The recent nonsense with the bullpen aside, the Cardinals still have a very talented team with good players, both on the position player side, in the rotation, and even in the bullpen. The team still has a very good shot for the wild card. The team is set to take on the San Diego Padres, who just traded away Drew Pomeranz to the Red Sox and received one of the best prospects in baseball in return in Anderson Espinoza. The Cardinals should destroy the Padres.
This series was supposed to feature the return of Jon Jay to St. Louis after his trade in the offseason. Jon Jay will still be in St. Louis for the series, but he will not be playing after breaking his forearm earlier this year, interrupting a pretty fine season.
The Cardinals played in San Diego in April winning two of three games in the series and outscoring the Padres 20-11, the lone loss coming during Adam Wainwright’s struggle to put things together. San Diego is in sell mode, having unloaded James Shields prior to the Pomeranz deal, but still have more pieces to move in the next few weeks.
Wil Myers has been the Padres best player with a 137 wRC+, and he could be enticing to a team needing a first baseman or corner outfielder (probably not center fielder) and he is controlled beyond this season. Melvin Upton, Jr. was on the bereavement list over the weekend, but he is back and having a slightly above average offensive season, which is a welcome surprise for the Padres after essentially taking him on as Braves salary dump as part of the Craig Kimbrel deal.
Corey Spangenberger is out at second base due to injury and Adam Rosales and RYan Schimpf could see time there. Alexei Ramirez has been dreadful this season at shortstop. Yangervis Solarte has hit really well (140 wRC+) in just over 200 plate appearances this season, although something resembling closer to league average is more likely moving forward.
Travis Jankowski has seen time in center field in place of Jon Jay and has been adequate, but he strikes out a lot and doesn’t hit for power, limiting his upside. The Padres still owe Matt Kemp a lot of money. Sources say it is a lot of money. Working to confirm (UPDATE: yes, it is a lot of money). Kemp is roughly average with the bat and a bit of a disaster in the field. Derek Norris is decent for a catcher, and he is probably better than his current wRC+ of 77 would indicate.
In tonight’s game, Christian Friedrich is pitching for the Padres. The lefty walks a lot of guys, but other than that, is pretty close to league average for a pitcher. He throws two fastballs, a curve, a change, and a slider, and they are all thrown between 82 and 90 mph except for the curve which is in the mid-70s. Mike Leake pitches for the Cardinals.
Colin Rea pitches Tuesday’s game for San Diego. Rea is the right-handed version of Friedrich except with a cutter instead of a slider and no change. Carlos Martinez will take the mound for St. Louis.
On Wednesday, the Padres send Andrew Cashner to the mound if he has not been traded by then. Cashner still throws in the mid-90s and seems to have been bit by homers this season. He should be roughly average if the homers are just a blip. Jaime Garcia will pitch for St. Louis.
On Thursday, Rule 5 pick Luis Perdomo will pitch for the Padres. The Cardinals left Perdomo off the 40-man roster and unprotected last offseason and the Padres decided to take a chance on him. The move hasn’t paid off yet for the Padres, but given Perdomo’s inexperience that is to be expected. He throws to mid-90s fastballs along with a curve and a change. Over his last six starts, Perdomo has struck out 27 against 8 wakls for a respectable 3.90 FIP. It appears the Cardinals made a mistake in failing to protect the 23-year-old righthander. Adam Wainwright goes for the Cardinals.
The games tonight, Tuesday, and Wednesday are at 7:15 pm CT and will air on FOX Sports Midwest.
Thursday’s game is at 6:15 pm CT and will air on FOX Sports Midwest.