Friday, October 2, 2020, Petco Park, San Diego, California, 7:08 p.m. ET
Cardinals at Padres Betting Preview: Cardinals (+123), Padres (-148)
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals will seek to rebound after letting a four-run lead slip away when they could have wrapped up their best-of-three National League first-round series in two games. Five different relievers combined to allow nine runs — including five homers — over San Diego’s last three at-bats in a monumental collapse during the 11-9 setback.
Paul Goldschmidt has homered in both games of the series to raise his career count to 13 at Petco Park. Kolten Wong homered and had four RBIs Thursday, and St. Louis had five extra-bases hits among its 10 total hits.
Right-hander Jack Flaherty (4-3, 4.91 ERA) will take the ball in the series finale, and the Cardinals will be hoping he can pitch deep into the game. The problem is that Flaherty had a woeful September when he went 2-3 with a 7.48 ERA in five starts.
The 24-year-old has been sturdy against the Padres with a 1-0 mark and 1.10 ERA in three career starts, but he struggled with Trent Grisham (4-for-6) when the latter was with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Veteran catcher Yadier Molina (5-for-10 in the series) played in his 100th career playoff game on Thursday also recorded his 100th postseason hit. Dexter Fowler has back-to-back two-hit games in the eighth spot in the order, but No. 9 Harrison Bader is just 1-for-8 with six strikeouts — five of the whiffs coming in Game 1.
San Diego Padres
The vaunted San Diego offense wasn’t so prolific over the first 14 innings of the series before it emerged in prolific fashion to save the team’s season. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Wil Myers each hit two homers to join Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth of the 1932 New York Yankees as the only teammates to hit multiple homers in the same postseason game.
Manny Machado also went deep. Tatis had five RBIs to tie the franchise postseason record set by Steve Garvey when the latter established the feat on the night he hit a walk-off homer in Game 4 of the 1984 NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.
San Diego may have to rely on its bats to win Friday’s game as the pitching staff is in such disarray that manager Jayce Tingler said “I have no idea” when asked who would start Game 3 after the club evened the series. Right-handed co-aces Mike Clevinger (elbow) and Dinelson Lamet (biceps) aren’t on the roster for this series due to injuries.
One pitcher who could see work in the early innings is 20-year-old rookie right-hander Luis Patino, someone St. Louis has never seen. No matter what, the Padres will be making a lot of calls to the bullpen to try and piecemeal their way through the contest.
San Diego was missing its swagger until Tatis blasted a three-run homer in the sixth inning to start the barrage. The second-year star endured a mid-September slump but is the most exciting — and important — player on the squad.
Cardinals at Padres Betting Pick for Game 3
San Diego appeared headed to a meek and disappointing exit before its bats woke up in Game 2. St. Louis could use the 2019 version of Flaherty (2.75 ERA, 231 strikeouts) to show up in an attempt to silence the Padres. But the momentum changed in a big way, and San Diego will be moving on.
Cardinals at Padres Betting Pick:
Padres 8, Cardinals 5
Cardinals at Padres Best Bet for Game 3
That nine-run explosion over their final three at-bats might have some carryover as it was electrifying for the Padres and deflating for the Cardinals. With San Diego’s pitching situation being shaky at best, count on plenty of runs being scored in this affair.
Cardinals at Padres Best Bet: OVER 9 runs (-106)
–Field Level Media