Race to face St. Louis in Wild Card game down to San Francisco and Los Angeles

St. Louis Cardinals

San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey (28) and Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Trea Turner (6) watch the play at first base in the sixth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/John Hefti)

ST. LOUIS-With the St. Louis Cardinals now assured of securing the second National League Wild Card spot, the focus now turns to the two teams still battling it out for the top spot, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants.

With just days left in the regular season, the Giants are holding a 2 game lead over the Dodgers for the National League West title.

The Giants may have the best record in baseball, but if you used some truth serum, the Cardinals would probably say they’d rather play San Francisco in a winner-take-all Wild Card playoff game. In a perfect world, from the Cardinals’ perspective, the two West clubs would finish in a first place tie for the division, be forced to play a game 163, where the Dodgers would use Max Scherzer and lose to the Giants. Don’t cry for Los Angeles, who would still potentially have Walker Buehler or Clayton Kershaw at their disposal to face the Cardinals.

The Giants have had a significant injury issue pop up in the waning days of the season. A fractured thumb for first baseman Brandon Belt will have him on the 10 day injured list with the possibility of being out much longer than that. This will put added pressure on San Francisco’s deadline acquisition, former Cub Kris Bryant.

The Giants finish with the Padres and Diamondbacks, while the Dodgers wrap up the season with the Padres and Brewers. What kind of motivation does San Diego have left in the tank? After so much hype, and having one of the best young players in the game in Fernando Tatis, Jr., the Padres were eliminated from playoff contention over the weekend, and could be playing out the string in what may be the last few games of Manager Jayce Tingler’s tenure. The Diamondbacks have the worst record in the National League, while the Brewers will likely be getting their playoff rotation in order and resting veterans like Christian Yelich, Willy Adames and Kolten Wong.

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