The Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals will open up their best-of-3 Wild Card series on Friday at 2:07 p.m. ET. Game 1 will air on ABC. The Phillies, the No. 6 seed out of the National League, are making their first trip to the postseason since 2011. The NL-Central winning Cardinals are in the playoffs for the fourth straight year. The Cardinals have -135 odds to win the series. Philadelphia is listed by DraftKings Sportsbook at +115. All games in this series will take place at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
In June, it didn’t look like the Phillies would come anywhere close to ending their playoff drought. They fired manager Joe Girardi early in the month and then lost Bryce Harper to a broken thumb near the end of it. But under interim manager Rob Thomson, the Phillies weathered the storm. Ace starters Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler led the way while Kyle Schwarber slugged an NL-best 46 home runs in his first year with the team. Harper, meanwhile, has been in a slump since returning in August from his injury, but the future Hall of Famer can obviously carry any offense when he gets hot.
When the Phillies were last in the playoffs, it was the Cardinals who eliminated them in the 2011 NLDS. And hey, Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright are still here! Albert Pujols is back — and he’s mashing as if it’s 2005. While the Cardinals are filled with those kinds of heartwarming “The old guy’s still got it” stories, they won the NL Central because they combined huge seasons from Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado with timely contributions from the likes of Lars Nootbaar, Brendan Donovan, Juan Yepez and Tommy Edman. The pitching staff, with Wainwright, Miles Mikolas and Jordan Montgomery, is good but not overpowering. Their bullpen, conversely, is extremely nasty thanks to Giovanny Gallegos and fireballing closer Ryan Helsley.
Cardinals vs. Phillies schedule
Game 1: Phillies at Cardinals, Friday, Oct. 7, 2:07 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 2: Phillies at Cardinals, Saturday, Oct. 8, 8:37 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Game 3: Phillies at Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 9, 8:37 p.m. ET, ESPN