The Cardinals are still in the mix for a playoff spot after downing the Cubs 2-1 on Saturday. In order to secure their spot in the NL Wild Card Game, however, they’ll need the Giants to rally from a disheartening 3-1 defeat on Friday and win their final two games against the Dodgers, who currently have a 1.5-game leg up in the wild card race.
Things were looking up for the Cardinals on Saturday following one of Miles Mikolas‘ strongest starts of the year. The right-hander went eight strong, limiting the Cubs to just one run and five hits and striking out six of 28 batters faced. With the win, his record now sits at 18-4, a personal best over four seasons at the major-league level.
At the plate, the Cubs were the first to strike after a routine pop-up deflected off of Yairo Munoz‘s glove in the first inning, giving Ben Zobrist just enough time to sprint around the bases and score the first run of the afternoon. Their lead didn’t last long, however, as Paul DeJong singled in the tying run in the fourth and Matt Carpenter came through with the winning run in the fifth after lacing a line drive up the middle. In the ninth, Carlos Martinez shut the door with a five-pitch inning, retiring Zobrist and Anthony Rizzo on back-to-back groundouts and inducing a game-ending fly out from Javier Baez.
While the scales could still tip in the Cardinals’ favor this weekend, there’s also the potential for chaos. Should the Cardinals and Dodgers tie for the second wild card slot, they’ll play a tie-breaker in St. Louis to determine which team will face off against the no. 1 wild card holder… which might be the Brewers or the Cubs, depending on how the rest of the weekend shakes out.
After Saturday’s win, Cardinals skipper Mike Shildt had only this to say: