MLB: Padres, Cardinals meet in potential postseason preview
San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin isn’t focused on the number 10.
That’s the magic number for the Padres, and any combination of 10 San Diego wins and/or Milwaukee Brewers losses will clinch a wild-card playoff berth for the Padres.
But the bigger thing to Melvin is the way the Padres are playing — especially against the team they are playing.
Coming off a 5-0 win Tuesday, the Padres (82-66) will seek another win in the second game of a three-game series in San Diego against the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday night — a team the Padres might be facing in the first round of the postseason.
And Melvin and Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol seem to share respect for each other’s team.
Melvin on the Cardinals: “It’s a team that plays really good baseball. They are fundamentally sound. They run, they play good defense. They have pitching across the board. It’s a very well-rounded team and you have to play well to beat them. And those two guys in the middle of the order, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, definitely get your attention. Two of them in a row make it difficult to pitch around.”
Marmol on the Padres: “They are playing very well. Any team that gets hot at this time of a season is dangerous.”
In fact, the Padres go into Wednesday’s contest on a four-game winning streak with two of the wins coming by shutout. In fact, Wednesday’s starter Blake Snell (7-9, 3.85 ERA) is the last Padres’ starter to allow a run. Padres’ starters have worked 20 2/3 straight scoreless innings.
The left-handed Snell will be paired against Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas (11-12, 3.46).
There is, of course, the game within the game. Albert Pujols was 2-for-3 with a walk Tuesday night, but remains stuck on 698 homers. With a left-hander starting, Pujols likely will be back in the Cardinals (87-62) lineup Wednesday. But he is only 1-for-10 lifetime against Snell with no homers, three RBIs and two walks.
While the Cardinals are still 8 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers in the National League Central, the Padres are in a closer race — San Diego is ahead by four — with the Brewers in the National League wild card race.
But equally important to the four straight wins is the way the Padres are playing.
“Good pitching, good defense, clutch hitting leads to wins and we’ve done that for four straight games,” Melvin said. “Something we’ve been doing better in this stretch is scoring early and not letting the other team score.”
During their four-game winning streak, the Padres have outscored the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cardinals by a 25-4 count.
Mikolas did not face the Padres when the teams met earlier in St. Louis over the Memorial Day weekend. Snell started the second game against Adam Wainwright and gave up two runs on two hits and three walks with six strikeouts in six innings. Snell did not figure in the decision as the Cardinals swept the series.
Originally drafted by San Diego in the seventh round in 2009, Mikolas — who made his first 27 major league appearances as a Padres reliever — is 2-1 lifetime in four appearances against the Padres with a 2.59 ERA.
Snell has made two career appearances against the Padres. He is 0-0 with a 2.77 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 13 innings.
–Field Level Media