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First Pitch: Cardinals turn right to jumpstart offense against San Diego lefty Blake Snell

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Cardinals take series over Brewers 6-3

St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols is greeted by teammates Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O'Neill after hitting a three-run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022 at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals won the game 6-3. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

In today’s 10 a.m. video, columnist Ben Hochman discusses the Cardinals’ legendary duo of Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright on the day of their record-breaking 325th start together. And, as always, Hochman picks a random St. Louis Cards card from the hat. Ten Hochman is presented by Window Nation!

First Pitch is scheduled for 8:40 p.m. at San Diego's Petco Park.

SAN DIEGO — Shutout in consecutive games, held without an earned run in the past 34 innings, and looking for their first RBI since Saturday afternoon, the Cardinals do have something to cling to offensively on Wednesday.

They're facing a lefty.

If there has ever been a safe harbor in the storm for the Cardinals and their lineup it's how it does, from top to Albert Pujols, against left-handed pitching. The Cardinals, as a team, lead the majors in on-base percentage against lefties (.348) and slugging (.471) and OPS (.818). They have the highest wRC+ (weighted Runs Created) against lefties, and it's not close. Their 132 wRC+ is the highest in the National League, and second in the league is the Los Angeles Dodgers at 118 wRC+.

The Cardinals also boast the two top hitters in the majors when it comes to slugging percentage against lefties.

Paul Goldschmidt leads the world with a .846 slugging percentage against lefties, and Pujols is second, slugging .760 this season.

Enter Blake Snell.

The Padres' lefty is the first of several the Cardinals are scheduled to face on this road trip. Snell will be making his 22nd start of the season and his second against the Cardinals, meaning he's already one of the lefties baked into the above numbers. And that was one of his better outings. Snell held the Cardinals to two hits and two runs through six innings and received a no decision in the 3-2 loss. This season, Snell has 146 strikeouts in 110 innings and he's allowed only 97 hits.

In his previous start, Snell pitched a season-high seven innings and allowed one run on four hits. He struck out seven.

Throughout the past week, the Cardinals have faced pitchers who jostled their pitch use, and in some cases the opposing starter has sided heavy with the off-speed pitches. That will be worth watching with Snell as he leans hard on his fastball (55.5% of the time) and only one out of every five pitches is a curveball or the rare changeup. 

Lineups

CARDINALS (87-62)

1. Tommy Edman, 2B

2. Dylan Carlson, CF

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Nolan Arenado, 3B

5. Albert Pujols, DH

6. Juan Yepez, RF

7. Paul DeJong, SS

8. Andrew Knizner, C

9. Corey Dickerson, LF

P: Miles Mikolas, RHP

PADRES (82-66)

1. Jurickson Profar, LF

2. Juan Soto, RF

3. Manny Machado, 3B

4. Jake Cronenworth, 2B

5. Josh Bell, DH

6. Ha-Seong Kim, SS

7. Wil Myers, 1B

8. Austin Nola, C

9. Jose Azocar, CF

P: Blake Snell, LHP

Pitching Matchup

RHP Miles Mikolas (11-12, 3.46 ERA): 

RHP Blake Snell (7-9, 3.85 ERA):

Wild Cards

  • The Cardinals are 17-9 when playing the NL West this season, and 3-0 against the Padres. 

  • Corey Dickerson has two homers in his career against Snell. That's what got him in the lineup as the lone left-handed hitter.
  • Albert Pujols has hit seven home runs in his career at San Diego's Petco Park. Petco is slightly more of a pitchers park than Busch Stadium ranking 28th in Statcast Park Effects compared to Busch Stadiums 27th. The most hitter friendly park, and thus ranking no. 1, is Coors Field in Colorado. 

Injury Report 

  • Tyler O'Neill has been placed on the 10-day IL with a left hamstring strain.
  • Jordan Hicks (stiff neck, arm fatigue) will rest this week and the idea is to have him rejoin the bullpen when his 15 days on the injured list are over. He'll be able to throw later in the week and won't go long enough between times off the mound to need a full ramp-up. (Updated Sept. 20.)

  • RHP Drew VerHagen (hip) and RHP Alex Reyes (shoulder) underwent season-ending surgeries. Both right-handed pitchers are expected to be ready for spring training after a winter of recovery. (Updated Aug. 20)

Up Next

The Cardinals conclude series in San Diego with an afternoon game Thursday at Petco Park. Their west-coast road trip heads north to Los Angeles before returning to the Midwest for a two game stint in Milwaukee. They will then head back to St. Louis for the final home series of the season. 

Check back here throughout the afternoon and evening for immediate coverage of the game and any news that surfaces from the Cardinals' pre-game activities. We will publish expanded game coverage online Wednesday night, and also in the pages of Thursday's Post-Dispatch. 

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