The injury bug is hitting the St. Louis Cardinals at the worst possible time, but several key reserves are keeping their playoff hopes very much alive. St. Louis sits three games behind Colorado for the second National League wild-card spot heading into Wednesday’s matchup against the host San Diego Padres, who have opened the four-game series with back-to-back losses.
Jose Martinez hit two home runs and Harrison Bader recorded three RBIs in Tuesday’s 8-4 victory as St. Louis climbed within four games of the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. The Cardinals are thriving despite a spate of injuries to key starters such as Dexter Fowler (hip), Kolten Wong (back), Tommy Pham (shoulder) and Matt Shoemaker, who is battling a strained right shoulder but hopes to return this weekend. The rebuilding Padres received a boost Tuesday from reliever Carter Capps, who struck out three over two innings in his longest appearance since returning from Tommy John surgery last month. Manager Andy Green also was encouraged by the performance of Rule 5 rookie Miguel Diaz, who tossed four scoreless frames on Tuesday in relief of starter Travis Wood.
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN San Diego
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Jack Flaherty (0-0, 11.25 ERA) vs. Padres RH Dinelson Lamet (7-6, 4.40)
Flaherty is set to make his second major-league start after allowing five runs and eight hits over four innings in Friday’s 11-6 loss to San Francisco. The 21-year-old is a native of Southern California who was born in Burbank and graduated from Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles. Flaherty earned the promotion to the majors after posting a 2.18 ERA in 25 starts covering 148 2/3 innings between Double- and Triple-A this season.
Lamet was a hard-luck loser after allowing one run in six innings and striking out 10 against the Los Angeles Dodgers and ace Clayton Kershaw on Friday. “I think for the long term, it’s exciting,” Green told reporters. “You lose a game short term, but to see somebody square off against Clayton Kershaw, and for the most part match him, you can’t ask for anything more from him.” The 25-year-old rookie has posted a 2.49 ERA over eight starts since July 23.
1. Martinez is 11-for-20 with three homers and six RBIs during his seven-game hitting streak.
2. Green said the Padres are moving to a six-man rotation, with RHP Jordan Lyles getting the start for Friday’s series opener in Arizona.
3. St. Louis recalled INF Breyvic Valera from Triple-A Memphis.
PREDICTION: Padres 6, Cardinals 4