Cardinals vs. Padres, 4:10 ET
The Padres need this series much more than the Cardinals do. If the season ended today, which of course it doesn’t, they would be in the playoffs as the Wild Card #2. They have a very small lead over the Phillies, just 1.5 games. If they were to fall to third, they’d have to deal with the Brewers – but the good news for them is they have the tiebreaker so they technically have an extra game lead than what you’d see in the standings.
For the Padres, they are sending Joe Musgrove out there to try and secure another win – this would be the Padres sixth straight game as they are playing some of their best baseball of the season. Musgrove has had a really nice season, but it certainly has taken a bit of a downhill turn since around the All-Star break. It hasn’t been all bad, but since that break, he has had 11 starts, he’s only had a quality start in six of those. He had 14 quality starts before the break. After a couple of tough starts to the September month, he turned it on a bit in his most recent outing against the Diamondbacks. He went a solid six innings with eight strikeouts and only four hits allowed. His splits really aren’t that drastic on the year, but he is very slightly worse at home than he is on the road. The Cardinals do tend to hit him pretty well, batting close to .300 against him as a team – a number that gets better when you remove the pitchers that no longer hit.
Jack Flaherty has struggled quite a bit in his return to the rotation. In three starts he has gone 15 innings and allowed eight earned runs. Those runs have increased each game. Oddly enough, the Cardinals lost the first game he started when he allowed one earned. Then they won the two games where he allowed three and four earned runs. This is the first playoff team that Flaherty will face all year – with the exception of the Brewers (who are not currently a playoff team). I don’t have much faith in Flaherty right now, but he does have good enough stuff that any game could be a tough one for opponents.
The price on the Padres is a bit too high in this game at -155. I’m not saying they should be underdogs or something; they should be the favorite in this game. I just think there is some value in the Cardinals in the game. Musgrove hasn’t been as dominant and the Cardinals have hit him well. Flaherty could come out and give up a ton of runs – wouldn’t shock me at all, but I’m taking the Cardinals here feels like we are getting a good price at +135.
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