September 20: Cardinals (89-64) @ Brewers (68-84)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Greetings from Milwaukee, the final road stop for the Cardinals this regular season. St. Louis — with nine games left on its schedule — opens the day leading the NL Central by one game over the Pirates. The Reds sit two games behind. Good news for the Cardinals is that the Reds and Pirates will begin beating each other up now. Those two clubs meet tonight for the first of six games more head-to-head games.

The Cardinals can clinch their spot in the playoff as early as Saturday (depending upon what the Nationals do). The team has a magic number of three — meaning that any combination of three Cardinal wins and/or Nationals losses secures that postseason berth.

The Cardinals, of course, still have a greater goal of winning the division title, though that will take a while longer to achieve. The magic number to win the division is nine — that would be any combination of nine Cardinal wins and/or Pirates losses.

Still up for grabs, too, is home-field advantage through the NLCS. Entering today, the Braves led that race by a game and a half over the Cardinals. The Pirates and Dodgers — with identical 88-65 records — sit a game behind the Cardinals.

Lots of scenarios, yes, but these final 10 days of the regular season will gradually bring some clarity to postseason seedings and matchups.

As for tonight’s game, you’ll notice some tinkering with the lineup. Matt Adams is back in and starting at clean-up for the second time this season. His insertion into that spot allows Carlos Beltran to return to the two-hole.

CARDINALS LINEUP:

  1. Matt Carpenter (2B)
  2. Carlos Beltran (RF)
  3. Matt Holliday (LF)
  4. Matt Adams (1B)
  5. Yadier Molina (C)
  6. Jon Jay (CF)
  7. David Freese (3B)
  8. Daniel Descalso (SS)
  9. Shelby Miller (RHP)

BREWERS LINEUP:

  1. Norichika Aoki (RF)
  2. Scooter Gennett (2B)
  3. Jonathan Lucroy (C)
  4. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  5. Carlos Gomez (CF)
  6. Caleb Gindl (LF)
  7. Sean Halton (1B)
  8. Jeff Bianchi (SS)
  9. Johnny Hellweg (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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