Red October: Everything you need to know about the Phillies Wild Card schedule, opponent and potential pitching matchups
The Philadelphia Phillies are heading to the playoffs for the first time in a decade after Aaron Nola and Kyle Schwarber guided them to a Wild Card-clinching victory last night in Houston. Here’s a full breakdown of the week ahead.
The Wild Card Round
The Wild Card is a three game series at the home ballpark of the higher seeded team. The Phillies will NOT have a home game during the Wild Card and won’t play at Citizens Bank Park unless they make it out of the first Wild Card series and into the NLDS.
Game 1 of the Wild Card for the Phillies will be on Friday night, October 7th. The following two games (if needed) would be held on Saturday and Sunday. Times haven’t been released but the first-round games will air on ESPN.
The Phillies still have two games against the Houston Astros, tonight and tomorrow before a day off Thursday. Even if the Wild Card series goes a full three games, the NLDS won’t start until October 11th, which mean the Phillies would have at minimum one day’s rest before the next round of the playoffs.
Who Will The Phillies Play?
Right now, the Phillies would face the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are the winners of the National League Central, and the Phillies are the third Wild Card spot.
The first and second Wild Card spot will be the other first round playoff series in the National League. Right now, that would be a matchup between the New York Mets (1st) against the San Diego Padres (2nd).
In order for the Mets to win the National League East, they will have to sweep the Nationals and the Braves would have to lose their final two games to the Miami Marlins. That would put the Braves in the first Wild Card seed.
The Phillies are a game behind the San Diego Padres for the second Wild Card seed but do own the tiebreaker. They would need to finish a game better than the Padres over the next two games to move into the second seed.
Phillies Wild Card Standings
If the Phillies end up with the second Wild Card seed, they would face the Mets. That may not be the ideal situation, given the fact that they went 5-14 against the Mets this season and 4-3 against the Cardinals, who are six games behind the Mets overall.
Plus, if the Phillies are in the second Wild Card seed, they would then have to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS.
Personally, I don’t care who we play. Playoff seeding never matters. However, the easier path on paper definitely looks to come from the third and final Wild Card seed.
Starting Pitchers for the Phillies
- Game 1: Zack Wheeler
- Game 2: Aaron Nola
In Game 3, the Phillies will likely send Ranger Suarez to the mound. I would like to note that the St. Louis Cardinals have two ELITE right-handed hitters in Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, so don’t be surprised if Rob Thomson and company decide to send Zach Eflin to the mound in Game 3 (if necessary).
St. Louis Cardinals Potential Pitching Rotation
The Cardinals will likely go with Adam Wainwright and LHP Jordan Montgomery in Game 1 and Game 2 against the Phillies. Another arm they’ll consider is RHP Miles Mikolas. In an emergency situation, the Cardinals will likely have Jack Flaherty and LHP Jose Quintana as other choices in their rotation.
If the Phillies end up playing the Mets in the Wild Card round, you know exactly what pitching they’ll face, with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer starting the first two games and Charles Bassitt for the third game if necessary.
The Final Two Games of the Regular Season
Again, the Phillies are a game behind the San Diego Padres for the second Wild Card seed but do own the tiebreaker. They would need to finish a game better than the Padres over the next two games to move into the second seed.
The Padres have two home games against the San Francisco Giants while as we know, the Phillies still have two left against the Houston Astros. Ranger Suarez is on the mound tonight facing Justin Verlander.
Red October has arrived.
Mandatory Credit: The Philadelphia Phillies