2020 Postseason Preview: Cardinals v. Padres
A heavenly billing of some of the game’s stars and up-and-comers and a devilish starting pitching decision
For the St. Louis Cardinals, Kwang Hyun Kim gets the ball for game one of their 2020 postseason. No kidding. Seven starts and a 1.62 ERA will get you some respect in this league. And for the San Diego Padres? Chris Paddack (4.73 ERA).
Wait! What? Can they seriously not get Zach Davies ready? He threw three innings four days ago. I’m hyperventilating . “Likely for no reason,” you say. Hate to say it, but you’re right.
The Padres are going to struggle to find someone to take the mound. Normally, we’d be inclined to take the Padres in the series, continuing our belief in them from the preseason. But, they have lost two of their starting pitchers: Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet in the last week and this was a three-decent-starters team. Really. Now they’re down to one. Besides Davies, there’s nobody left with any number of innings with an ERA under 5.00. So, to answer the question why Paddack is starting, that’s why.
If he comes through, great. If not, then Davies has to win game two and then they end up in a bullpen game anyway.
That said, St. Louis is also without Dakota Hudson, who went down with elbow issues a week ago and will require Tommy John surgery. Enter Austin Gomber (1.86 ERA) who has been outstanding filling in. and veteran Adam Wainwright (3.15 ERA) is … Adam freaking Wainwright.
But these are the young Padres they’re facing. They “gasp” steal bases and “gasp again!” sacrifice runners over. They’re first and second in the majors respectively. They’re also fourth in on-base plus slugging. The question is, can Will Myers, Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. hit in the postseason? The three had 48 homers in 174 games.
And can the Cards hit? Paul Goldschmidt has returned to form (.304 average, .883 OPS). After that there’s a drop-off. Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong have never floated my boat much, but they always seem to win a game here and there during the playoffs. Yadier Molina will hit every mistake thrown his way. With the list of guys San Diego will be trotting out there, there will be a bunch.
St. Louis is not a great-hitting team, but they hit enough and they have the pitching. Cardinals win. Next round? Meh.