A pair of aces to start the series. As this game goes, so will go the NLDS. I think it is that important. The slight edge goes to Carpenter.
Carpenter has a career edge, with a 2-2 record with a 3.86 ERA against San Diego. However, we all remember his last outing, a loss to these Padres last Tuesday at home, when the defending Cy Young Award winner allowed six runs in seven innings.
Peavy was battered by the Redbirds earlier this season, yielding six runs in just five innings in a May 28 slugfest at Petco, a game which his team eventually won over Mark Mulder, 10-8. Over his career, Peavy has 1-2 record and a 4.11 ERA when facing St. Louis.
Game Two – Jeff Suppan vs. Chris Young
Normally, one would think the Cards are heavy favorites here, but the numbers say otherwise. Edge - San Diego.
The Padres' impressive 6'-10" youngster is winless against the Cards this season, but tossed seven one-run innings in his first career shot at St. Louis this past Wednesday at Busch.
This will be the 27-year-old right-hander's first post-season action, so his reaction to the increased pressure is yet to be determined. But, Young is backed up by a strong San Diego bullpen, a team strength.
Despite being one of Major League Baseball's hottest pitchers in the second half of 2006, Suppan has been slapped around by San Diego. Having pitched once home and away against them this season, Soup has been burned for a 10.24 ERA.
Suppan hasn't been all that much better over his career against the Padres. In seven starts, he went 3-2, but is dragging a 6.56 ERA.
So, in conclusion, I see Carpenter and the Cardinals taking a close Game One, with Young and the Padres winning Game Two, giving St. Louis a chance to close out the series at home this coming weekend.
Looking ahead, the Game Three and Four match-ups have not yet been formalized. But, it could be Jeff Weaver against former Cardinal Woody Williams in Game Three, back at Busch on Saturday. Veteran David Wells and rookie Anthony Reyes may be penciled in for Sunday's Game Four, or Tony La Russa could choose to bring Carpenter back.
Much more on that later.
Upcoming action – starters tentative (times CDT)
Game Matchup Day Date Time TV
NLDS Game 1 STL (Carpenter: 15-8, 3.09) @ SD (Peavy: 11-14, 4.09) Tue Oct. 3 3:05 ESPN
NLDS Game 2 STL (Suppan: 12-7, 4.12) @ SD (Young: 11-5, 3.46) Thu Oct. 5 3:05 ESPN
NLDS Game 3 SD (Williams: 12-5, 3.65) @ STL (Weaver: 8-14, 5.76) Sat Oct. 7 3:35 FOX
NLDS Game 4* SD @ STL Sun Oct. 8 TBA TBA
NLDS Game 5* STL @ SD Mon Oct. 9 3 OR 7 FOX
* if necessary