Wednesday, September 30, 2020, Petco Park, San Diego, California, 5:08 p.m. ET
Cardinals at Padres Betting Preview: Cardinals (+145), Padres (-167)
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals overcame an early-season COVID-19 outbreak to qualify for the best-of-three first round of the playoffs on the final day of the season. St. Louis is the No. 5 seed for the National League playoffs and is part of the field for the second straight season after a three-year absence. The Cardinals were a hot team down the stretch, logging eight victories in the final 12 regular-season games, but they lack power and finished last in the majors with 51 homers.
Left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim (3-0, 1.62 ERA) will start Game 1 after a dazzling season in which he compiled a 1.03 WHIP and limited opposing hitters to a .197 average. The 32-year-old rookie had a four-start stretch in which he allowed one run, which was unearned, and 12 hits over 24 innings. Veteran lefty Andrew Miller, always a superb weapon in the postseason, has a 0.95 ERA in 28 career playoff appearances, allowing just 19 hits and fanning 54 in 38 innings.
Paul Goldschmidt has seen a lot of the Padres after spending eight seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks before playing the past two years in St. Louis. He has a career .300 average with 22 homers and 86 RBIs in 130 games against the Padres, with 11 of the blasts coming at Petco Park.
San Diego Padres
The Padres emerged as one of the most exciting teams in baseball, but this is their first foray into the postseason since 2006. San Diego was eliminated by the Cardinals in each of its past two playoff trips, though that means nothing to the current group. Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (17 homers) and third baseman Manny Machado (16) are both part of the MVP conversation, having helped the team finish fourth in the majors with 95 homers.
San Diego rotation is a big question mark with co-ace right-handers Mike Clevinger (elbow) and Dinelson Lamet (biceps) ailing, making Chris Paddack the surprise choice to start Game 1. Paddack (4-5, 4.73 ERA) was unable to equal his rookie success and served up 14 homers in just 59 innings this year. A week ago, there was chatter that Paddack might not be on the roster for the series. The Padres will hope he can get the game to the bullpen, which is strong on the back end with left-hander Drew Pomeranz (1.45 ERA) and right-hander Trevor Rosenthal (10 innings, no earned runs allowed since being acquired from the Kansas City Royals).
Winning Game 1 is especially crucial for the Padres with their starting-pitching issues. San Diego will have to set its roster for the series by Wednesday afternoon, and whether Clevinger and/or Lamet is on it will be telling for a possible Game 3 starter. Keeping the middle relievers fresh might be a key element of the series.
Cardinals at Padres Betting Pick for September 30, 2020
San Diego has the better lineup with Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers to go with Tatis and Machado but isn’t just a power show despite the “Slam Diego” moniker. The Padres led the majors with 55 steals — topped by Tatis (11) and Trent Grisham (10) — so they can manufacture runs and play small ball when necessary. The Cardinals could use a turnaround from three-time All-Star Matt Carpenter (.186 average, four homers) to help an offense in which Goldschmidt (.304) is the only regular hitting above .265.
Cardinals at Padres Betting Pick:
Padres 5, Cardinals 4
Cardinals at Padres Best Bet for September 30, 2020
San Diego’s propensity for the long ball figures to make sure there are some runs on the board, though nobody on the roster has faced Kim. Paddack’s inconsistency this season should help the Cardinals create scoring opportunities, so St. Louis’ clutch hitting will be a key. Expect the run total to slightly edge the over.
Cardinals at Padres Best Bet: OVER 8 total runs (-118)
–Field Level Media