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7:10 PM PT8:10 PM MT9:10 PM CT10:10 PM ET22:10 ET2:10 GMT10:10 7:10 PM MST9:10 PM EST9:40 PM VEN6:10 UAE (+1)9:10 PM CT, June 28, 2019
PETCO Park, San Diego, California  Attendance: 33,329

Goldschmidt, Cards hope to right ship at San Diego

Can a trip to San Diego and Petco Park cure the ills being suffered by Paul Goldschmidt?

The Cardinals open a three-game series in San Diego on Friday night three games out of first in the National League Central. Truth is, they might be leading the division if Goldschmidt weren't in the worst slump of his career.

The six-time All-Star is 3-for-21 over the past five games and is hitting only .198 with three homers and five RBIs over his last 24 games. The slump has pulled his season average down to .253, to go with 14 homers and 31 RBIs, as the Cardinals rapidly approach the All-Star break. This is not what St. Louis expected from its five-year, $130 million investment.

But wait. Goldschmidt is returning to San Diego the next three days.

Over his eight seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Goldschmidt tormented the Padres. Overall, he had 31 doubles, two triples, 22 homers and 86 RBIs in 127 games against the Padres, with a .306/.422/.541 slash line. At Petco Park, Goldschmidt has a career slash line of .280/.400/.479 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs in 61 games.

Can a return to the building reverse Goldschmidt's fortunes?

"There's close games where we've lost where I felt like 'If I could have gotten a hit the results would have been different,'" Goldschmidt recently told the Los Angeles Times. "I show up every day."

"His presence in the lineup makes people around him better," offered Cardinals manager Mike Shildt.

Clearly, however, the Cardinals, who have lost three straight games to slide back to one game above .500, could use Goldschmidt to return to his Petco Park form Friday, as St. Louis faces Padres left-hander Eric Lauer (5-7, 4.32 ERA). Right-hander Michael Wacha (5-3, 5.59 ERA) takes the ball for the Cardinals.

Neither pitcher is going great at the moment.

Lauer has lost three straight starts, although he allowed only one earned run on five hits and a walk over seven innings in his most recent outing, Friday in Pittsburgh. In his two starts before that, Lauer gave up nine runs (eight earned) on 17 hits and five walks in 9 2/3 innings.

"Toss out Lauer's two starts in Colorado and his line is pretty good," Padres manager Andy Green said. Those two starts -- on May 10 and June 15 -- saw Lauer give up 13 runs on 18 hits in just 5 2/3 innings.

Lauer faced the Cardinals twice last season as a rookie, posting a 1-1 record despite a 9.00 ERA -- allowing eight runs on 15 hits in eight innings.

Wacha is 3-0 in six career starts against the Padres with a 2.21 ERA, a 1.255 WHIP and a .208 opponents' batting average. In 36 1/3 innings against the Padres, Wacha has given up 10 runs (nine earned) on 27 hits and 19 walks with 27 strikeouts. In his one start against the Padres this season, Wacha gave up one run on three hits and a career-worst eight walks in 5 2/3 innings at Busch Stadium, receiving no-decision in the April 6 defeat.

Over his last four games (three starts), Wacha is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.255 WHIP with 15 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings.

--Field Level Media

Updated June 27, 2019

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