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St. Louis Cardinals at San Diego Padres Batting Preview

The St. Louis Cardinals look to avoid a three-game sweep and snap a five-game losing streak when they take on the host San Diego Padres on Sunday afternoon. St. Louis continues to be a hot and cold team this season, hitting a cold streak of late to fall four games off the lead in the National League Central and three games off the pace for the National League Wild Card spots.

San Diego is just the opposite, winning four straight and seven of its last 10 to creep to 1.5 games behind Milwaukee and Colorado for the Wild Card. San Diego is still 12.5 games behind Los Angeles in the National League West. The Padres have been showing their power potential of late, scoring in double digits in three of their last five games.

The moneyline for this contest has the St. Louis Cardinals +105 and the San Diego Padres -120. The over/under has been set at 8.

Starting to Struggle

The Cardinals have had a difficult time winning on a consistent basis, as has their starter for Sunday’s game, Miles Mikolas. A season after he went 18-4 in his return to the Major Leagues, Mikolas is 5-8 with a 4.33 ERA. The right-hander has lost six of his last seven decisions, though he looked a bit better in his last outing, going five innings and allowing just one earned run. Mikolas has allowed 14 home runs this season in 89 1/3 innings compared to the 16 he gave up in 200 2/3 innings in 2018.

The Cardinals’ offense has also had its troubles, scoring a total of 10 runs during their current five-game losing streak. That won’t be helped with the news that Marcell Ozuna — the team’s leader in home runs and RBI — went on the 10-day injured list with a finger injury during this series. This would be a great time for two of the team’s disappointments, Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter, to step up their games. Goldschmidt is batting .245 on the season with 14 home runs and 31 RBI, while Carpenter is hitting just .216 with 10 home runs and 28 RBI.

On A Roll

The Padres seem to have found their formula for success: Swing for the fences. San Diego crushed five home runs in Saturday night’s 12-2 win, including two apiece by Manny Machado and Franmil Reyes. Reyes is tied for the team lead in home runs with Hunter Renfroe with 24, with Machado totaling 19 on the season. The hottest hitter on the team may be shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., whose father starred for St. Louis in 1999 and 2000. The 20-year-old son has batted .474 over the last week, hitting three home runs and driving in seven, and he finished a triple short of the cycle in Saturday’s win.

Left-hander Joey Lucchesi takes the mound on Sunday trying to complete the sweep for the Padres. Lucchesi is 6-4 this season with a 3.95 ERA. He is coming off a start against Pittsburgh in which he went five innings, giving up four earned runs and six hits. This is Lucchesi’s 16th start of the season, and he’s struck out 82 and walked 23 in his 84 1/3 innings of work.

Padres Complete Sweep

San Diego is getting hot, and it is facing a team that is reeling right now in the Cardinals. Mikolas has looked like a shell of the pitcher that he was a year ago, and the St. Louis offense just can’t seem to put things together. I’m taking the Padres -120 to extend their winning streak to five.

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