A pair of teams in the thick of the National League wild-card race close out a weekend series in the Gateway City. The San Diego Padres are on the road as they finish up a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday afternoon. In the opening game of the series on Friday night, it was the Cardinals rolling to an 8-2 victory to draw first blood and improve their spot in a crowded NL playoff picture. Which team comes up with the victory in the series finale in this contest and heads into the final couple of weeks in the regular season with a little momentum? This article was published prior to the conclusion of the middle game of the series Saturday night.
San Diego Padres Looking to Stop ReelingSan Diego was drubbed soundly in the series opener Friday night and entered Saturday just 10-20 dating back to August 12. The Padres entered Saturday third in the NL West, 19.5 games behind the Giants for the top spot in the division. In the NL wild card race, the team stood 1.5 games behind the Cardinals for the second wild card spot. On Friday night, San Diego finished with seven hits with Eric Hosmer (run) the lone player with two in the loss. Vince Velasquez (3-7) took the loss on the mound in his Padres debut. He allowed four runs on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts over four innings before departing.
Okay they don't all have to be slams pic.twitter.com/BfYngjokNH— San Diego Padres (@Padres) September 16, 2021
Jake Arrieta takes the mound for his 24th start of the season overall and his fourth with the Padres in this contest. He comes in 5-13 with a 7.05 ERA, a 1.739 WHIP, 43 walks and 83 strikeouts over 98.1 innings of work on the year. Arrieta took the loss in his last start, which came on the road against the Giants Tuesday. He threw 3.2 innings, allowing three runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in a game the Padres went on to lose 6-1. On the road this season, Arrieta is 3-7 with a 7.02 ERA, a 1.746 WHIP, 25 walks and 46 strikeouts over 59 innings in 14 starts. Arrieta makes his 20th career start against the Cardinals in this contest. He comes in 8-5 with a 2.50 ERA, a 1.157 WHIP, 35 walks and 113 strikeouts over 108 innings of work against them. Arrieta is 2-4 with a 4.35 ERA, a 1.525 WHIP, 15 walks and 39 strikeouts over 39.1 innings in eight career starts at Busch Stadium.
St. Louis Cardinals Trying to Maintain Momentum in Playoff ChaseSt. Louis won their sixth straight game and their eighth in the last nine games as they took the opening game of this set Friday night. The Cardinals entered Saturday second in the NL Central, 12.5 games behind the division leading Brewers. In the NL wild card race, the team held a one-game advantage over the Reds for the second wild card spot. On Friday night, Paul Goldschmidt (two runs, RBI) and Dylan Carlson (two runs, five RBI) each had two hits to lead the way for St. Louis. Carlson (his 14th and 15th, including a grand slam) homered twice while Tyler O’Neill (his 27th) also went deep in the victory. Miles Mikolas (1-2) earned the win as he threw 5.2 scoreless innings, allowing three hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
GRAND SLAMMA! pic.twitter.com/ojLOWM0pAL— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 18, 2021
J.A. Happ is on the mound as he makes his 28th start of the season overall and his ninth since coming to St. Louis at the trade deadline. He comes in 9-8 with a 6.00 ERA, a 1.486 WHIP, 43 walks and 107 strikeouts over 138 innings of work this season. Since coming to St. Louis, he’s been better, going 4-2 with a 4.08 ERA, a 1.235 WHIP, 12 walks and 35 strikeouts over 39.2 innings. Happ earned the win in his last start, which came last Sunday at home against the Reds. He threw 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with one walk and four strikeouts in a 2-0 Cardinals victory. At home this season, Happ is 5-3 with a 5.01 ERA, a 1.354 WHIP, 24 walks and 61 strikeouts over 79 innings in 15 starts. Happ makes his sixth career appearance and fifth start against the Padres in this contest. He comes in 2-2 with a 2.15 ERA, a 1.091 WHIP, eight walks and 15 strikeouts over 29.1 innings of work. Happ is 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA, a 1.30 WHIP, 12 walks and 37 strikeouts over 40 innings in eight career starts at Busch Stadium.
The top trends for this contest are:
- Padres are 3-12 in their last 15 during game 3 of a series
- Cardinals are 6-0 in their last 6 overall
- Cardinals are 6-0 in their last 6 games on grass
- Cardinals are 5-0 in their last 5 games vs. a right-handed starter
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
These two teams are trending in different directions as the season winds down. On August 12, San Diego was 66-51 and held a 3.5-game lead for the second NL wild card and stood four games behind the Dodgers for the first wild card. Since then, they’ve gone 10-20 and throwing stopgap arms like Arrieta and Velasquez hasn’t helped matters for them either. The Padres have struggled on the road, entering Saturday 32-40 on the year, and Arrieta having an ERA north of seven doesn’t inspire confidence. Happ has improved since coming over from Minnesota at the trade deadline and the Cardinals have momentum on their side with six straight wins entering Saturday. Give the edge to the Cardinals here as they earn the win to take the series.
Full-Game Total Pick
Arrieta has been lit up on a regular basis this season and his last 11 starts have provided some ugly numbers. In his last 11 starts, he has seen an average of 11.81 runs per game on the board, including games that finished with 22 and 25 runs on the board at the end of the contest. Somehow, the under has gone 6-3-2 in that stretch though it’s important to note that the total on those games was at least nine runs in all but one of those contests. Happ has been better with the Cardinals as his eight starts have seen an average total of 8.25 runs per game in those contests. The under is 4-2-2 in his eight starts with St. Louis. While the potential for another shelling of Arrieta is there, look for this one to end up falling short of the total.