(Photo credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
All season, Padres manager Bob Melvin has been looking for a winning streak longer than three games.
"I know we're going to get on a run," Melvin said repeatedly during San Diego's disappointing campaign.
Well, the Padres' extended surge has finally happened. They have won seven in a row goinginto their final three-game home series of the season against the St. Louis Cardinals starting Friday night.
But it came too late. The Padres aren't officially out of the wild-card race, but they are four games back with nine games to play.
The Padres are playing their best baseball of the season despite not having starting pitchers Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish and Manny Machado is restricted to a designated hitter role.
"That's what you'd like to think we have the ability to do," Melvin said Wednesday afternoon after the Padres completed a three-game sweep of the Rockies. "A lot of things we haven't done are showing up in this streak. This is what we should be able to do and what we haven't done all year. Our mentality is pretty good right now. You feel like you're going to win ... and when you're behind you feel like you're going to win."
The Rockies have the worst record in the National League at 56-96. The Cardinals (67-86 ) have the second-worst record in the National League and could post their worst record since 1990, when they went 70-92.
The Cardinals arrive in San Diego having lost three straight to the Brewers in St. Louis -- and five of their last seven games. After three games in San Diego, the Cardinals will play three in Milwaukee before closing the season with three games against Cincinnati in St. Louis.
A year ago, the Padres and Cardinals were in the playoffs.
Right-hander Dakota Hudson (6-2, 5.12 ERA) will start for the Cardinals on Friday night against Padres right-hander Matt Waldron (1-3, 5.16). The Cardinals have said Adam Wainwright, who won his 200th game in his last outing, will not pitch against the Padres.
The 6-foot-5 Hudson, who turned 29 on Sept. 15, was a first-round pick (34th overall) of the Cardinals in the 2016 draft out of Mississippi State. He made his major league debut in 2018 and was 16-7 in 2019, but injuries interrupted Hudson's career. He has split this season between the Cardinals (16 appearances, 10 starts) and Triple-A Memphis (11 starts). He has been a regular in the Cardinals' rotation since Aug. 1. He has given up five or more runs in three of his last five starts and has a 6.75 ERA in four September starts.
Hudson will be facing the Padres for the first time since he held them to one run on four hits over seven innings in a win last June. He is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in two career starts against the Padres.
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol recently said of Hudson's struggles: "There's some positives, but there is work to be done. I think there's always adjustments to 'how do I improve this pitch? ... How do I throw it in a better spot.'"
Waldron, who turns 27 on Sept. 26, picked up his first major league win last Saturday while holding Oakland to two runs on seven hits and a walk with five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. This will be his first career appearance against St. Louis.
--Field Level Media