The Dodgers entered the matchup with a few notable feats to consider.
For starters, they are making their ninth straight postseason appearance, the third-longest postseason streak of all time, after winning 106 regular-season games. No team in MLB history has ever won more games and not finished in first place in its division or league. Their 106 wins also are tied for the second most all time by a reigning champion, trailing only the 1931 Philadelphia Athletics.
On the other hand, the Cardinals do not quite have that notable paper trail. On Aug. 6, their playoff odds reached a low of 1.3%, according to FanGraphs. In September, those odds jumped to just 5%, following their 17-game winning streak.
But alas, here we are.
This matchup is primed to come down to which starting pitcher has a better performance: It’s the first time in postseason history in which each starting pitcher’s team has won in his last eight-plus starts.
The Cardinals have won 13 of Adam Wainwright‘s past 14 starts, including eight consecutive victories.
The Dodgers are undefeated in St. Louis native Max Scherzer‘s 11 starts.
On Wednesday evening, Washington Nationals All-Star Juan Soto made a surprise appearance at Dodger Stadium to support his former teammates, Trea Turner and Scherzer. The trio won the 2019 World Series together when the Nationals topped the Houston Astros 4-3. Soto and his hitting coach, Kevin Long, appropriately wore Turner and Scherzer Nationals jerseys.
— MLB (@MLB) October 7, 2021
Soto also had to remind the home crowd that he was on its side.
Juan Soto was booed upon being shown on the JumboTron in between innings, so he turned around to point to his Trea Turner jersey and pumped his fist as the crowd howled.
Juan Soto is a good vibe.
— Alden González (@Alden_Gonzalez) October 7, 2021
LETS GO MAX!!! LEST GO MAX!!! 🥶🥶 pic.twitter.com/IUpF1vUq1T
— Juan José Soto Pacheco (@JuanSoto25_) October 7, 2021
— Eric Dickerson (@EricDickerson) October 7, 2021
Unfortunately for Dodgers fans (including Soto), the Cardinals managed to get on the board first, and Wainwright’s reflexes were on full display.
Well, would you look at that! pic.twitter.com/ztQqgDFS18
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 7, 2021
The Dodger’s first score of the night was courtesy of Justin Turner, extending his own postseason franchise record to 13 home runs. Turner launched a curveball from Wainwright to the back of L.A.’s bullpen and evened the score at 1-1 in the fourth inning.
JTIED IT UP! pic.twitter.com/etWJoRX3SB
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 7, 2021