The St. Louis Cardinals host the San Diego Padres as both these teams are in the hunt for the National League Wildcard spots as the final days of the regular season wrap up.

Padres Clash with Cardinals in Critical Wild Card Battle

Two of the four teams battling for the final Wild Card spot in the National League are playing this weekend in a critical series. The Cardinals won the series opener at home on Friday 8-2, giving them six straight wins and sole possession of the second Wild Card. However, there are three teams within 2.5 games of St. Louis, giving every game huge significance.

According to BetUS, the Cardinals are favored in Saturday night’s game, but only by a small margin. The Cards have a moneyline of -118, while San Diego’s moneyline is listed at +108. There is also an over/under of 7.5 runs.

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Everything is Wild

As mentioned, the Cardinals are currently the placeholders for the second Wild Card spot in the National League on the heels of a six-game winning streak. While other teams have faded in September, St. Louis has won eight of its last nine games. However, the Reds are just one game back, the Padres are 1.5 games back, and the Phillies are 2.5 games back.

The Padres are one of those teams that have faded late in the season. San Diego endured a five-game losing streak earlier this week, going just 5-9 during the month of September. The Padres also play a brutal schedule down the stretch that includes the Giants, Braves, and Dodgers, so there is a lot of pressure on them to win these head-to-head games with the Cardinals.

All About Yu

It’ll be Yu Darvish getting the ball for San Diego on Saturday night, which should give the Padres a little hope. Of course, Darvish hasn’t been himself this year, going 8-10 with a 4.32 ERA over his 27 starts. His second half has been a nightmare, as Darvish is 1-7 with a 7.20 ERA in his nine starts since the all-star break.

Meanwhile, a St. Louis lineup that’s been sluggish for most of the season has found its stride in recent days. The Cardinals have scored at least six runs in five of their last six games, averaging close to seven runs per game during that stretch. Bonafide stars like Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt have gotten hot over the last week, while Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader, and others are also contributing.

This Old Man

Just a few weeks removed from his 40th birthday, Adam Wainwright is scheduled to start for St. Louis on Saturday. Wainwright has been an ageless wonder in 2021, going 16-7 with a 2.88 ERA over 29 starts. Not only has he been consistent, but he’s pitching his best down the stretch, posting a 1.43 ERA in August and a 2.18 ERA in September, going 8-1 in nine starts.

At the same time, the Padres are struggling to find any consistency on offense. They have been shut out three times in their last ten games and been held to two runs or less in six of those ten games. Outside of Fernando Tatis and Adam Frazier, it’s hard to find anybody in San Diego’s lineup who is meeting or exceeding expectations in September.

Bird Call

While the betting odds are close, this game is the Cardinals’ to lose. Wainwright has been an absolute force lately while the St. Louis lineup is in a groove. Considering the struggles of Darvish and the San Diego lineup lately, bet on the Cardinals to win on Saturday. 

Meanwhile, the over/under is a little more difficult to call. But at 7.5 runs, there isn’t a lot of margin for error if the Cards stay hot and do damage against Darvish early in the game. The better option is taking the over on 7.5 runs in this game.

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