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Cardinals should destroy the Padres

A series preview

St Louis Cardinals v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

It probably doesn’t feel like the Cardinals are within three games of a playoff spot given that, before the Giants series, the team had won just five out of their last 15 games. Of course, that run came on the heels of an eight-game winning streak. Take three out of four from the Giants and the Rockies continued struggles mean the Cardinals are just three games behind the Rockies for the Wild Card (and 2.5 behind the Brewers). The Cardinals should destroy the Brewers.*

*W% of .551 with title. W% of .448 without title.

These same two teams played three games in St. Louis, it didn’t go well, and our preview for that series had most of the basics for the Padres everyday players. Not much has changed in nine days on the position player side, so let’s get to the pitching matchups.

In today’s game, Luis Perdomo starts for San Diego. In his start in St. Louis, Perdomo gave up just two runs in six innings. He only struck out two batters against two walks, but generated 13 ground balls against just four line drives and four fly balls. Against the Cardinals he threw sinkers nearly two-thirds of the time with a curve used for the remaining one-third, save for one splitter. He put up an equivalent performance his last time out against the Giants.

Carlos Martinez gets the start today for the Cardinals. He has 31 strikeouts against just four walks in his last five starts, leading to a very good 3.21 ERA, though troubles—or just bad luck—the long ball has given him a just okay 4.35 FIP (4.36 is the MLB-average this season with the rise in homers).

Tomorrow, lefty Travis Wood will make the start for the Padres. Wood came over to the Padres in a July trade from the Kansas City Royals that netted Brandon Maurer, Trevor Cahill, and Ryan Buchter for the Royals. In addition to Wood, San Diego also received Matt Strahm, a minor leaguer in Esteury Ruiz, and $8 million to cover Wood’s salary for next season. Wood was in the bullpen until July, and in 10 starts, he has a 5.01 ERA and 4.96 FIP. That ERA is 2.11 over his last four starts, but with nine strikeouts and 10 walks in 21.1 innings, his 5.52 FIP indicates Wood hasn’t really changed.

Michael Wacha starts Tuesday for St. Louis. Wacha went on a great run in the middle of June and into July, with a 2.43 ERA and 2.32 FIP in seven starts from June 9 to July 18, culminating in his shutout of the Mets. Since then, he’s struggled a bit over his last eight starts, with a 4.77 FIP and 5.36 ERA and averaging just five innings per start. His velocity has not gone down, however, with his fastball in his last game against the Giants averaging nearly 97 mph.

On Wednesday, Dinelson Lamet will start for San Diego. Lamet is a fun player, with a mid-90s fastball and an 86 mph slider, striking out 30% of batters in 17 MLB starts this year. He’s also walked more than 10% of the batters he’s faced. He’s a fly ball pitcher, but he hasn’t given up too many homers, and his 4.00 FIP is a bit better than his 4.40 ERA. He struck out ten Dodgers in his last start.

Jack Flaherty seems likely to make his second career start on Wednesday, although it i possible Adam Wainwright will return to the rotation. Flaherty showed some promise in his start against the Giants, striking out six with his only walk an intentional pass. A homer and a couple other extra base hits and a few singles caused five runs to score in the four innings he pitched, but he seems likely to get better if given more opportunities.

In the finale on Thursday, Clayton Richard is the Padres scheduled starter. The lefty gave up four runs, including three homers, against the Cardinals when they played a few weeks ago. He used his fourseamer more often in his last start against the Cardinals, going under 50% usage on his sinker, but has gone back to his sinker about two-thirds of the time the last two starts. He’s given up eight runs in his last two starts with 11 strikeouts, five walks, and two homers in 13 innings. His K/9 on the season is 6.66 if you are interested in that sort of thing. Lance Lynn—who had a weirdly dominant start against the Giants with four strikeouts, four walks, and just one hit over eight innings—will look to keep things going against the Padres.

Today, September 4, 3:40 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest

Tuesday, September 5, 9:10 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest

Wednesday, September 6, 9:10 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest

Thursday, September 7, 8:10 pm CT, Fox Sports Midwest

Other notable games:

Brewers v Reds

Giants v Rockies

Cubs v Pirates

Dbacks v Dodgers