Just like with the Cardinals at third base, I am using two batters here which I do believe will be on a platoon: Mitch Moreland and Tommy Pham. Pham could also take some time away from Profar in left, depending on the matchup. This season he did deal with a fractured bone in his hand for almost a month half of the season. When Pham has been playing, he is slashing .211/.312/.312 with a 78 wRC+. Those numbers do not show the full story. He has a .253 BABIP, meaning he has gotten very unlucky when he puts the ball in the play. He also has an expected batting average and slugging percent of .266 and .457. So, the numbers are expected to rise for Pham.
Moreland has been on a great year with a total 135 wRC+, but he took a massive dip when he was traded to the Padres. He had a 1.177 OPS on the Red Sox and .609 once he was on the Padres. He has started to turn the corner and hit for a .846 OPS in the last week of the season.
Brad Miller will be the designated hitter for the Cardinals in the postseason. His 121 wRC+ is the second-highest of his career. He is slashing .232/.357/.451, but just like Tommy Pham, the expected numbers increase to .242 xBA and .483 xSLG. He does provide a bit of defensive versatility if necessary. In this season, he accumulated a 0.8 fWAR.
Brad Miller has been producing this year and should be producing much like Tommy Pham. Miller and Moreland are tied with a 0.8 fWAR on the season, but Moreland has overall struggled on the Padres. If you look at the recent numbers, Miller is slashing .188/.235/.313. In that time, Moreland has the .846 OPS as mentioned, and Pham has a .673 OPS. It is Miller’s results vs. the variables hanging over Moreland and Pham.
This is a three-game series, so we will compare the pitchers as a grouping instead of an individual. As of the last reports seen, it appears Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger will be available to pitch in this series so that they will be included.
Dinelson Lamet is the ace of the Padres staff this year. He will likely be getting some CY Young votes for his breakout performance this year. He has a 2.09 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 12.13 K/9, and 2.4 fWAR. He uses his slider over 50% of the time, and it has devastated batters. They are hitting just .080 against it and whiff 47.4% of the time they swing at it.
Mike Clevinger was the biggest trade deadline acquisition by any team this year. Unlike Lamet, he has a five-pitch mix, with the fastball and slider being the anchors of that mix. In 2020 he has a 3.02 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and a 0.7 fWAR. All of his pitches can put away batters, which should spell trouble for batters.
Chris Paddack has been confirmed to be the game one starter for the Padres. After a great rookie year and being the opening day starter, he has struggled this season. His HR/9 is up to 2.14 this year. He carries a 4.73 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and an fWAR of 0.3. He does have a solid changeup and the Cardinals have only batted .167 and slugged .239 against changeups this year.
Kwang Hyun Kim doesn’t throw the ball that hard with a fastball that barely touches 90 mph. He has earned his 1.62 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and a 0.6 fWAR by avoiding big hits. He has a 0.69 HR/9 and ranks in the 84 percentiles in limiting barrels.
Adam Wainwright, just like Molina, has been in baseball longer than the Padres’ playoff drought. This year he has had a late-career resurgence with a 3.15 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and an fWAR of 1.0. He, like Kim, doesn’t throw the ball all that hard. For Wainwright, it’s a dominant curve that ranks in the 81 percentiles in terms of curve spin-rate.
Last but not least, for the Cardinals, there is Jack Flaherty. Many fans took notice of him last season when he had one of the most dominant second halves in recent memory. This year is a bit different. He has a 4.91 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and a 1.34 HR/9. That totals to give him a 0.6 fWAR on the season. He uses a four-seam/slider combo that runs at about 94 and 84 mph. The key for Padre hitters would be to attack his four-seam fastball, which easily has the highest expected slugging % of any of his pitches.
The advantage goes to the Padres with the main assumption that Lamet and Clevinger are pitching. Without those two front of the rotation arms, this is a very different story and will be the first thing fans look at when the roster comes out. The Cardinals are throwing two straight slower pitchers, and if the Padres can quickly adjust in game one, then they have a clear advantage seeing similar stuff in game two.
The Padres bullpen has been a roller coaster this season. Coming into the season, they were supposed to be one of the best in baseball. Instead, they turned into one of the worst — until the second half of the season when they have been dominating. They have a 4.38 ERA, 26.2 K%, and an fWAR of 2.0. Drew Pomeranz and Trevor Rosenthal serve as the eighth and ninth inning guys. In total, the pair has given up only three runs when they have been in a Padres uniform this year.
The Cardinals have had a bit more consistent with their bullpen. They have put up 4.00 ERA, 25.1 K%, and an fWAR of 0.8. Unlike the Padres, they don’t have one or two pitchers that have carried the bullpen. Tyler Webb has the most innings pitched in the bullpen and holds a 2.08 ERA. He does strikeout batters a lot less with 21.8 K%.
In the last 30 days, Padre pitching has a league-leading 2.97 ERA and 1.10 WHIP compared to the Cardinals 4.16 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. The Padres will likely be pushing Pomeranz and Rosenthal to help carry the squad especially if Lamet and Clevinger won’t be pitching. The recent performances of the two pitching staffs give the Padres the upper hand.
Overall Advantage: Padres
Across the board, they are a better team. They have the best lineup in franchise history and a group of solid pitchers. If the Padres keep their momentum from their last series against the Giants, they are one of the scariest teams in baseball to face.