NL Wild Card 2020: Friday Odds, TV Info, Live Stream for Each SeriesOctober 2, 2020
The bats of the San Diego Padres woke up Thursday night to force the first Game 3 of the National League wild-card round.
The Padres' offense exploded for 11 runs behind a pair of home runs from Fernando Tatis Jr. and Wil Myers.
San Diego's outburst may have ignited a series comeback against the St. Louis Cardinals, who will try to quell the threat with Jack Flaherty on the mound Friday night at Petco Park.
Before the Cardinals and Padres take the diamond, the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins will play Game 2 of their series after Thursday's contest was postponed because of inclement weather.
Chicago will turn to Yu Darvish to stay alive in the postseason against a Miami franchise that is looking to keep its perfect postseason record alive.
NL Wild-Card Friday Schedule
Game 2: Miami (+170, bet $100 to win $170) at Chicago Cubs (-220, bet $100 to win $45.45) (2:08 p.m. ET, ABC)
Game 3: St. Louis at San Diego (7:08 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Games can be live-streamed on ESPN.com and ESPN app.
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Miami at Chicago Cubs (Miami leads series 1-0)
The day off caused by the postponement opens a new realm of possibilities when it comes to pitching strategy for the Marlins and Cubs.
If the Cubs get a solid outing from Darvish, they could rest a majority of their arms to go all-in for Saturday's Game 3 with their best bullpen pitchers behind whoever is chosen to start.
In Darvish's final regular-season outing, he recorded one of his season lows in strikeouts with five, but he did not concede an earned run over seven innings versus the Chicago White Sox.
Darvish lasted either six or seven innings in every start after the opening weekend, so the Cubs could be in line to use the minimum amount of pitchers to get to Game 3.
The Marlins struck out on nine occasions in Game 1, and their lineup could be weaker without Starling Marte, who was not in the Game 2 lineup when it was posted Thursday afternoon. According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the outfielder suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left pinkie finger.
If Marte is unable to start Friday, it could put a hindrance on Miami's offensive momentum since he went 2-for-4 with a run and a double Wednesday.
If Darvish keeps a lineup potentially without Marte off balance, the Cubs may be able to jump on Sixto Sanchez to provide their starter with an early cushion.
Sanchez allowed nine earned runs on 12 hits in his final two appearances against Atlanta and Washington. He lasted just seven innings in the outings versus NL East rivals.
Ian Happ, who hit a home run in the series opener, could be the key to unlocking Sanchez in the first few frames.
The Cubs leadoff man has 12 home runs, 28 RBI, 11 doubles and 51 hits out of the top spot in the order.
If Happ gets on base and Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and others can manufacture a run or two, it could put the Miami rookie under pressure and allow Darvish to shut down the Marlins while pitching with comfort.
St. Louis at San Diego (Series tied 1-1)
The Cardinals come into Friday with one advantage over the Padres.
St. Louis had Flaherty locked into the Game 3 starting role before the series started. He is one start removed from an 11-strikeout performance against Pittsburgh.
While the Cardinals know what their pitching strategy will be, the Padres are in a tougher predicament with Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger off the wild-card roster.
Padres manager Jayce Tingler told USA Today's Bob Nightengale that he had "no idea" who would get the ball first in Game 3.
Garrett Richards could be the ideal starter since he only threw 1.1 innings in the first two games. He got one out in Game 2.
If San Diego could get a few solid innings out of Richards, it may be able to piece together a bullpen strategy that keeps the Cardinals off balance.
None of the Padres relievers used in Game 2 threw more than 25 pitches. Craig Stammen and Emilio Pagan were the only ones over 25 pitches in Game 1.
Even though San Diego appears to be at a disadvantage in the pitching matchup, its lineup could level that out if it produces a few early runs off Flaherty.
In 2019, the Cardinals right-hander conceded eight earned runs on 17 hits in three postseason starts, and he was chased by the Nationals after four innings in Game 3 of the NLCS.
If the Padres get Flaherty out of the game before the fifth inning, they could level the playing field since both lineups faced a bulk of the opponent's top bullpen arms in Games 1 and 2.
The Game 3 difference could come from the heart of San Diego's order. Tatis, Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and Tommy Pham combined for nine hits, four runs and six RBI in Game 2.
If San Diego gets a similar level of production from its top hitters, it could finish off the series and earn an NLDS meeting with the Los Angeles Dodgers in Texas.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90
Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference