Tue, 05 Dec 2023

Padres close home season against Cardinals as playoff hopes dim

Field Level Media
24 Sep 2023, 23:25 GMT+10

(Photo credit: Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports)

The San Diego Padres' bubble burst Saturday night.

Just a night earlier, Manny Machado drew an ovation from a Padres' sellout crowd when he screamed "There's still a chance!" during an on-field interview after the Padres recorded an eighth straight win.

Twenty-four hours later, the St. Louis Cardinals took a very big needle to the Padres' playoff-hopes balloon, scoring three runs in the top of the 11th for a 5-2 win. The San Diego loss put the focus back on so many of the flaws that helped the Padres dig the hole that suddenly looks so much deeper.

The two teams meet again on Sunday in San Diego to close the Padres' home season.

All season long, the Padres (76-79) have had problems getting hits with runners in scoring position. Saturday night, they were 1-for-17 in opportunities with runners in scoring position.

And they have had trouble scoring in extra innings. They are 0-12 this season in extra-inning games.

"I didn't think that was possible," Padres manager Bob Melvin said of that stat.

Had they even gone .500 in extra-inning games this season, the Padres would be in a wild-card position.

The Padres' aren't totally out of the wild-card race. Their elimination number is three with seven games to play. They can't be eliminated Sunday in their final home game of the season. But there are six road games to follow at San Francisco and the Chicago White Sox.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals (68-87) snapped a four-game losing streak Saturday night.

"I liked the way we not only battled back but how we kept them off the board," manager Oliver Marmol said.

The Padres will send out former Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha (12-4, 3.44 ERA) Sunday against St. Louis left-hander Drew Rom (1-3, 6.92).

Wacha, 32, was the Cardinals first-round pick in the 2012 draft. He made his major league debut with the Cardinals the following year, and

San Diego is his fourth stop since leaving St. Louis after the 2019 season.

But some bonds are hard to break. Wacha applauded Saturday night as the Padres recognized the Cardinals' retiring 200-game winner, Adam Wainwright.

"I'll never forget my time in St. Louis," Wacha said earlier this season. "It's great to be a Cardinal in St. Louis. It's hard to explain the depth of the connection between St. Louis and the Cardinals."

Since he left St. Louis, Wacha has made only one start against the Cardinals. That came last season with the Boston Red Sox, when Wacha gave up one run on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings to earn a win.

A victory Sunday would give Wacha his most wins in a season since he had 17 with St. Louis in 2015.

The 23-year-old Rom was acquired by the Cardinals along with two minor leaguers in the Aug. 1 trade that sent Jack Flaherty to the Baltimore Orioles. After two impressive starts with the Cardinals' Triple-A Memphis affiliate (2-0, 0.82 ERA, two hits allowed in 11 innings), Rom made his major league debut on Aug. 21.

In 26 innings over six starts, Rom has given up 22 runs (20 earned) on 33 hits and 15 walks. He is facing the Padres for the first time.

--Field Level Media

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