The San Diego Padres sit in 2nd place in the NL West, 1 game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Diamondbacks and Rockies open up series against difficult opponents, so the Padres stand to gain some ground if they can hold their own against the St. Louis Cardinals.
A week into the season, the Cardinals trail the red-hot Brewers in the NL Central. They’re squarely in 2nd place, but more than a couple of games back of Milwaukee.
Expected Pitching Matchups
- Friday: Nick Margevicius vs. Jack Flaherty
- Saturday: Chris Paddack vs. Michael Wacha
- Sunday: Matt Strahm vs. Adam Wainwright
What to watch for
The Cardinals are not the team you remember from a few years ago. Gone are the days of “Cardinals devil magic”, their ability to turn a prospect into a solid starter or star in his rookie season on an annual basis. This is a team build around veteran guile and a couple of power hitters.
The bad news for the Padres is that the Cardinals are probably going to win the games where Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna hit HRs, and both of them are right-handed batters that will see a lot of lefties in this series.
San Diego will also be hoping for strong starts from Margevicius, making his first career MLB road start, and Strahm, who gave up 5 ER in less than 3 IP in his first start of the season.
Who to watch for
- Manny Machado has hit 2 HRs in 4 career games at Busch Stadium. He’ll be hoping to improve that number after getting his first in a Padres uniform.
- Goldschmidt has been as advertised so far, hitting 4 HRs in his first 6 games with the Cardinals.
- Kolten Wong has been on fire for St. Louis. He’s hitting .476 with 3 HRs (he had 9 all of last season) and has an OPS over 1.500. It’s likely those numbers were inflated a little bit by a hitter-friendly ballpark in Milwaukee, but it’ll be interesting to see what type of strategy Darren Balsley comes up to try and cool him off.
- Marcell Ozuna and Franmil Reyes are two big-time power hitters that can win a series by himself when they get hot. Both of them have started the season ice-cold. One of them is likely going to have a bounce-back series in St. Louis and whomever it is could lead to which team ends up winning this one.