The Cardinals and Padres begin their best-of-three National League Wild Card series in San Diego on Wednesday afternoon. Here’s a complete preview, including updated odds and our betting pick.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 – 05:08 PM EDT at Petco Park
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Time to bring in the quants. Comparing the following projections to the MLB odds will help us make the right choice:
FiveThirtyEight: Padres 54 percent
Equivalent Odds (using SBR's Odds Converter): -117
The Padres opened as -155 favorites, but over at FiveThirtyEight, they already have them at -117 based on our calculations. There’s a gap between the projections and the actual MLB odds.
A difference like this is usually enough for us to not recommend opening up your wallet and/or purse and splashing some money around on the favorite. So what will it be, Human or Machine?
Kwang-Hyun Kim vs. Chris Paddack
Kwang-Hyun Kim (3-0, 1.62 ERA, 1.03 WHIP)
Rookie phenom Kwang-Hyun Kim struggled against the Pirates on September 19th, giving up four earned runs on six hits (two home runs) with four strikeouts and one walk over 5 1/3 innings but he bounced back with a solid start against the Brewers on Thursday. Kim allowed just one earned run on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks over five innings in a 4-2 win.
The left-hander from South Korea is 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in his last four starts, recording 17 strikeouts over 22 1/3 innings. Kim has never faced the Padres in his career. He went 1-0 with a 2.14 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in four road starts this season.
Chris Paddack (4-5, 4.73 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)
Chris Paddack hasn't been consistent and he is coming off one of his worst starts this year. Paddack allowed five earned runs on eight hits (three home runs) with three strikeouts and one walk over just 3 2/3 innings in a 5-4 loss against the Giants last Friday.
The 24-year-old is 1-2 with a 5.51 ERA and a 2.05 WHIP in his last four starts, surrendering four home runs over 16 1/3 innings. This will be Paddack's first start against the Cardinals this season. He is 1-0 with an 0.93 ERA and an 0.83 WHIP in two career starts against them. The current Cardinals roster is just 2-for-25 (.058) against Paddack with one home run and two RBIs.
The player to watch for the Padres is Fernando Tatis Jr. (149 Weighted Runs Created Plus). The star shortstop is hitting over .272 with nine home runs and 17 RBIs at Petco Park and he was 9-for-24 (.375) with two doubles, three home runs and five RBIs against the Cardinals last season.
A Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) of 100 is league average. Tatis' 149 would be 49 percent above league average. This means that Tatis created 49 percent more runs than a league average hitter would have in the same number of plate appearances.
I like the Under for my MLB picks. The projected Padres lineup has four batters with a strikeout rate above 21 percent. The Cardinals, on the other hand, could have six batters with a strikeout rate above 21 percent, two batters with a Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) above .340 and three batters with Isolated Power (ISO) above .185.