Thursday, October 1, 2020, Petco Park, San Diego, California, 7:08 p.m. ET
Cardinals at Padres Betting Preview: Cardinals (+142), Padres (-164)
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals had baserunners throughout Game 1 with 13 hits, five walks and a hit batter to produce a 7-4 win that gives them the upper hand in the best-of-three first-round series. Yadier Molina, who will play in his 100th career postseason game on Thursday, went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and Paul Goldschmidt slugged his 12th career home run at Petco Park. Even Harrison Bader’s five strikeouts — three with runners in scoring position — couldn’t derail St. Louis.
Veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright (5-3, 3.15 ERA) lost his last two starts of the regular season but he is a proven commodity on the postseason stage. The 39-year-old has a 2.81 ERA in 27 career playoff appearances (14 starts) and his first foray was against the Padres in the 2006 National League Division Series as he pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief over three appearances. In the regular season, Wainwright is 7-4 with a 2.19 ERA in 15 appearances (12 starts) against San Diego, but his record at Petco Park is just 1-4 despite a 3.03 ERA in six appearances (five starts).
The Cardinals used five relievers in Game 1 so getting six or seven solid innings from Wainwright would be key in case a Game 3 is necessary. Each of Wainwright’s two starts in the 2019 postseason were gems, including one in which he tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings against the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS before then-closer Carlos Martinez blew the save (and the game) in the ninth inning.
San Diego Padres
Facing the Cardinals is once again not a fun task for the Padres, who must win the final two games to avoid being eliminated by the Cardinals for the fourth time in their franchise history. San Diego was swept in three games by the Cardinals in both the 1996 and 2005 NLDS and lost 3-1 in the 2006 NLDS — the final series the club’s most recent visit to the postseason before 2020. The Padres will need a much sharper effort on Thursday as part of their undoing in the opener was two baserunning gaffes by rookie Jake Cronenworth.
San Diego’s rotation is still in disarray with top-notch right-handers Mike Clevinger (elbow) and Dinelson Lamet (bicep) both left off the roster for the series. Right-hander Kyle Davies (7-4, 2.73 ERA) gets the call in Game 2 after serving as the picture of consistency this season (he didn’t allow more than three earned runs in any of his 12 starts). The 27-year-old frequently saw St. Louis hitters during his four-plus seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers but was just 2-3 with a 4.55 ERA in 10 starts against the club. In particular, he had severe problems with Matt Carpenter, who is 12-for-25 (.480) with three homers, four doubles and five walks against him.
The Padres had to use seven relievers when Chris Paddack lasted just 2 1/3 innings in Game 1 so the bullpen is highly taxed. But San Diego needs better than a combined 2-for-13 from the top three hitters in the lineup — Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer — if it wants to play a game on Friday.
Cardinals at Padres Betting Pick for Game 2
Is it possible that Wainwright has another stellar postseason start in that right arm? That certainly can’t be discounted. But an even bigger factor is how much do the Padres — many who lack postseason experience — either relax or press during at-bats if they fall behind with their season on the line?
Cardinals at Padres Betting Pick:
Cardinals 4, Padres 2
Cardinals at Padres Best Bet for Game 2
San Diego is typically good for keeping the scoreboard busy but the club was just 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position in the opener. Davies figures to keep the Padres in the game so runs could be hard to come by.
Cardinals at Padres Best Bet: UNDER 8.5 total runs (-110)
–Field Level Media