The St. Louis Cardinals are enjoying life on the road as they continue their pursuit of a playoff spot on Thursday against the host San Diego Padres as they conclude their four-game series. The Cardinals have won four consecutive games and are 7-2 entering the finale of a 10-game road trip that has seen them climb within two games of Colorado for the National League’s second wild-card spot.
St. Louis trails the first-place Chicago Cubs by four games in the National League Central and has consecutive three-game home sets against two below-.500 teams - the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds - on the horizon. Stephen Piscotty smashed a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s 3-1 triumph as the Cardinals defeated San Diego for the third straight night. St. Louis will be without second baseman Kolten Wong (back) for a fourth consecutive contest as it attempts to saddle the Padres with a losing homestand after they began the 11-game stretch with a 5-2 record. Yangervis Solarte homered for the Padres’ lone run on Wednesday but is just 8-for-51 over his last 15 contests.
TV: 9:10 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN San Diego
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Lance Lynn (10-6, 2.99 ERA) vs. Padres LH Clayton Richard (6-13, 4.94)
Lynn is winless in his last five starts despite allowing fewer than three runs in four of the outings. The 30-year-old was superb against San Francisco in his last turn as he gave up one run in eight scoreless innings but settled for a no-decision. Lynn yielded four runs and six hits over six frames in a no-decision against the Padres on Aug. 22 and is 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA in six career starts.
Richard is 1-6 over his last 14 starts, surrendering five or more runs on five occasions during that stretch. The 33-year-old is 3-0 with a 3.53 ERA in six career turns against the Cardinals and gave up four runs and six hits over 5 2/3 innings of a no-decision opposite Lynn last month. Richard is 5-7 with a 4.93 ERA in 14 home starts this season.
1. Cardinals OF Dexter Fowler (hip) returned to the lineup Wednesday after a three-game absence and went 0-for-3.
2. San Diego SS Erick Aybar is 0-for-9 with three strikeouts in the series.
3. St. Louis acquired RHP Juan Nicasio from Philadelphia for INF Eliezer Alvarez.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 5, Padres 2