The St. Louis Cardinals are using a mix of youngsters and veterans to stay alive in the National League wild-card race, and lately the recipe has been working to perfection. The Cardinals sit three games behind Colorado for the second wild-card spot as they begin a four-game series Monday against the host San Diego Padres, who are riding high after taking three of four from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Paul DeJong and Harrison Bader homered in Sunday’s 7-3 win over San Francisco and fellow rookie Luke Weaver struck out nine over seven innings as the Cardinals won for the fourth time in six games. Tommy Pham returned to the lineup after missing two games with a thumb injury, but veterans Matt Carpenter (rest) and Dexter Fowler (hip) were held out of the starting lineup and are listed as day-to-day. The Cardinals are facing a rebuilding Padres team that took a step forward over the weekend by winning three straight against the NL West-leading Dodgers for the first time since June 2013. Erick Aybar has returned from the disabled list Friday after missing 37 games with a foot injury and gone 4-for-8 with a home run and two RBIs over the last two games.
TV: 4:40 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN San Diego
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Carlos Martinez (10-10, 3.52 ERA) vs. Padres RH Luis Perdomo (7-8, 4.69)
Martinez looks to bounce back from a shaky outing on Wednesday, when he allowed six runs - three earned - over 5 2/3 innings in a 6-5 loss at Milwaukee. The 25-year-old ranks among the NL leaders in ERA (3.52), strikeouts (182), innings pitched (174) and quality starts (18). Yangervis Solarte is 3-for-14 with a home run against Martinez, who is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in seven career games (four starts) against San Diego - including seven strong frames in a no-decision on Aug. 24.
Perdomo won for the first time in four starts Tuesday against San Francisco, allowing two runs - one earned - over six innings. The 24-year-old Dominican has worked at least six frames in each of his last eight turns, and his 14 quality starts lead the team. Perdomo made his only previous start against St. Louis on Aug. 24, settling for a no-decision after giving up two runs over six innings in the Padres’ 4-3 victory.
1. The Padres won two of three in St. Louis last month, snapping a six-game losing streak in the all-time series.
2. The Cardinals are 6-50 when trailing after seven innings.
3. San Diego OF Manuel Margot is 3-for-22 over his last seven games.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 5, Padres 3