Saturday is the middle game of a three-game weekend set from Petco Park in San Diego as the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Padres. This is an important series for both teams, as coming into the weekend both teams were hovering right around .500. After a win in the opener on Friday, San Diego is 41-40 with the Cardinals being 40-40. Both are fighting and clawing in the Wild Card picture as the Padres are now 1.5 games back and the Cardinals are two games out. St Louis has been treading water in June, going 12-12 so far. Meanwhile, San Diego has had a rough month, going 11-13 with a five-game losing streak in the middle of the month.
For the Cardinals, Dakota Hudson will take the hill for his 16th start in 2019. Currently, he has a 6-3 record with a 3.36 ERA. Hudson has been one of the good stories for a Cardinals team that has been wildly mediocre this season. Coming off a good rookie season in 2018 that saw him appear in 26 games out of the bullpen and hold a 2.63 ERA, Hudson got a chance to start with the injury to Carlos Martinez, and he has run with it. Early in the season, he had a problem with getting deep into games, as he didn’t pitch five innings in a start until his fifth go-round in the rotation.
However, he has been absolutely dazzling in the last month and a half. Hudson hasn’t taken a loss since May 7, and even then he went five innings and only gave up two earned runs. That day his defense let him down as he gave up six unearned runs in an 11-1 loss. In his last seven starts, however, Hudson has been lights out. He has gone at least six innings in every start and is holding a 2.22 ERA in that span while going 4-0.
For the Padres, prized rookie and stud pitcher Chris Paddack will make his second start since being called back up on June 22. So far in his rookie season, Paddack is 4-4 with a 3.18 ERA.
He has been absolutely terrific so far this year, so much so that the Padres had to send him down to Triple-A to limit his innings, as they want to be able to use him in the home stretch of the playoff push. After missing all of the 2017 season, Paddack pitched 90 innings in 2018 in High-A and Double-A ball.
He is already at 70 innings in 2019, so he’s going to have to be carefully monitored this season. He’s likely to pitch somewhere in the 130- to 150-inning range. In his return from Triple-A, he went five innings and gave up two runs. He only recorded one strikeout though, which is a bit concerning considering his K/9 this season is over 9.
Paddack is money at home with a 2.50 ERA, and Hudson isn’t as good on the road. In games like this where there isn’t a clear advantage in the starting pitching matchup, taking the home team with the better splits is the safe play. Take the Padres.
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