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Tonight could prove to be the end of the line for the 2020 Padres, who are gearing up to face the Cardinals in a do-or-die Game 3 of their first-round series. The Padres have gone the series without their two best starting pitchers, right-handers Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger, and they’ll turn to reliever Craig Stammen as an opener Friday. If Stammen & Co. manage to lead San Diego past St. Louis, though, the Padres could see Lamet and Clevinger return in the second round.

Both Lamet and Clevinger played catch Friday, per the San Diego Union Tribune’s Kevin Acee, and manager Jayce Tingler said it’s a “possibility” they’d be around for the NLDS. Lamet has been dealing with biceps discomfort, while Clevinger has been out with an elbow strain. Fortunately, Clevinger came out of his throwing session “feeling great,” Robert Murray reports.

Lamet and Clevinger are undoubtedly two of the main reasons the Padres reached the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Lamet turned in a Cy Young-caliber season with a 2.09 ERA/2.48 FIP and 12.13 K/9 against 2.61 BB/9 in 69 innings. Clevinger, whom the Padres acquired from the Indians at the Aug. 31 trade deadline, pitched to a 3.02 ERA/4.15 FIP and notched 8.64 K/9 against 3.02 BB/9 over 41 2/3 frames between the teams. Healthy versions of the two hurlers would have played prominent roles versus the Cardinals, but perhaps they’ll still have a chance to help the Padres this postseason.

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