After a dreadful series against the Brewers that further solidified the likely fate of the 2023 Padres, the team got a chance to get back in the win column against another disappointing team in the St. Louis Cardinals. As Blake Snell took the mound, he delivered big-time and shredded the Cardinal lineup. On offense, multi-hit games from Garret Cooper and Matt Carpenter gave the Padres the 4 runs that they needed to back up a great performance from the pitching staff. The 4-1 win helped to set a nice tone for the series and provide San Diego with their first win since August 23.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
Snell, Hader serve up a nasty 1-2 combo to St. Louis
Despite the Padres and their overall team struggles, Blake Snell has been one of the few bright spots on the roster. He continued his dominant 2023 season in his start against the Cardinals on Monday night. Snell pitched through the first 7 innings of the game, striking out 9 batters and allowing just 2 total hits. Despite the great start, he stayed true to his main flaw and walked 5 batters in the game. Luckily the walks did not come back to bite him as he improved his record to 11-9 and brought his ERA to 2.60. While San Diego probably won’t be taking home any hardware this season, Snell will certainly be in the talks to bring home his 2nd-career Cy Young award and his first as a pitcher in the National League.
After Snell’s time in the game came to an end, Robert Suarez served as the bridge between Snell and Josh Hader in the 8th inning. Suarez got through the 8th but did allow the Cardinals only run of the game to come home on a solo homer from Paul Goldschmidt. Once Hader stepped onto the mound in the 9th, all hope was lost for St. Louis. Hader quickly earned his 28th save of the season while striking out 2/3 batters in the inning. The lethal San Diego closer is on pace for one of the most impressive seasons for a closer in MLB history, as he remains on pace to finish with over 30 saves and an ERA under 1 (currently 0.79). He has been a huge success for the Padres on the pitching side of things, and the team will have a big decision to make regarding his free agency this winter.
Cooper’s 3-hit day lifts the offense up
Garrett Cooper, one of the Padres trade deadline additions, got the start at first base for the Padres in the series opener against the Cardinals. After initially having a rough time with the team, he has picked things up slightly and was a key contributor for San Diego in their latest win. Cooper went 3/5 on the day, including an RBI single in the seventh and a 2-RBI single in the 9th that would give Josh Hader some breathing room to work with.
Cooper has had a respectable season thus far with a batting average of .266 to go along with 14 home runs and 51 RBI. His acquisition has given the Padres the gift of having more options to construct the lineup with and provided versatility for manager Bob Melvin. While things aren’t looking great this year, Cooper could be a nice depth piece to hold onto in 2024 that can provide the team with consistency and a veteran clubhouse presence.
Carpenter has solid game back in front of the Cardinal faithful
The St. Louis Cardinals were Matt Carpenter’s team and home for the first 11 seasons of his career. After finally leaving in 2022 to join the Yankees, he eventually signed a deal with the Padres in the 2023 offseason to join the team for the upcoming year. With Carpenter back in his old stomping grounds for 3 games, fans can understand that the series will mean a lot to him and remind him of the great times he had playing for St. Louis at Busch Stadium. Despite a tough season so far, he was able to give the home crowd an impressive showing to take them back to the days of his prime. Carpenter was 2-4 in the game including an RBI single in the 6th to open the scoring. He also walked once, reaching base in 3-5 plate appearances and making the second-biggest impact on offense for the team behind Garrett Cooper.
With 2 more games to play in St. Louis, perhaps he will have an extra performance boost and help in the effort to lift the Padres to a series win. The team is right back at it tomorrow in the second game of the series, with Seth Lugo getting the start.
First pitch is scheduled for 4:45 PST.