Phillies vs Cardinals NL Wild Card Odds, Schedule
Getty Images. Pictured: Paul Goldschmidt and Kyle Schwarber.
- The Phillies and Cardinals begin their NL Wild Card Round series on Friday afternoon.
- The higher-seeded Cardinals are short favorites to advance to the NLDS over Philadelphia.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the series, including a game-by-game schedule.
Phillies vs. Cardinals NL Wild Card Odds
|Phillies Series Price||+102|
|Cardinals Series Price||-120|
- Game 1: Friday, Oct. 7, 2:07 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 8, 8:37 p.m. ET, ESPN2
- Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 9, 8:37 p.m. ET, ESPN2 (if necessary)
- World Series Odds: +3000
- Pennant Odds: +1300
- Regular Season Record: 87-75
- Pythagorean Record: 87-75
- Team wRC+ (Rank): 106 (10th)
- Starting Pitching xFIP (Rank): 3.54 (4th)
- Bullpen xFIP (Rank): 3.98 (19th)
How They Got Here
Kyle Schwarber led the league in home runs. Bryce Harper put up another monster season (140 wRC+), although he played mostly through injuries. J.T. Realmuto was, again, one of the best-hitting catchers in baseball. Aaron Nola finished second in the NL in fWAR (5.9) and Zack Wheeler finished 11th (4.2). Both pitchers looked like aces at times this year.
Yet the Phillies scraped by, finishing third in the NL East and third in the wild-card race. Their record was largely carried by a 16-3 record against the Nationals. The Phillies went 70-73 with a +12-run differential against everyone else, including 5-14 against the Mets and 8-11 against the Nationals.
The Phillies started the season horrendously, but picked themselves up and built momentum the rest of the way to clinch the franchise’s first postseason berth in 11 years.
This should be a very scary offense.
The key is Nick Castellanos. This is a guy who has posted a wRC+ above 120 in three of his past four seasons, including a 139 mark last year.
What happened to that guy?
That guy stopped hitting the curve. While his xwOBA on fastballs, breaking balls and offspeed pitches all dropped about the same, his exit velocity dropped significantly more on the latter two.
That has led to a massive drop in his overall production.
However, Castellanos might be gearing up just in time for a postseason run. He’s slashed .310/.346/.465 with an .811 OPS since August 1st. He’s beginning to hit for average again and has smacked five dingers in the 34 games since.
If Castellanos becomes the guy we expected him to be at the beginning of the season, that gives the Phillies six plus-hitters. The top half of the lineup consists of …
- Bryce Harper (140 OPS+)
- Kyle Schwarber (130 OPS+)
- J.T. Realmuto (129 OPS+)
- Rhys Hoskins (123 OPS+)
- Nick Castellanos
The lineup is a scary on and is likely as productive and powerful as any lineup in baseball.
Also, look out for the youngster, Bryson Stott. The rookie had a slow start, but has excellent bat-to-ball skills and has hit .300 since August. He has yet to flash the power, but on-base skill is never a bad thing in a postseason series.
Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola are as good of a one-two punch as Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer.
That’s a hot take, probably too hot of a take. However, it suggests just how high I am on these two.
Nola is one of the best pitchers in the game. Only Miami’s Sandy Alcantara had more starts of seven or more innings pitched and two or fewer runs allowed than Nola, who had 11. He’s a real workhorse who may have gotten a little unlucky (3.25 ERA, 2.74 xERA).
Wheeler didn’t put together the same outing he did last year, but putting up an ERA under 2.85 over 150 innings is very solid.
Wheeler led the league in innings last season. Nola finished second in innings pitched this year. These two can pitch seven-to-nine innings of near-shutout ball on any given night.
However, depth is a major issue. The back-half of the rotation will consist of Ranger Suarez, Kyle Gibson and Bailey Falter.
Suarez took a huge step back this season. Gibson hasn’t been the same pitcher since leaving Texas. Falter is just 25 and working his way into the rotation.
The Phillies did finish fourth in the National League in reliever fWAR this season, but I’m not excited to back the Phillies at the end of the game.
The Phillies' reliever ERA this season was 4.24, which finished 23rd among all MLB teams. The Phillies reliever xFIP was slightly better, but not by much (3.97). I wouldn’t expect much positive regression.
They picked up Corey Knebel from the Dodgers and slid him into the closer role, where he picked up 12 saves. But he was hurt in early August and shouldn’t be returning. Brad Hand was another offseason pickup, but he’s been hurt and I can tell you Phillies fans are not excited for his return.
The key to this bullpen will be the duo of Jose Alvarado and Seranthony Dominguez, who combined for 2.6 fWAR this season.
Jose Alvarado is a menace. He posted a 38% strikeout rate and a 56% ground-ball rate this season. His 2.53 xERA, 1.91 FIP and 2.16 xFIP show he’s due for plenty of positive regression and his 3.18 ERA was driven by a .340 BABIP.
Dominguez has a monster fastball. It travels 98 mph on average and ranks above the 75th percentile in spin rate. But he gets hit hard often (46.2% hard-hit rate, 4th percentile) and needs to avoid barrels to be effective. –Tanner McGrath
St. Louis Cardinals
- World Series Odds: +1700
- Pennant Odds: +750
- Regular Season Record: 93-69
- Pythagorean Record: 95-67
- Team wRC+ (Rank): 114 (5th)
- Starting Pitching xFIP (Rank): 4.05 (17th)
- Bullpen xFIP (Rank): 4.00 (20th)
How They Got Here
Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols together as teammates in the postseason just feels right.
The Cardinals played roughly .500 ball on the road and then dominated the competition at home, racking up more than 50 wins at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis caught fire in August and went 22-7, a stretch that helped the club run away with its first National League Central title since 2019.
The 2022 campaign will mark the Cardinals' fourth consecutive trip to the postseason, though the franchise hasn’t won the pennant since 2013.
It’s hard to think of a better 1-2 punch in a lineup than that of Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado as both hit 30 or more homers and drove in 100 or more runs.
While those two garnered the bulk of the headlines throughout the season — especially as Goldschmidt flirted with a Triple Crown — the entire Cardinals’ offense was productive. St. Louis averaged more than 4.7 runs per game, ranking near the top of the league.
And of course, we can’t talk about the Cardinals’ offense without mentioning Albert Pujols. No, Pujols isn’t the dominant force he once was, but he mashed more than 20 homers this season and provided more power than perhaps the Cardinals were expecting.
After Pujols’ late surge to 700 homers, would anyone be surprised if he came through with a clutch blast in October?
The rotation has undergone some change throughout the season, but it’s familiar at the top.
Adam Wainwright put together another solid campaign and Miles Mikolas took a step forward, lowering his ERA nearly a full run from 2021.
The Cardinals then went out and acquired both Jose Quintana and Jordan Montgomery at the trade deadline to bolster the pitching staff.
Jack Flaherty missed most of the season with a right shoulder strain, but returned in September. If Flaherty can quickly find his form, he’s certainly capable of being a dominant starter.
The emergence of Ryan Helsley really fortified the back end of the Cardinals’ bullpen. After posting a 4.56 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP in 2021, the hard-throwing right hander lowered those numbers in 2022.
Andre Pallante also became a valuable part of the St. Louis pitching staff. Pallante, a rookie, threw over 100 innings this year and also made 10 starts.
He could serve a variety of roles for the Cardinals in October and that flexibility could prove vital as Oliver Marmol looks for advantageous matchups. –Will Boor