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Game Preview: Cards at Padres (7/30/14)

After losing the series opener against the Padres by a 3-1 score last night, the Cards fell into third place in the NL Central behind the Brewers and Pirates. With the offense only scoring one run in each of the past two games, the Cards will surely have to manufacture more runs to attempt to gain ground in the NL Central tonight at 9:10 CST.

The Pitching Matchup: Joe Kelly (2-1, 3.90 ERA) is slated to start for the fourth time since coming off the disabled list in his first ever appearance against the Padres. Unfortunately, Kelly has scuffled in four road starts this season, posting a whopping 6.35 ERA. In his last start, Kelly was fortunate to garner a no decision as he allowed five runs on eight hits against the cellar-dwelling Cubs.

Joe Kelly will be in pursuit of his first quality road start since returning from the disabled list.

Padres’ rookie Jesse Hahn (6-2, 2.12 ERA) opposes Kelly on the mound on the day of his 25th birthday. Hahn comes in as one of the hottest pitchers in baseball with a 6-1 record and 1.47 ERA in his last seven starts, three of which have been shutouts. In nearly 47 innings pitched this year, Hahn has recorded 51 strikeouts and given up just two homers, so the Cards will need to string together a lot of hits to score some runs. Though he has an impressive 1.05 WHIP, Hahn does have issues with his command as he has issued 19 walks this season.

The Skinny: This one figures to be another pitchers’ duel with a distinct edge toward the Padres in the pitcher-friendly confines of PETCO Park, but San Diego’s inability to score runs all season will make this a close one that is decided by the bullpens. The Cards have unfortunately had to face the Padres’ two best pitchers in the first two games of this three-game series, so the offense will have to break through tonight if the team has any hopes of forcing a rubber match tomorrow.

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