Baseball fans have never seen anything quite like September 30, 2020.   With an expanded field of 16 playoff teams, Wednesday contained wall-to-wall playoff baseball. The first pitch of the Cincinnati Reds vs…

Baseball fans have never seen anything quite like September 30, 2020. With an expanded field of 16 playoff teams, Wednesday contained wall-to-wall playoff baseball. The first pitch of the Cincinnati Reds vs…

Gregory Bull/Associated Press
Winner: St. Louis’ Game 1 pitching plan
The St. Louis Cardinals could have turned to Opening Day starter Jack Flaherty on normal rest for the Game 1 start after he threw five innings on Sept. 25 in his final regular-season tune-up.
However, they instead opted to throw left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim, who quietly pitched to a 1.62 ERA in 39 innings during the regular season.
The 32-year-old rookie didn’t have the best postseason debut, allowing five hits and three earned runs in 3.2 innings, but the Cardinals bullpen picked up the slack. Now, they’re set up nicely for Game 2 and, if necessary, Game 3.
Ryan Helsley, Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos, Andrew Miller and Alex Reyes worked a combined 5.1 innings, allowing three hits and one unearned run to nail down the victory.
Veteran Adam Wainwright will take the ball in Game 2 with 105.2 career postseason innings under his belt, and Flaherty is waiting in the wings if the series goes to Game 3.
Loser: The Padres’ starting pitching situation
While the Cardinals are set up well from a pitching standpoint, the San Diego Padres are in trouble.
With Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet both nursing injuries and left off the Wild Card Series roster, Chris Paddack took the ball in Game 1 after posting a 4.73 ERA over 59 innings in a disappointing follow-up to his stellar rookie season.
The 24-year-old was shelled for eight hits and six earned runs in 2.1 innings, and the Padres were unable to dig out of that early hole.
That means the Padres will need to win two in a row, and while Zach Davies is more than capable of carrying the team in Game 2 after logging a 2.73 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 12 starts in the best season of his career, Game 3 is a total crapshoot.
General manager A.J. Preller told reporters it would be “all hands on deck” in a Game 3 situation when the rosters were announced, and that’s a less-than-ideal approach to a must-win game. Garrett Richards is the most likely candidate to start, but he spent the last few weeks of the regular season transitioning to the bullpen.

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