You wouldn't realize it just looking at the teams' records, but the Padres and Cardinals have been equally hot lately, each going 16-8 in their last 24 games. The Padres have bounced back from a dismal 5-15 start to the season and now find themselves just two games under .500. The Padres also have the best record in the NL West this month, tied with the Diamondbacks at 11-7. They'll look to improve on that tonight and clinch the series win with Edinson Volquez on the hill.
Volquez was riding his own little hot streak, going 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA over four starts, before his most recent outing against the Nationals. But Washington tagged him for five runs in five innings on Thursday, giving him his first loss in five starts. The right-hander has struggled against St. Louis in the past. He has a lifetime 2-4 record with a 5.32 ERA against the Cards.
Matt Holliday has gone 7-for-17 with two homers and Carlos Beltran is 5-for-12 against Volquez. Ty Wigginton, who may make the start at third base again tonight for David Freese, is 4-for-12 with two homers off Volquez. But the Cards offense had trouble getting production at the plate last night. They combined for just four hits and one of their runs scored only because of an error by Chase Headley. Jon Jay was the star of the night for St. Louis, going 2-for-4 to improve his average to .354 since moving out of the leadoff spot in the lineup. Since April 22nd, he's hit mostly in the 6-spot, collecting 15 RBI during that stretch. He's also hit safely in 15 of his last 16 starts.
However, the Padres offense has been on fire as of late, and is looking to give the Cards another run for their money. They lead the NL in runs scored (92) over the last 19 games, including last night's three-run five-hit performance against one of the stingiest pitchers in the league in Shelby Miller. They've especially thrived in San Diego, wining 12 of their last 15 played at Petco Park and hitting 21 homers in 23 total home games this season.
But tonight they'll face another tough opponent in Adam Wainwright. He's 5-3 this year with a 2.51 ERA and is coming off a start in which he struck out eight batters while issuing just one walk against the Mets. He was tagged with the loss in that outing, however, as he yielded three earned runs (four total) on six hits through six innings of work. Prior to that, he tossed a two-hit shutout against the Rockies that took 120 pitches. Wainwright has a career 3-2 record against San Diego in five starts while boasting a miniscule 0.97 ERA.