In July, Jesse Hahn made a strong start against the Cardinals, and Shelby Miller did likewise against the Padres. Both pitchers will look to repeat those feats on Saturday as they square off at Busch Stadium.
Hahn cruised through a seven-inning, one-run start against the Cardinals on July 30. Hahn surrendered only four hits in that outing, which fell on his 25th birthday, and afterward, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny called it his team's "ugliest loss of the year."
The rookie has accumulated a 2.08 ERA in 11 starts this season, and he may not be such a mystery to the Cardinals this time around.
"He's not a secret, even though he's been facing teams for the first time," Padres manager Bud Black said after the start. "He's being talked about because he's made a number of starts and his innings are getting up there a little bit. First look for the Cardinals, I think they saw a guy with a good fastball and a good hook who mixed in some changeups as the game went on."
Hahn is one of three pitchers throwing this weekend who all had strong outings against the Cardinals in July. Tyson Ross allowed three runs over six innings on Friday, while Odrisamer Despaigne will start Sunday.
Despite the fact that his lineup scuffled the first time around, Matheny had faith that his hitters would improve in their second chances against those arms.
"I think guys have a better idea," Matheny said. "It's easy to talk about, 'This guy throws 96, this is what his ball does.' It resonates better and more clearly when you've seen it firsthand, and you know what the movement and the life looks like."
Meanwhile, Miller went six innings and gave up only two runs on three hits on July 31 to salvage a Cardinals win in their series in San Diego. He followed that with a strong start against Boston before struggling with a five-inning, five-run outing against Miami. In that start, he was victimized by two homers from slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
"I made some pitches at times, but when it came down to their best hitter on their team, I throw two of the worst pitches I've probably thrown all night, and you can't do that," Miller said afterward. "That's a guy who sees mistakes and does a good job of hitting those kind of pitches. He's leading the league in home runs, and there's the reason why. He's got a lot of power, he's a great hitter, and I didn't help myself at all throwing those pitches right down the middle."
Padres: Solarte day to day with oblique problem
Yangervis Solarte remained out of the lineup Friday, two days after being pulled in the seventh inning of Wednesday's game with a mild left oblique strain. Black indicated that Solarte could return any time and that he was being cautious with the third baseman.
"Solarte is a little bit better," Black said. "Didn't feel comfortable giving him a start. Medically, they're a little concerned. Truly day to day. Hopefully there is some more progress tomorrow, and we will assess it then."
Cardinals: Taveras expected back in lineup Saturday
Matheny started Shane Robinson over Oscar Taveras in right field for a second straight day on Friday, and the skipper said that was a credit to Robinson, who played a big role in the team's win on Thursday.
However, Matheny also expressed some frustration with Taveras' effort level on Thursday. He did say he expected the rookie back in the lineup at some point in this series, and Taveras did drive home a run with an RBI single as a pinch-hitter in Friday night's win.
"I think every day that our guys have here on the front row [of the bench], it's an opportunity to learn," Matheny said before Friday's game. "I think to watch a jump, to watch a real good defender in Shane and what you see out of Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos, there are so many things to learn. You sit down at that end of the bench and you listen to Jose Oquendo and David Bell talk. You come down here and listen to the rest of the coaching staff talk about game situations, there is always something. I appreciate when the players go about using their time on the bench to get better. That's something we've encouraged Oscar and all our players to do."
• At 10:30 a.m. CT on Saturday, the Cardinals will induct their first class into the newly created Cardinals Hall of Fame. The class includes Jim Edmonds, Marty Marion, Willie McGee and Mike Shannon.
• The Padres plan to limit Hahn to 140 innings this season. Entering Saturday's start, he has thrown 104 2/3.
• The Padres are 41-5 (.891) this season when scoring four runs or more, the best such record in the Major Leagues.
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.