MLB Playoff Odds, Picks & Predictions: St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres Game 3 Preview (Friday, Oct. 2)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images. Pictured: Luis Patino
- The St. Louis Cardinals take on the San Diego Padres in Game 3 of their MLB Wild Card series Friday.
- Brad Cunningham expects the Padres, who will lean on their bullpen and their No. 2 prospect in a must-win game, have value in this matchup.
- Check out Cunningham's full preview with updated odds below.
Cardinals vs. Padres Game 3 Odds
|Cardinals Odds||+120 [Bet Now]|
|Padres Odds||-134 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||9 (-110/-110) [Bet Now]|
|First Pitch||7:08 p.m. ET|
The San Diego Padres plated 11 runs on 15 hits to extend their best-of-3 series with the Cardinals to a win-or-go-home Game 3 on Friday.
The Cardinals saved their ace, Jack Flaherty, for the series finale while the Padres will counter with their No. 2 prospect, Luis Patino, but will likely lean on their bullpen for most of the game.
The odds suggest Game 3 is a toss up.
Advanced Stats Glossary
FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.
wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.
wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.
BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.
St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis’ offense has been right around average all season, with a .306 wOBA and 93 wRC+ over 60 games.
The outburst in the first two games of this series is a tad surprising because Paul Goldschmidt is the only Cardinal that had a wOBA above .350 this season. The rest of the Cardinals bats didn’t live up to expectations this year, but they sure have turned things on in the playoffs.
We’ll see if they can stay hot against Patino and the Padres bullpen.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres have one of the best offenses in baseball.
The Padres finished with the fourth-best wOBA (.341) and fifth-best wRC+ (115) in the MLB in 2020. Against righties, the Padres rank fifth with a .347 wOBA.
Flaherty is a legitimate ace, but he’ll have a difficult matchup against an offense that is led by Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Wil Myers.
Jack Flaherty vs. Luis Patino
Jack Flaherty, RHP
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Jack Flaherty has been a little unlucky in 2020. He’s put up a 4.91 ERA, but his xFIP almost a run and a half lower at 3.51. However, his control has taken a slight step back from 2019 as he posted the worst walk-rate and home-run rate of his career.
Flaherty has a four-pitch arsenal and each of his offerings rates out really well. His slider and curveball are especially lethal: Each garnered a whiff rate above 35% this season. As you can see in the clip below, Flaherty’s off-speed pitches are almost untouchable.
The Padres offense ranks inside the top-10 against all four pitches Flaherty throws, so this will be a strength vs. strength matchup.
Luis Patino, RHP
Luis Patino is the Padres No. 2 prospect. He brings a mid-90’s fastball that can touch 99 MPH, and even though he’s worked a lot out of the bullpen, he has shown the ability to maintain that velocity deep into his starts.
Patino also has a plus-slider that sits in the 80’s and is a true put-away pitch. As you can see its pretty nasty.
I’d imagine the Padres are going to treat this as a bullpen game and pull Patino at the first sign of trouble.
St. Louis’ bullpen has been a bit lucky this season. The Cardinals relief core carried a 4.00 ERA into the postseason but their xFIP was closer to 4.66, which ranks 23rd in the MLB.
St. Louis’ allowed nine runs and four home runs in Game 2 and has been stretched the past two games, so you can expect Flaherty to be given every chance to go deep into Game 3.
San Diego counters with a bullpen that ranked fifth in xFIP this season. The Padres strengthened their pen at the trade deadline and those acquisitions have worked wonders, as the Padres posted the third-best ERA and the best xFIP in MLB over the second half of the season.
That said, San Diego used six relievers in both Game 1 and 2, so fatigue could be a factor.
It’s going to be beautiful night in Southern California on Friday, so the weather shouldn’t be a factor.
Projections and Pick
Even though the Padres are essentially going with a bullpen game, their offense is significantly better than the Cardinals. Jack Flaherty is a great pitcher, but the Padres offense matches up really well against him, so I think he’s going to struggle in Game 3.
I would back San Diego at -110 or better in Game 3.
The Bet: Padres -110 or better