Cardinals vs. Padres Game 2 – 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

Will the NL Wild-Card series between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres end on Thursday from Petco Park or will there be a winner-take-all Game 3? The winner of this series almost surely will face the Dodgers in the NLDS.

How to Bet Cardinals at Padres MLB Odds & TV Info

Why Bet on St. Louis? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

The Cardinals played the fewest regular-season games (58) in their franchise history, two games fewer than the St. Louis Brown Stockings who played a 60-game season in 1877.

The Cardinals will not have former ace pitcher Carlos Martinez at all in these playoffs. He has been shut down with an oblique injury. Martinez was moved into the rotation in 2020 after a successful stint as a closer in 2019. He struggled quite a bit in 2020, yielding more than a run per inning, so a spot on the postseason roster might not even have been a given. Martinez, who already missed a big chunk of the campaign owing to coronavirus infection, will earn $11.5 million next year before the club makes a call on the first of two club options.

St. Louis has 13 pitchers and 15 position players on the Wild-Card roster. The changes to the roster from the last day of the Cards’ regular season were to remove Jake Woodford and Seth Elledge and to add Daniel Ponce de Leon and Andrew Knizner.

The full Game 1 lineup for St. Louis on Wednesday was: Kolten Wong 2B, Tommy Edman 3B, Paul Goldschmidt 1B, Dylan Carlson LF, Yadier Molina C, Paul DeJong SS, Matt Carpenter DH, Dexter Fowler RF, Harrison Bader CF. We will have to see if that same group starts on Thursday.

It will be veteran Adam Wainwright on the mound in what could be his final start ever for St. Louis. Wainwright yielded three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings Saturday in a loss to the Brewers. Wainwright issued one walk, struck out only three, and gave up eight hits, including back-to-back homers to Ryan Braun and Daniel Vogelbach to lead off the top of the fourth. The 39-year-old was 5-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 65 2/3 frames.

Wainwright is third all-time among Cardinals in career wins (167) and leads the franchise for postseason games (27) & strikeouts (115) and he’s 2nd in innings pitched (105.2) to Chris Carpenter (108.0). Wainwright (4 wins, 4 saves, 14 starts) and Hall of Famer John Smoltz (15 wins, 4 saves, 27 starts) are the only pitchers in MLB postseason history to have 4 or more wins and 4 or more saves while also making 10 or more starts.

Wainwright has pitched 15 games in his career vs. the Padres (none in the playoffs) and is 7-4 with a 2.19 ERA. His regular season 2.19 career ERA vs. San Diego ranks 13th all-time among pitchers with 10 or more starts and is the 4th-lowest among all active pitchers (Clayton Kershaw 2.03, 1st). He has never allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 12 career starts vs. the Padres. Wainwright has seen the Padres four times in the last 5 seasons, going 1-2 with a 3.54 ERA over 20.1 innings.

Why Bet on San Diego? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

The Padres will be without arguably their two best starting pitchers for this series in Dinelson Lamet and trade acquisition Mike Clevinger. Both starters left their last regular-season appearance due to bicep tightness. Clevinger threw a bullpen session on Tuesday, but he was not healthy enough to be added to the postseason roster.

“Ultimately, we didn’t feel comfortable enough that both guys would be going out and throwing 80-plus pitches in starting roles,’’ Padres GM A.J. Preller said. “We’re looking at the short term and the long-term.’’

Lamet posted a 2.09 ERA in 69 innings in 2020 and finished the year with a 0.85 WHIP. The Padres acquired Clevinger, 29, from the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline and expected him to lead their playoff rotation. Clevinger made just four starts with San Diego in 2020, but he went 13-4 with a 2.71 ERA in Cleveland last season.

Both Clevinger and Lamet are among the other 12 players in the Padres’ 40-man postseason player pool, the team announced, so they could still be added in future rounds, should the team advance.

Here was San Diego’s Game 1 lineup: Fernando Tatis Jr. SS, Manny Machado 3B, Eric Hosmer 1B, Wil Myers RF, Tommy Pham DH, Jake Cronenworth 2B, Austin Nola C, Jurickson Profar LF, Trent Grisham CF.

It will be Zach Davies on the bump here. He was 7-4 with a 2.73 ERA this year. Davies did not allow more than three earned runs in any of his 12 regular-season starts.

His seven wins tied with 4 others for the 3rd-most in the majors and his 69.1 innings were 12th-most among all NL pitchers. Davies earned the winning decision in a career-high 5 consecutive outings from Aug. 17-Sept. 9, tied with Marco Gonzales and Randy Dobnak for the 2nd-longest winning streak in ’20 and tied for the 6th-longest in Padres history.

Among all ML pitchers who threw 750+ total pitches on the season, Davies’ 41.3 % changeup usage was the highest rate in baseball. Opposing hitters posted a .176 AVG against the pitch and it produced a 35.9 % whiff rate, the highest whiff rate of any pitch in a single season in his career. Davies’ cutter had 6.1 inches of vertical movement in 2020, which ranked as the 2nd-most movement of any cutter in the majors (min. 100 occurrences).

Expert Prediction Padres 4, Cardinals 3

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