.
Los Angeles takes the series in two games.
(5) St. Louis Cardinals vs. (4) San Diego Padres
The winner of this series will meet the winner of Milwaukee and Los Angeles in Arlington, Texas, for the division series. The moneyline has been set, with San Diego favored at -175 and St. Louis at +145.
Fernando Tatis Jr. has turned into an MLB star as well as a league enemy in 2020. The 21-year-old sensation is outstanding, but he has slumped down the September stretch. His bat will need to produce runs with the injury uncertainties of Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Limet on the bump.
The Cardinals are a very average team. They don’t do anything exceptionally well, but they have potential in their lineup. Where they have struggled this season is hitting the long ball and supporting their pitching staff.
The Cardinals have guys who can pitch like Adam Wainwright, but they’ll need to be outstanding to give their team a chance with a struggling offense.
I believe San Diego will take this series in two games at home.
(6) Miami Marlins vs. (3) Chicago Cubs
Let’s move to the bottom half of the National League Wild Card bracket. The moneyline for this matchup favors the Cubs at -190 with the Marlins at +160.
The Cubs are a complete team and could make a deep playoff run. Per usual, their lineup is stacked with stars like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Javier Baez.
Despite late-season struggles, these three can drive the ball and provide the critical runs that are necessary to win in October.
The Marlins snuck into the postseason, but they don’t have any noteworthy offensive or defensive firepower. The Marlins are the definition of a team where everyone needs to contribute for them to have a chance.
They lead the league in posting zeros on the scoreboard, so look for Chicago veterans like Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks to have solid outings in this series.
Miami can make this series go three games, but I don’t think they have enough firepower to win it all. Chicago advances in three games.
(7) Cincinnati Reds vs. (2) Atlanta Braves
The Braves are -125 to win this series, while the Reds are coming in at +105.
Atlanta is defined by offense, which they will need to advance because injuries to Cole Hamels and Mike Soroka create questions for their pitching staff. You need arms to win in October, but if the Atlanta offense, led by Marcell Ozuna, can live up to its potential, we could see runs all over the home side of the scoreboard.
The Reds won’t need much run support if their pitchers can limit the Braves offense. Obviously, this is easier said than done. Trevor Bauer takes the hill in Game 1, and he’s capable of doing damage even though Atlanta will still get hits because they’re extremely talented.
The Braves pitching staff, on the other hand, is incomplete, so the Reds won’t have a better opportunity in the playoffs to get their bats going.
This will be the National League Wild Card upset that fans are looking for in the National League. Reds will advance in three games.