The St. Louis Cardinals are headed to San Diego to take on the Padres for three games this week. While the Cardinals currently lead their division by eight games over the second place Milwaukee Brewers, the Padres at 81-66 are second in the National League West. The Padres have been eliminated from their division race, but are in position for the second Wild Card spot. Close behind them in the third spot are the Philadelphia Phillies at 80-66. The Brewers are on the outside looking in but still within striking distance at 78-69.
The Cardinals face Mike Clevinger in the first game of the series. This season Clevinger has a 4.47 ERA and 5.05 FIP in just under 93 innings pitched. According to Baseball Savant he throws a 4-seamer and slider and mixes in a cutter, sinker, and changeup. Of those pitches, the 4-seamer and sinker have been the most valuable while the slider has not been a very successful pitch.
Next up the Cardinals face Blake Snell. This will be the second time he has pitched against the Cardinals. In the first game back on May 31 he gave up two runs on two hits with six strikeouts and 3 walks in six innings. On the season he has been one of the Padres’ top pitchers. He has a 3.85 ERA with a 2.92 FIP and a 31.1% K rate. He does walk too many batters, however — his walk rate is 9.6.%
In the final game the Joe Musgrove toes the rubber for the Padres. He has been a solid starter for them in 2022 with a 3.16 ERA and 3.62 FIP. He strikes out a lot of batters while walking very few, but has a tendency to allow more homers than the rest of his teammates. He throws a slider and 4-seamer almost evenly and his cutter and curve pretty much evenly as well. He might also throw in a sinker and changeup. His curveball was easily his best pitch in 2021 but this season it hasn’t been nearly as successful. Instead he is finding his best results from his cutter — a pitch he threw much less often until 2021 — and 4-seamer.
Of course the biggest change from the last time these two teams met was the Padres’ deadline acquisition of Juan Soto. Soto has slashed .221/.386/.366 with Padres for a 125 wRC+. In 167 plate appearances he has 4 home runs and has walked over 20% of the time.
This is a big series for the Padres and really for the Cardinals, too. Even if the Cardinals are comfortable with their lead in the division, it does not hurt to widen the gap between themselves and the Brewers. With the Cardinals poised to have to take on a Wild Card team in a three-game series with the new playoff format, the harder the teams have to play to clinch a Wild Card, ideally the more of an advantage the Cardinals will have against the team that makes it in. Plus there is the added bonus of potential Postseason Chaos. That is always fun.
Tuesday, September 20 at 8:40 pm CDT: Adam Wainwright vs. Mike Clevinger
Wednesday, September 21 at 8:40 pm CDT: Miles Mikolas vs. Blake Snell
Thursday, September 22 at 3:10 pm CDT: Jack Flaherty vs. Joe Musgrove