After taking two of three games from the Diamondbacks, it is now time to turn our attention to yet another playoff-hopeful team as our Padres begin a three-game series against the Cardinals At Petco Park tonight. St. Louis currently possesses the second NL wild card spot by a slim 1 1/2-game margin over Los Angeles, and hopes they won't become San Diego's next victim.
The Cards are coming off an extra-inning win against the Brewers that snapped a three-game losing streak. They're hoping for a repeat of their prior success against our Padres, when they swept us in St. Louis back in May. However, things have changed a lot since then. We have gone 22-14 since the beginning of August and have won eight of the last 10 at home. It will be a lot tougher for St. Louis this time around, especially considering their recent struggles away from home. Losers of five of their last six on the road, they have quite a big task for them over these next seven games, as they finish their seven-game road trip with a four-game set against the Dodgers after the series in San Diego.
Jaime Garcia will take the mound for the Cardinals as he tries to put an end to his own road struggles. He has gone 1-4 in his last five road starts. Tonight's start will be his fifth since returning from the DL and he hopes to build off his last outing, when he pitched 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball against New York. He has a spotless record against our Friars, going 1-0 in four career starts while keeping his ERA against us at 1.67. He made his sole start at Petco Park in May of 2010, allowing just three hits while shutting down our offense for six innings but not factoring into the decision as our Padres went on to win the game.
Garcia will have to face an offense that has been red-hot lately, led by last month's NL Player of the Month, Chase Headley. His grand slam yesterday rocketed the team to a decisive win in the rubber game against Arizona while taking him past the 100-RBI mark to lead the National League. Our Padres have won four of their last five games and look to continue making the wild card races interesting and being a menace to the teams leading those races.
Eric Stults will try to get the series started on a strong note as he makes the start in tonight's series opener. His last start was a six-inning one-run appearance against the Dodgers in L.A. Tonight will be his first time facing St. Louis and he hopes to keep up his recent success on the mound. Since returning from a DL stint on August 6th, Stults has gone 4-0 in six starts, boasting a 1.66 ERA in that span. With David Freese possibly out of the lineup again for the Cards, Stults may be looking at another cruise to victory.
These games are just another step in the SD Spoiler Series and our Journey to 3rd and Beyond as our boys continue to be a deciding factor in the NL postseason race.