St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres
First pitch: 7:08 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Jack Flaherty (4-3, 4.91 ERA) vs. TBD
St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres Predictions
It seems Jack Flaherty is somehow flying under the radar. And that shouldn’t be.
Even with an unannounced-pitcher situation on the opposite side, the total for this elimination affair is a little inflated given his body of work. Oh and the fact that this game is emanating from Petco Park, which rarely features over/unders as high as 9.5, makes it all the more baffling.
Have the linesmakers forgotten that Flaherty is a legitimate No. 1 starter? The case could be made for ace status as well. After all, let’s not forget the special second half he enjoyed just one year ago.
If Cy Youngs were given out separately based on post-All Star break performance, Flaherty likely would’ve had last season’s award locked up. In 15 starts, he went 7-2 with a 0.91 ERA (!), 0.71 WHIP and 124-23 K/BB ratio across 99.1 innings. The Cardinal righty also limited hitters to a harmless .142 average.
Sure, Flaherty’s final numbers for the season don’t have the look of ace quality, but they were severely skewed by one really poor start in which he was on the hook for a career-worst nine runs. In all other eight assignments, he yielded no more than three in each — and that’s the steady Flaherty we can anticipate seeing.
He’ll definitely prefer the game conditions, too. The 24-year-old has simply thrived more with the sun out and figures to benefit from the late-afternoon start time of this one. In fact, his career ERA during the day (2.48) is almost a full run-and-a-half lower than when going at night (3.85).
While Flaherty can contribute his usual consistent outing, there’s still a huge question mark to uncover as far as San Diego’s strategy goes. Will they roll out an opener? Maybe go with an actual starter?
By all accounts, this is going to unravel as a bullpen game, and while that might induce a groan from some, it’s a wise call.
The Padres boast one of the better bullpens around, oozing both electric young talent and established battle-tested vets. With this being a do-or-die situation, all top arms can be expected.
This is also a strategy San Diego used to deploy once in awhile to notable success — with Matt Strahm typically serving as the opener. He’s my preferred choice here.
Overall, it’s a talented group to trust in handling the full duration of the contest, especially when involving such an inflated total. Trust ‘em and Flaherty does the rest.
Bet: UNDER 9.5 (-120)
2020 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*:
Regular season: “19-42-4,” -28.91 units
Postseason: 3-0, +2 units
Yesterday’s Result: Brewers-Dodgers Under 7.5 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit (postseason 0.5 unit except first one)