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How to win $1,000 on Cardinals vs. Padres for free

May 15

By Kevin Cooney
Special to FOX Sports

When all is right with their lineups, there are few better offensive matchups than the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals.

Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Eric Hosmer on one side, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado on the other. Throw a little pitching in there and change the leaves to autumnal colors and it has the recipe for a classic playoff series. You know, like last year’s three-game wild-card thriller that saw San Diego move past St. Louis and on to the divisional round.

May, however, can be a little different. While St. Louis has won seven of 10 to overtake Milwaukee and move atop the NL Central, the Padres sit in second behind the surprising San Francisco Giants and are currently undergoing a rash of COVID-19 issues that saw Tatis and Wil Myers reportedly test positive, and three other players sit out as part of protocols.

That being said, Saturday night’s FS1 Game of the Week (8:30 p.m. ET) should be a fascinating one to watch. Adam Wainwright, who continues to defy Father Time for the Cardinals, will get the start against Padres right-hander Chris Paddack.

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In that spirit, here are six things you should know about the Cardinals and Padres heading into Saturday.

1. Slam Diego

The Padres hit seven grand slams in 2020’s abbreviated 60-game season and earned their distinctive nickname as a unit by connecting for slams in four straight games. This year the Padres have struggled in bases-loaded situations with one homer, 12 RBIs and a .184 batting average.

2. Power in the pen

The Cardinals didn’t appear to have a strong bullpen coming into the season, but they have been outstanding in the early going. From the seventh inning to the ninth, St. Louis is holding teams to a 1.93 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and .596 OPS.

3. Shaking Manny free

Machado has slumped in recent weeks – entering Friday he’s hitting just .218 with two homers, and is hitting just .189 in May. But there are very few players you'd rather have up in a clutch spot, even this year. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Machado is hitting .375 with a 1.740 OPS. In late and close situations (seventh inning or later with team tied, ahead by one or tying run at the plate), Machado is hitting .278 with a .980 OPS.

4. Down On The Corner…

No team may have a better power pair of corner infielders than St. Louis with Goldschmidt and Arenado. Both are starting to really get things cranking with six homers entering the weekend. Goldschmidt will need to bump that .247 average up for the Cardinals lineup to truly thrive.

5. Hell’s Bells Redux

One thing that the Padres have been pretty good at so far is protecting leads. San Diego’s relievers are 14-9 with a 2.64 ERA and 14 saves entering the weekend. Mark Melancon has been great as the closer, saving 12 games with an 0.54 ERA. Craig Stammen (2-1, 1.99 ERA, 1 save) has also been a huge factor.

6. Adam Raised A Cain

The most impressive part of Wainwright is the fact that he threw a complete game at age 39 and continues to defy time. Wainwright’s overall numbers are still really good – his WHIP is 1.22 through seven starts – and provides a very nice second option behind Jack Flaherty.

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