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Red Hot Cardinals Battle For Wild Card Spot With Padres

Nolan Arenado and the St. Louis Cardinals take on the San Diego Padres on Friday night.

The St. Louis Cardinals are 7-1 over their last eight games including a 5-0 stretch over their last five games. The Cardinals host the San Diego Padres on Friday night in the first game of a three-game series that could play a large role in deciding the National League wild card race.

San Diego Padres vs St. Louis Cardinals
  • Date/Time: September 17, 8:15 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Busch Stadium
  • TV Coverage: BSM, BSSD
  • Opening Odds: Cardinals -141 | O/U 8.5 runs (Line History)
  • Padres vs Cardinals Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The Brewers opened as -160 road favorites and have been bet down just slightly to Milwaukee -153. The Cardinals will be looking for the upset at home as +143 underdogs while the total is set at seven runs, up slightly from its opening line of 6.5 runs. The UNDER is 5-2 in St. Louis’s last seven home games against Milwaukee.

Starting Pitchers Analysis

Vince Velasquez was released by the Philadelphia Phillies after allowing five earned runs in two innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 30 to bring his ERA to 5.95 and his WHIP to 1.48 on the season. With Chris Paddack and Blake Snell both hitting the injured list this week, the pitching-starved Padres signed Velasquez on Wednesday to start him in this game.

Miles Mikolas has allowed exactly four earned runs in each of his last three starts, doubling his ERA from the 2.70 he had at the end of August to the 5.47 ERA he carries now. Mikolas missed the 2020 season after getting forearm surgery and has made six starts so far in 2021. The right-hander had a 4.16 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in his last full season in 2019.

San Diego News & Notes

The Padres snapped out of their offensive slump on Wednesday with a 9-6 win over the San Francisco Giants and followed that up with another strong showing on offense in a 7-4 win over the Giants on Thursday. San Diego had scored only six total runs over its previous five games and had gone 0-5 over that stretch. Fernando Tatis Jr. went 6-for-8 in the two wins over the Giants with three runs, a home run and one RBI.

Blake Snell has been pitching brilliantly for the Padres of late but was forced to leave his last start after just three pitches with a groin injury. The injury bug has hit the Padres’ starting staff hard all season long; what should have been a major strength for this team in 2021 has wound up being a consistent source of frustration.

St. Louis News & Notes

Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado both had multi-hit games with a home run and Jon Lester pitched six quality innings in St. Louis’s 11-4 win over the New York Mets on Wednesday. The Cardinals were widely criticized at the trade deadline for bringing in two struggling veteran starters in Lester and Happ, but both have managed to provide stability to St. Louis’s starting rotation. Lester is 3-1 with a 4.14 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP through his nine starts with the Cardinals and Happ is 4-2 with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in his eight starts with the team.

St. Louis’s recent winning streak along with winning four of its last six games against the Cincinnati Reds has allowed the Cardinals (76-69) to jump the Padres (76-70) and the Reds (76-71) in the National League wild card standings. This head-to-head series against the Padres will be crucial for both teams as only a half-game currently seperates them in the standings.

Staff Betting Pick: OVER 9 runs

Vince Velasquez was having a terrible season before getting released and isn’t likely to rise to this occasion against a hot Cardinals offense. Miles Mikolas has been struggling this month with an 8.31 ERA. All signs point to a high-scoring affair in this series opener.

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Shark Bites
  • SD is 5-0 in its last 5 games vs. STL.
  • St. Louis is 4-1 in its last 5 games at home.
  • The OVER is 5-1 in San Diego’s last 6 games.