The San Diego Padres hit the road this week following an off day. Their first stop, St. Louis, to match up with the contending Cardinals.
At 14 games under .500, the Padres are 33.5 games back of the first place Dodgers. Even their more likely playoff alternative, one of the National League Wild Cards, is 12.5 games away.
When San Diego travels to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals this week, the contrast will be striking. Both teams are currently out of playoff spots, but the Cards are well within the picture. Every game counts at this point for them, as they sit 4.5 back of the second wild card and 3.5 back of the Cubs in the NL Central.
Tuesday, 5:15 PM: Richard vs. Lynn
Beginning the series with Clayton Richard should set the tone for the Padres. The 33-year-old has been wildly inconsistent this season, but his last start against the Phillies was a complete game shutout to finish off a sweep. Depending on Richard’s start, the Friars could either be off to a fabulous start this series or a troubling one.
Opposing the San Diego southpaw will be Lance Lynn. Lynn is a seasoned Cardinal, with 153 starts and a career ERA of 3.32. This season has gone even better for the 30-year-old, as he is 10-6 with a 3.05 ERA. It will be a tough matchup for the young Padres but one they must get used to seeing.
Wednesday, 5:15 PM: Chacin vs. Weaver
The most productive and consistent member of San Diego’s rotation is slated to start Wednesday’s game, hopefully providing a boost against a tough young opponent. Jhoulys Chacin will be making his 26th start of the year and will be looking for his 12th win. The St. Louis offense certainly won’t make matters easy.
Luke Weaver is 24 and has just 10 career starts. He is a new pitcher to the Cardinals, but hasn’t wasted any time making a name for himself. With a 3.31 ERA this season, Weaver hasn’t been much off a drop off at all from the star he is filling in for, Adam Wainwright. Still, St. Louis needs to see a lot more than 16 innings from the youngster, and the Padres would be glad to be the cause of his first poor outing.
Thursday, 4:15 PM: Perdomo vs. Martinez
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Another thriving St. Louis starter who has largely flown under the radar in 2017 takes the mound in the finale of this three game set. Carlos Martinez hasn’t missed a start this season, and much like San Diego’s Chacin, has performed consistently throughout. He has kept his ERA to a respectable 3.57 and has won ten games for the Cardinals.
Opposing him will be the up and coming Luis Perdomo, an improving Padre starter with every outing. Perdomo is 6-8 with a 4.93 ERA, and has struggled a bit in August. But the right-hander has shown that he has the tools to make a major league rotation. Putting them all together is his mission for the rest of 2017.
Competing against a club who is in the playoff race but needs victories late in August is a wonderful opportunity for the young Padres to grow. The sense of urgency the Cardinals will have at their home park will make matters difficult for San Diego, but it will also make keeping them behind their competition all the more rewarding.