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Cardinals vs. Reds: St. Louis looks to clinch playoff berth

Jaime Garcia starts for the Cardinals on Monday night, as the Cards look to drop their magic number to one.

Jeff Curry - Getty Images

The St. Louis Cardinals open up the final series of the 2012 regular season on Monday night, as they play host to the Cincinnati Reds, in a series that has playoff implications for both teams.

St. Louis currently holds a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second Wild Card spot in the National League, with just three games to play. The Cardinals can clinch the Wild Card spot on Monday night, with a win and a Dodgers loss.

Even though the Reds clinched the NL Central, they're still playing for No. 1 overall seed in the National League. The Reds enter Monday's game tied with the Washington Nationals at 96-63. The team with the best-overall record gets to face the winner of Wild Card game.

Jaime Garcia will start for the Cardinals on Monday night. Garcia has pitched well in his last three starts, since his disastrous outing against the San Diego Padres, pitching a total of 19 innings and surrendering just five runs on 15 hits, while issuing three walks and striking out 15.

To date, Garcia is 6-7 with a 3.99 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and has held opposing hitters to an average of .291.

St. Louis' offense will face Bronson Arroyo, who has faced the Redbirds once this year. Arroyo pitched eight strong innings, giving up just three runs on five hits while picking up the win against the Cards earlier this year.

First pitch between the Cards and Reds is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. CT from Busch Stadium III. Televised coverage can be found on FOX Sports Midwest.