There is only one first-round playoff series remaining, and it will be decided tonight when the Padres and Cardinals complete their matchup in Game 3. The Padres entered with the far better record (37-23 against 30-28), but injuries to top starters Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger – who have been unavailable – have impacted the series.
With Lamet and Clevinger on the shelf, San Diego turned to Chris Paddack and Zach Davies in the first two games, but the pair struggled. The team’s now so short on options that it will tap reliever Craig Stammen as the opener in a bullpen game Friday. The Cardinals, meanwhile, will have Jack Flaherty on the hill. Flaherty went through a very disappointing regular season, though he’s only a year removed from serving as one of the league’s most valuable starters.
On the offensive side, the Fernando Tatis Jr.-led Padres finished the season with one of the game’s most potent attacks, ranking third in runs and fifth in wRC+. The Cardinals weren’t nearly as good (28th in runs, 19th in wRC+), but the Paul Goldschmidt-helmed outfit has outscored the Padres 16-15 in the series.
The game’s about to get underway. Which team do you expect to advance? (Poll link for app users)