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Why Cardinals game 162 may still matter

By virtue of the Los Angeles Dodgers losing Tuesday night to San Francisco, the St. Louis Cardinals officially became the second wild card team in the National League in 2012.

As expected, manager Mike Matheny is not going to start Adam Wainwright on his normal turn in game 162 on Wednesday night. Instead, that assignment against the NL Central champion Cincinnati Reds is going to rookie Shelby Miller.

The Cards can kick back and relax for one game, focusing all their efforts on Atlanta on Friday, right?

Not necessarily.

The Reds come into the final regular-season game tied with Washington for the best record in the league. That best-record club earns the right to face the wild card game winner rather than the NL West-winning Giants in the NLDS.

In addition, the team with the best regular-season record secures home field advantage in the NLCS.

The Nationals hold the tie-breaker, so they can secure the edge if they win Wednesday afternoon against Philadelphia. If they lose against Cliff Lee and the Phillies, however, the night game at Busch Stadium will take on much greater importance.

In that scenario, St. Louis would have a direct impact on which team the wild card winner plays in the NLDS.

Beat the Reds (and no hit-hurler Homer Bailey) Wednesday (and beat the Braves Friday) and the Cardinals would face the Nationals.

Lose to the Reds Wednesday (and beat the Braves Friday) and they would face the Reds again in the best-of-five NLDS.

We don’t know the Cardinals’ preference, but they are sure to have one.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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16 Responses to “Why Cardinals game 162 may still matter”

  1. crdswmn says:

    Will Matheny rest all the starters tonight? He probably should.

    I am not sold on starting Lohse Friday. Braves have good numbers against him. Waino would be a better option.

  2. blingboy says:

    If Lohse and Wainy both get sick we will have to go with our 18 game winner on 5 days rest. That wouldn’t suck. I doubt our starting pitching will be the issue anyway.

  3. Brian Walton says:

    The Nats win so the seedings are decided. Washington vs. wild card winner and Cincy-San Francisco.

  4. crdswmn says:

    The AAA lineup for the Cardinals:

    Chambers 7
    Robinson 8
    Schumaker 9
    Carpenter 5
    Cruz 2
    Anderson 3
    Jackson 4
    Kozma 6
    Miller 1

    Haven’t seen yet what the Reds are throwing out there.

    • crdswmn says:

      The Reds are putting all their starters in. Seems like unnecessary risk for a meaningless game.

      Would be funny if we beat them with our AAA squad.

      • blingboy says:

        Skip is the geezer of the bunch. I like him taking money-bags spot in the lineup. Perhaps a clutch hit would not be too much to ask.

        We will have to discuss the implications of Jackson batting ahead of Wonderboy.

        So how many innings do they let Miller go, not being conditioned as a starter?

  5. blingboy says:

    Miller looks good.

    I’m rooting for the Brownies to take the AL east.

  6. blingboy says:

    Shelby is getting used to no run support. A quality start to say the least.

  7. CariocaCardinal says:

    Maybe we should have saved Shelby for Atlanta.

    I think Lance Lynn may have got himself traded tonight.

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