2020 MLB Wild Card picks: Marlins vs. Cubs, Cardinals vs. Padres
The National League Wild Card round rolls on this Friday. First, the Miami Marlins will try to sweep the Chicago Cubs out of the playoffs at Wrigley Field. Then the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres face off at Petco Park in a winner-take-all Game 3.
Miami Marlins vs. Chicago Cubs, 2:08 p.m., ABC
Fri, October 2 2020, 6:08 PM
CHI Cubs[Y. Darvish]
MIA Marlins[S. Sanchez]
NL Cy Young candidate Yu Darvish (8-3, 2.01 ERA) and rookie phenom Sixto Sanchez (3-2, 3.46 ERA) should stymie the Marlins and Cubs lineups, respectively, on Friday night.
Darvish had a sub-1.000 WHIP (0.961), tallied 93 strikeouts, and held opponents to a .211 batting average in 2020. He also led the NL in FIP at 2.23. He should be able to keep Miami’s offense – 19th at 4.39 runs per game in the regular season – in check before turning things over to the bullpen. Since the start of September, Chicago’s relief corps has been the second-best in baseball by ERA (2.96), trailing only the Rays.
Sanchez was tattooed for nine runs in his last two starts, lasting a mere seven innings. But his two opponents in those outings – the Braves and the Nationals – had the benefit of seeing him a second time in 2020. The Cubs’ lineup will not have that advantage in Game 2.
Sanchez didn’t allow a single home run to left-handed batters this year (69 at-bats), so he should neutralize two of Chicago’s most dangerous batsmen in Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber. The Marlins’ bullpen tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings behind Sandy Alcantara in Game 1.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres, 7:08 p.m., ESPN
Both the Cardinals and Padres lineups have been on fire in this series. St. Louis out-slugged San Diego in Game 1, 7-4, before the Friars returned the favor and topped the Redbirds 11-9 in Game 2. With the starting pitching situation a murky one and both bullpens being overmatched and overworked thus far, oddsmakers can’t set the total high enough for Game 3.
Jack Flaherty (4-3, 4.91 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Cardinals, and he hasn’t been able to replicate what he did last year in 2020. Outfielder Trent Grisham could be an unlikely hero for the Padres – he’s been held hitless in this series thus far but is 4-for-6 lifetime against Flaherty with a double.
Game 3 would appear to be a "bullpen game" for San Diego, but their relievers have already been taxed with 13 2/3 innings of work through two games. Adrian Morejon (2-2, 4.66 ERA), used for just 1 1/3 innings on Thursday and none on Wednesday, could be the "opener."