Well, folks, here we are, game 162. Well, game 60, I guess. This long and winding road of a Major League Baseball season finally comes to an end today, as Sunday marks the end of the regular season. When we came into this season, most expected to see something we have never seen, and that has certainly been the case. It will be a season that will go down in history as one of the more peculiar years we have ever seen.
The story of the 2020 regular season is far from written in stone just yet, though, as several teams are still fighting to make the postseason, on this, the last day of the year. The American League playoff teams are set, but there is still drama in the AL, as the AL Central Division title is up for grabs, and the Yankees and the Blue Jays are fighting for second place in the AL East Division.
The Tampa Bay Rays are going to be keeping their eyes on Toronto and New York, as they will face one of those teams in the first round. If the Yankees lose and the Jays win, the Yankees fall to the eighth seed and give the Rays a nightmare matchup in the first round. While the AL has some fun sweat today, the National League is a madhouse.
Cardinals. Brewers. Giants. Phillies.
Which two will go to the postseason?
— MLB (@MLB) September 27, 2020
Four teams are vying for the final two playoff spots in the NL, with the Cardinals, Brewers, Giants, and Phillies all still alive. The Cardinals and Brewers play today in St. Louis, and that one is easy enough as the winner is in. The rest of the teams all need some form of help, with the Giants rooting for St. Louis to beat Milwaukee, which would get the Giants in with a win, and the Phillies rooting for St. Louis, and for a Giants loss, as they get in with a win and those two losses.
There are a couple more weird scenarios if all of them lose, and even one scenario where the Cardinals have to play a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers later this week, to finish out their regular season officially, and break the seeding tie. Today is sure to be an exciting final day, to say the least. For our final regular-season free daily betting pick, we will head to St. Louis for the win and you’re in game, between the Cardinals and the Brewers.
Milwaukee Brewers (29-30) at St. Louis Cardinals (29-28)
Well, the playoffs start early for the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals today as they play a must-win game in St. Louis. The winner of this game will make the playoffs, and the loser won’t for sure be going home, but they will need a lot of help to keep their season alive. These two teams have played four times already this week, with each team winning two games.
Starting today for the Cardinals is Austin Gomber (1-1 1.80 ERA), and for the Brewers, it is Brett Anderson (4-3 4.00 ERA). The game total over/under is set at eight and a half runs. The game is currently an even pick ’em with both teams laying -105. First pitch is scheduled for 12:15 PM PST from Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals had a chance to lock up a playoff spot yesterday in their game with the Brewers and couldn’t get the job done. For the second time in this series, the Cardinals got shut out and failed to finish off the Brewers. Now they hit the final game of the regular season, needing a win to make the postseason. I mentioned above the strange scenario where St. Louis may actually have to play more games if they don’t win tonight, and that is because they actually won’t be finishing the regular season with a full 60 games if they win today.
A win gets the Cardinals to 30 wins, which is enough to make the playoffs, but they will have gotten to that 30-win mark in just 58 games. If they fail to win today, and the San Francisco Giants win their game against the San Diego Padres, the Cardinals would head to Detroit tomorrow to play the Tigers in a doubleheader, where they would need to win at least one game to clinch a playoff spot. The numerous scenarios can be a bit confusing, but it boils down to win, and you are in, for St. Louis, and they know it.
Austin Gomber (1-1 1.80 ERA)
Austin Gomber has been a do-everything guy for the St. Louis Cardinals this season. They have used him mostly out of the bullpen, but he has also made three starts and has been spectacular in any role they have put him in. In his last appearance, Gomber started and pitched six shutout innings against the Kansas City Royals, allowing just four hits.
One area that Gomber has been particularly impressive, and likely the reason the Cardinals are starting him today in such a big spot, is at home. Gomber has made six appearances at Bush Stadium, two of those being starts, and has yet to allow even a single run in 12.1 innings of work. He has 15 Ks in those 12.1 innings, and opposing batters are hitting just .205 against him. He also pitches really well during the day, as he has four-day baseball outings and hasn’t given up a run, with opposing batters hitting just .083 off of him.
I have always felt that the Milwaukee Brewers were going to come up short on the postseason this year. They had such a slow start to the year, and many of their best players just haven’t been producing. The big-name that is struggling has been former NL MVP Christian Yelich. Yelich is hitting just .202 on the year and has just one hit in this series against the Cardinals in twelve at-bats.
But Milwaukee has persevered, even without Yelich hitting, as the pitching staff has been very good, particularly recently. Brandon Woodruff pitched eight shutout innings yesterday, allowing only two hits. In game one of the series, three guys combined for a seven innings shutout, with Brent Suter starting and going four innings without allowing a run. Josh Hader has three saves in the last two weeks against the Cardinals and has been strong down the stretch for Milwaukee.
Brett Anderson (4-3 4.00 ERA)
Brett Anderson is another guy that has stepped up recently for the Brewers. Anderson was shaky heading into the month, as he had back to back bad outings that saw him give up eight runs on fifteen hits in just ten innings of work. But he has things moving in the right direction in his last two starts, as he has gone 2-0, and has given up only three earned runs in twelve innings.
One of those recent starts came against these Cardinals. In that one, he pitched six innings, allowed two runs, and the Brewers won 18-3. Anderson won’t be asked to get too deep into this game, and I would think that four or five innings may be all he gets, as the Brewers love to turn things over to their bullpen at the first sign of trouble.
Who Do I Like?
What a great baseball game we have here today! The stakes couldn’t be higher, and the teams couldn’t be more evenly matched. These two teams played a similar five-game series earlier this month, and just like this series, they hit game five with the series tied up at two games each. The Brewers took that series when they won the finale, and I think it is the Cardinal’s turn to win this one.
The starting pitching matchup is stone-cold even. Anderson is capable of more innings if needed, but they probably won’t use him that long anyway, so that advantage mostly gets wiped out. And when you look at how Gomber has pitched at home and how versatile he can be, he is at least on the level of the more established starter, Anderson, in this game.
The teams are dead even, the starters are dead even, and both bullpens are good, so, where do I draw the line in this one? The home team. This is basically game seven for both teams. It serves as an elimination game where both teams are basically win or go home. And history tells us that in a spot like that, the home team wins far more often than the visiting squad.
Now, the fact that we have no fans in the stands may skew that just a little bit, and the Cardinals haven’t been elite at home, and the Brewers have been more than respectable on the road. This is by no means a slam dunk, but more of a gut check. When everything is on the line, and just about everything points to a game being even, you want to back the home team, and that is what I am going to do in this game. Give me the St. Louis Cardinals at even money at home, with the playoffs on the line!