SAN DIEGO — The St. Louis Cardinals are at Petco Park this weekend hoping to rain on the Padres celebration.
This is the 20th anniversary of the Padres’ 1998 National League championship season. And they selected the Cardinals as their opponent for the four-day celebration of the event, which features four straight bobblehead nights.
Well, the Cardinals spoiled the first night of the party by defeating San Diego 2-1 behind the pitching of former Padre Miles Mikolas and Tommy Pham‘s decisive home run. Bud Norris, another former Padre, got the save.
Now it’s on to game two of the series with right-hander Luke Weaver (2-2, 5.60 ERA) taking the mound for the Cardinals in opposition to Padres rookie left-hander Eric Lauer (1-1, 5.79).
And another former Padre could be part of the Cardinals’ plans to spoil the celebration.
Infielder Jedd Gyorko, who spent the first three seasons of his major league career (2013-2015) as a Padre, didn’t start for the Cardinals on Thursday night. And some Padres fans found that odd since Gyorko has a .500 batting average against his original team with seven homers and 16 RBIs.
With the lefty Lauer pitching, Gyorko likely will be in the Cardinals lineup Friday night.
Since his only three major league starts have come this season, Lauer will be facing the Cardinals for the first time. His most recent outing against the Dodgers on Sunday in Monterrey, Mexico, was the 22-year-old’s best.
He blanked the Dodgers on seven hits and a walk with five strikeouts in six innings in what would become the Padres’ first — and only — shutout win of the season.
Going into that game, Lauer had a 10.13 ERA through his first two major league starts, allowing 10 runs (nine earned) and six walks in eight innings. But the weather at Coors Field in Denver was a major contributor in Lauer’s major league debut (seven runs in three innings), and he settled down nicely after a rough first inning against the Giants in San Francisco.
Going into his fourth start, Lauer is working on a string of 10 straight scoreless innings.
Weaver, the Cardinals’ first-round pick in the 2014 draft (27th overall), will be making his eighth start of the season for the Cardinals. He has given up 22 runs on 35 hits and 15 walks against 32 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings. Weaver has allowed at least four runs in each of his last four starts.
Weaver has faced the Padres once before.
Last Aug. 23, Weaver worked seven shutout innings against the Padres, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out 10 over seven innings to get the win. It was his first scoreless start in the majors.
It was also only the sixth scoreless start of seven innings or more with 10 strikeouts in history by a Cardinals rookie pitcher — and the first since Shelby Miller did it on May 10, 2013, against the Rockies.
Pham is hitting a team-high .330 and has three of his six home runs in the last six games.