The injury-depleted San Diego Padres will call on newly signed starting pitcher Vince Velasquez when they visit the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.
The Padres added Velasquez (3-6, 5.95 ERA) after the Philadelphia Phillies let him go. He steps into a starting rotation that recently lost Blake Snell (left adductor strain) and Chris Paddock (elbow inflammation) to injuries.
“It’s unfortunate that they lost two of their starters, but I got a lot left in the tank,” Velasquez said. “I’m here to demonstrate what I’m capable of doing and try to help them out. I know that this is pretty much a pretty big moment for the squad, but I’m trying to get familiarized with all the guys right now and trying to pick their brains and see exactly where their mind is at.”
Velasquez steps in as the Padres (76-70) are battling the Cardinals, Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets for the second National League wild card slot.
The Cardinals (76-69) come into this three-game series at Busch Stadium with a five-game winning streak and seven victories in their last eight games. They sit in the second wild card slot by a half-game over the Padres and one game over the Reds.
Pitching, hitting and fielding came together at once for the Cardinals.
“Ultimately, the best baseball is when you’re doing it all together,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “You’re getting the hitting, consistent at-bats. You’re getting the quality pitching. It’s just about doing it all together at one time.”
The Padres stabilized by winning their last two over the San Francisco Giants to snap a five-game losing streak.
“Our group of guys aren’t fearing whoever we play when we get there,” Padres associate manager Skip Schumaker said. “Right now, it’s just: How do you get there? If you can get there, you’ll feel really good about it. Getting there is the challenge.”
In his last two starts for the Phillies in July, Velasquez allowed 11 runs on 11 hits and three walks in just 4 1/3 innings. He went on the injured list with a finger blister, then pitched six times in the minors (1-0, 2.63 ERA in 13 2/3 innings) before the Phillies turned him lose.
He faced the Cardinals twice this season and allowed three runs on eight hits and five walks in 6 2/3 innings. Velasquez is 1-2 with a 5.22 ERA in six career outings against the Cardinals, including five starts.
The Cardinals will counter with Miles Mikolas (0-2, 5.47), who is continuing his comeback from forearm and shoulder injuries. In his last four starts he allowed 15 runs on 24 hits (including four homers) and five walks in 17 1/3 innings.
“I feel really close,” Mikolas said. “The stuff is there, and for more than 90 percent of the time the location is there.”
Mikolas is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three career starts against the Padres, his original team. Victor Caratini (5-for-12, two doubles), Eric Hosmer (4-for-9, double, HR) and Adam Frazier (12-for-32, four doubles, two triples, three RBIs) have hit him well.
–Field Level Media