Just over an hour after the Phillies lost 10-0 to the Astros in their second-to-last game of the regular season, the Padres beat the Giants to lock the National League playoff bracket.
The Padres (89-72) are guaranteed the 5-seed. The Phillies (87-74) will finish as the 6-seed.
This could prove to be fortuitous for the Phils. It means a first-round playoff series against the Cardinals rather than the Mets, who can start Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer on regular rest in the first two games of the best-of-three.
It also means the Phillies will not face the 110-win Dodgers in the NLDS should they advance past the Cardinals. The playoffs do not re-seed, so the No. 1 team in each league faces the winner of the 4-5 matchup. In the NL, the 4-5 matchup is Mets-Padres.
The Phillies went 4-3 this season against the Cardinals and 5-14 against the Mets. The top two hitters in the Cardinals' lineup, MVP candidates Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, are a combined 16 for 72 (.222) against Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola with no home runs and 14 strikeouts.
Wheeler and Nola will start Games 1 and 2, respectively. Wheeler pitched 14 scoreless innings against the Cardinals this season and has allowed just one run to them in his last 22 innings with a 0.68 WHIP.
Here is the series schedule and broadcast information:
Game 1: Friday, Oct. 7, 2:07 PM ET | ABC
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 8, 8:37 PM ET | ESPN2
Game 3*: Sunday, Oct. 9, 8:37 PM ET | ESPN2
St. Louis is 7-8 in its last 15 games and has scored two runs or fewer in nine of them. The Cardinals have had the NL Central sewn up for much of September so their games haven't had the same intensity as those of the Mets or Braves, who had been battling every night in a quest to win the division. The Braves' win Tuesday night was the NL East clincher. Atlanta has won the division five years in a row.