Series Preview: Cardinals Fly Into Petco for a Four-Game Series

Credit: AP Photo

Petco Park, San Diego, CA
5/10 through 5/13

The first place St. Louis Cardinals make their way to Petco Park for their first meeting against the San Diego Padres this season.

Even though the Cardinals hold a 0.5 game lead in their division, they have not played fully to their potential, and a part of that may be due to the injury bug with the likes of Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, and Brett Cecil all on the disabled list.

The Padres have not played well at home, and are  7-15,  with two of those loses coming in Monterrey, Mexico, which was classified as a home game. They will look to right the ship over the Cardinals, who they have been historically bad against (194-283).

Game 1 (7:10 PT): Miles Mikolas (4-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. Jordan Lyles (0-0, 3.66 ERA)

If the name Miles Mikolas looks familiar, it should. Mikolas was in the Padres’ organization for five years as a reliever. The right-handed pitcher was drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 draft and made his MLB debut for the Padres on May 5, 2012. After spending the last three seasons in Japan, Mikolas makes his Petco return, facing his old ball club for the first time in his career.

Jordan Lyles will make his first start of the season, taking over for Bryan Mitchell. Lyles has had somewhat of a resurgence in the bullpen, so it will be interesting to see how it translates after a rough 2017.

Game 2 (7:10 PT): Luke Weaver (2-2, 5.60 ERA) vs. Eric Lauer (1-1, 5.79 ERA)

Luke Weaver will make his first appearance against the Padres since he pitched a seven-inning gem last August 23, striking out ten, allowing three hits and no runs against them. So far, the young, right-handed pitcher has not had the desired results, not making it out of the sixth inning in his last four starts.

Eric Lauer will make his Petco Park debut five days after collecting his first Major League win against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The top prospect went six innings, allowing no runs while scattering seven hits and striking out five.

Game 3 (5:40 PT): Michael Wacha (4-1, 3.35 ERA) vs. Tyson Ross (2-3, 3.67 ERA)

Michael Wacha has never lost at Petco (3-0) in his career. The right-hander will take the hill in game three looking to continue the streak. In the early part of the season, Wacha has looked much better, dropping his ERA from 4.13 a year ago to 3.35.

Tyson Ross has been a breath of fresh air for the Padres’ rotation. Only once has he not pitched at least six innings in his seven starts this season, throwing over 100 pitches all but two times. The veteran will look to get back into the win column against a team he has faced three times in his career.

Game 4 (1:10 PT): TBD (0-0, -.– ERA) vs. Clayton Richard (1-5, 5.72 ERA)

The Cardinals have yet to announce the starter for the series finale, but two possible candidates may be Carlos Martinez, who is on his normal rest after a Wednesday off-day, or John Gant ,who started on Monday against the Minnesota Twins.

Credit: AP Photo

Clayton Richard is coming off a tough luck loss against the Washington Nationals, where the left-handed veteran went eight innings, allowing three runs while striking out eight. He has had an up-and-down year, but continues to eat innings for the Padres.

Hitters to Watch:

Jedd Gyorko (STL): The former Padres second-round pick returns to Petco Park where he has hit .400 against current Padres pitchers. He will look to continue a hot start to the season after spending time on the DL to start the season.

Matt Carpenter (STL): Carpenter has faced the current stable of Padres pitchers more than any other available Cardinal not named Dexter Fowler. His OBP against the Padres (.458) makes him tough to deal with whether facing a righty or a lefty.

Jose Martinez (STL): Martinez spent the majority of his career in the minor leagues, 887 games in ten seasons. Never given much of an opportunity due to the players ahead of him, Martinez has made the most of this year once he has been given regular at-bats. He has a .821 OPS this season.

Travis Jankowski (SD): With the Padres facing mostly righties this week, we should see a heavy dose of Jankowski. The left-handed hitter has been a spark plug at the top of the order of a team in much need of some offense.

Franchy Cordero (SD): The young, left-handed outfielder has shown improved plate discipline in his past seven games with a .462 OBP. If the trend can continue, it would be a nice addition to his speed and power combination.

Freddy Galvis (SD): Galvis is one of the Padres hitters in a funk after a hot start to the season. His plate discipline has been lacking and he only has three hits in his last 21 at-bats, but Galvis in his career has always been a streaky hitter. He will look to start a hot streak against the Cardinals this weekend.

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