How the Padres COVID outbreak impacts the St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are about to play against the Padres, but they will be undermanned after a COVID-19 outbreak leaves them without Fernando Tatis Jr.
In what was supposed to be a potential playoff series preview, with the St. Louis Cardinals heading to San Diego for a three-game series on Friday, it is going to be anything but that after the Padres had a COVID-19 outbreak.
The Padres will be without Fernando Tatis Jr. and Wil Myers after the two tested positive for COVID. Jurickson Profar, Jorge Mateo and Eric Hosmer have been deemed close contacts and have been placed on the COVID-19 list, the team announced, with Dennis Lin of The Athletic reporting that there was fear inside the Padres organization that more positive tests could be coming.
So far, there has not been any more positive tests reported, though there is a very real chance the Padres will be without all five players for the entire series against the Cardinals. What we do know is that they will be without Tatis and Myers, which gives the Cardinals a significant advantage in what is their most important road series of the season.
Tatis is a generational player, having just signed a 14-year, $340 million contract extension, and has what made this era of Padres baseball so special. He has transformed the organization along with Manny Machado, giving them arguably the best left side of the infield in baseball, and being without Tatis is a massive blow for the Padres against the Cardinals, the hottest team in baseball who are tied with the San Francisco Giants for the best record in the National League.
The Padres have not made roster moves to address the outbreak, instead waiting for additional information, but figure to be overmatched by the Cardinals pitching staff. Adam Wainwright and Jack Flaherty have been their two best pitchers and Kwang-hyun Kim is coming off a very good start against the Brewers while the bullpen, headlined by Alex Reyes, has been very good to start the season.
The series should still be entertaining, of course, as the Padres have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball and a lineup that still includes Machado. But without Tatis, they are a different team, and the Cardinals the series with a clear advantage.