There are just 38 games left. The Cardinals have put themselves in a decent position over the last few months to continue surging towards a playoff spot. They enter this series just 3.5 games behind the Cubs for the division, five games behind the Rockies for the top Wild Card spot, 4.5 behind the Diamondbacks for the second Wild Card spot, and a game behind the Brewers as well. The next three games are important because all of the remaining games are important. The Cardinals should destroy the Padres.*
*W% with series title, .561. W% without title, .448.
The Padres are not having a good season. The Padres expected best player this season is Wil Myers, but the first baseman has just a 104 wRC+ which is not particularly for a bat-first position. The player with the second-most plate appearances on the Padres after Myers is Hunter Renfroe and his wRC+ is 89. He’s currently in the minor leagues. The only player decently above average this season at the plate has been left-fielder Jose Pirela, and he’s only played half the season in the majors.
Twenty-two year-old center fielder Manuel Margot is an intriguing talent and although his season line doesn’t look great he’s been hitting well of late and has seven homers in the last month. Carlos Asuaje is the team’s second baseman, and he isn’t much of a hitter, sporting a high BABIP that has almost made him average.
Yangervis Solarte plays all over the field and the switch hitter has put up an average hitting line this season making a ton of contact with a solid walk rate. Corey Spangenberg is the everyday third baseman. The lefty is a bit of a three-true outcomes type but lacks the power to really make a go of it.
Jabari Blash was recently recalled from the minors. He is a traditional three true outcomes hitter and he does have the power to make a go of it, but it hasn’t shown up yet in his brief major league trials. Austin Hedges is the everyday catcher and his hitting line looks like the bad version of Randal Grichuk, .216/.254/.409 and 70 wRC+. Former Cardinals minor leaguer Allen Cordoba is on the team, but he hasn’t hit this year and doesn’t play much.
As for the pitching, Brad Hand has been quite good out of the bullpen.
Tonight, Clayton Richard starts for the Padres. Richard was pretty mediocre for the Padres at the beginning of this decade and has found his way back to San Diego after time with the Arizona, Pittsburgh, and Chicago Cubs organizations. The lefty has made 25 starts this season and has been roughly average throwing a low-90s sinker more than half of the time. Lance Lynn will pitch for the Cardinals.
On Wednesday, Jhoulys Chacin will take the mound for San Diego. Like Richard, Chacin has cycled through quite few organizations the last few years—Colorado, Cleveland, Arizona, Atlanta, Los Angeles Angels—and has been roughly average this season. Like Richard as well, Chacin throws a lot of low-90s sinkers, except from the right side. Luke Weaver is scheduled to make the Cardinals start.
In the finale on Thursday, former Cardinal farmhand Luis Perdomo will go for the Padres. San Diego took Perdomo in the Rule Five draft two winters ago, and he struggled last season in his first year in the majors—first year above High-A. Perdomo has seen his homers drop this season turning him from a replacement-level pitcher to one who is merely below-average. He doesn’t strike out a lot of batters and gives up a decent amount of walks using a mid-90s, you guessed it, sinker to get a lot of ground balls. Carlos Martinez will pitch for the Cardinals.
Tonight, August 22, 7:15 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest
Wednesday, August 23, 7:15 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest
Thursday, August 24, 6:15 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest