I'm just going to keep using Chase Headley as my feature photo. As long as he keeps mashing the ball, he deserves it. (Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE)
The Padres continued their winning ways with the series against the Diamondbacks. They took two of three from Arizona after taking two of three from the Dodgers. Chase Headley has been insane. He leads the National League in RBI. I'll admit, I am not a huge fan of that stat, but when one of our boys leads the league, I am suddenly the biggest fan of it. Headley also has 27 home runs. It's like he was pissed at all the contract extensions being doled out while he could only watch. Well, Chase, you'll get the last laugh. If San Diego wants to extend your contract now, it will cost a hell of a lot more than it would have last offseason - but I digress.
Andrew Werner continues to impress. He has now made four starts in his career and has yet to give up more than two runs. He has a 2.59 ERA this year, and he has been a pleasant surprise. The bullpen has performed very well in Huston Street's absence. And it hasn't just been the closer role either. The entire pen has done a fantastic job of holding leads and helping these young starters who can't go as deep into games as the veterans.
San Diego will host the Cardinals now with hope of knocking St. Louis out of their current Wild Card slot. The Cardinals have a 1.5 game lead in the second Wild Card spot. The Dodgers are 1.5 games back, but we can hope they continue to lose and maybe the Pirates can overtake St. Louis.
Game One - 7:05 PM PT
Garcia is coming off a solid performance against the New York Mets in his last start. In that performance, Garcia tossed 7 1/3 innings, allowed nine hits, but didn't give up a earned run. On the season, though, Garcia hasn't been that good. He is 4-6 with a 4.16 ERA. After a fantastic 2010 season, Garcia has fallen back to earth in the last two year. In 2011, Garcia had a still respectable 3.56 ERA. Against the Padres, Garcia has been fantastic. He has four starts in his career against San Diego and has posted a 1.67 ERA. At Petco, Garcia has made one start. He went six innings, gave up three hits, and didn't allow a run.
Stults has made three straight starts without allowing more than a run. In fact, in those three starts, Stults has only allow one run. Since August 6th, when Stults became a full-time starter, he has made six starts. In those starts, he's given up a total of eight runs. In other words, Stults has been dominant. Stults has not yet faced the Cardinals in his career. This of course means he will throw San Diego's first no-hitter because - well - he just doesn't know any better. Put it in the books, I am calling a no-hitter now. The beauty of this call is that you can't jinx something that hasn't even started yet. All that can happen is I'll either look like an idiot or a prophet.
Game Two - 7:05 PM PT
Wainwright is still working himself back into his 2010 form. He missed all of 2011 with injury, and since returning this season he's struggled. Wainwright has a 4.04 ERA and is 13-12 this year. In 2010, Wainwright finished second in Cy Young voting and had a 2.42 ERA. In 2009, he finished third in Cy Young voting with a 2.63 ERA. Regardless of his struggles this season, Wainwright has good stuff and is always a threat. Against the Padres, Wainwright has tossed 33 2/3 innings and has a 1.07 ERA. That's back-to-back pitchers the Padres will face with killer ERAs against them.
Volquez is a frustrating pitcher. You should know this by now if you've watched him or read my pieces. I truly think he could be more than good. I think he could be great. However, he never seems to put together consistent success. This season Volquez has been all over the board. As recently as July 24th, Volquez had an ERA of 3.30. He is now at 4.27. He peaked on August 15th at a 4.31 ERA. Against the Cardinals, Volquez has pitched 38 2/3 innings and has a whopping 5.59 ERA. Despite Volquez's ups and downs, he currently has his best ERA since 2008. He's still a far cry from that 2008 season when he won 17 games.
Game Three - 3:35 PM PT
Early in the year, Lohse was Chris Carpenter reincarnated. He carried the team as Adam Wainwright struggled and as Carpenter sat on the disabled list. He's actually maintained a high-level success throughout the season. He has a 2.81 ERA this season and has been the main guy in St. Louis' rotation. Lohse is having a Ryan Dempster-ian year. He is having by far the best year of his career. Against San Diego, Lohse has pitched 44 2/3 innings. Finally, though, we have a pitcher who has struggled against the Padres. He has a career 5.24 ERA against the Friars.
Richard has been solid this season. As a lefty starter, we'll take a 3.78 ERA. Richard has been impressive aside from his Dodgers start. He gave up three runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Dodgers in his last start. However, since July 29th, Richard has given up more than three runs just once in a start. He has a 3.13 ERA in four starts against the Cardinals in his career. All told, Richard has been pretty successful in 2012. He'll look to continue that success in an attempt to finish with a above-.500 record this season. He's currently 12-12.
Two out of three seems to be the theme here, and I think I'm going to go with it. But rather than just predict the series outcome, I'll tell you which games the Padres will win. I know, I'm like that little crazy guy on the corner who always asks to read your palm. I'll read your palm AND predict the future. San Diego will win the opener (come on, I already called the no-hitter). Then, in the second game of the series, Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin, and Chris Denorfia will continue their hot-hitting. They'll get some help from the pitching as San Diego will take the first two games. With brooms in hand, the Padres will come close, but fail to put away the Cards in a 2-1 nail-biter in the finale. So there you have it. Another series victory for our Pads.
Keep the faith!!