Cardinals ~ "The Heat Is On, Crunch Time Has Arrived" ~ NL Wild Card One Game Back

By Beth Chapman
Sep. 23, 2016

St. Louis Cardinals arrive at Wrigley Field to take on the Chicago Cubs

THE THREE WAY NL WILD CARD TIE BECOMES TWO

The MLB National League Wild Card race is now in a two way tie for first place, at least for the moment. The St. Louis Cardinals had yesterday off; therefore, no chance to keep a three way tie in place. They were taken out of three knot tie with the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants. The Mets hosting the Philadelphia Phillies won their game last night, 9-8, in extra innings with a walk-off homer by Asdrubal Cabrera. The Giants, hosted by the San Diego Padres at Petco Park, won in a close match, 2-1, to keep the Cardinals sole owner of second place in the NL Wild Card race. The Mets will have September 29 as an off day. The Giants will have their day of rest on September 26.  In my opinion, this three way race while come down to the wire. 

CARDINALS - CUBS IN THREE GAME SERIES 

The Cardinals arrived in Chicago to take on the first place team in the NL Central division, their rivals the Cubs. This series will be just as heated as their first, April 18-20, and both teams have a stake in the balance. The Cubs have already clinched their postseason berth and the first team to do so in both MLB leagues. Now, they need two wins to have home field advantage for postseason. The Cardinals look to get back on the winning trail to stay alive in the NL Wild Card race now one game behind, by default, coming down the stretch. With ten games left to play for the 2016 regular season, each game is just as important as the next, no matter the team they face. 

GAME ONE THIS AFTERNOON ~ 1:00 CST

Cardinals Mike Leake (9-10/4.54 ERA) will face Cubs Jake Arrieta (17-7/2.96 ERA) for their first game. Leake has held the Chicago sluggers to a .276 average. Even though, batters from the left have been held to a .269, from the right they hold a .302 BA. Leake is far better during daylight hours, 3-1/3.16 ERA. The last he pitched at Wrigley Field, August 14, he gave up three earned runs, issued one walk and had four strikeouts in six innings pitched for a no-decision in the Cardinals 6-4 win. Arrieta has held the Cardinals to a .194 average, and from the left, a .179 BA - right, a .191 average. During the day, Arrieta holds a 2.81 ERA. However, in September with two losses at home, were played in the afternoon. The last he pitched against the Cardinals at home, August 12, he went 5.2 IP/1 HR/1 ER/2-BB/6 SO in Cubs 13-2 rout over the Cardinals. 

For more on both pitchers, you can go to Cardinals Mike Leake To Face Cubs Jake Arrieta

The battle between the two teams begins at 1:00 CST this afternoon. The "Route 66 Rivalry" is alive and well ~ even more so now. Should be a partly cloudy day with temps in the lower 70's for this afternoon's game, time to "PLAY BALL".