We got an appetizer of Major League Baseball last night with a rain-shortened Yankees win over the Nationals preceding a Dodgers rout of the rival Giants, now it’s time for the main course.
Indeed, we get 14 games on today’s MLB schedule ranging from the Braves and Mets at 4:10 p.m. ET and concluding with the A’s and Angels at 10:10.
Regardless of how you slice it, it’s a baseball fan’s dream to get baseball back and the first (nearly) full day of action is an enormous breath of fresh air.
With so many games comes plenty of ways to go on the betting board, but for now let’s take a look at an NL West matchup featuring the Diamondbacks vs. Padres from Petco Park in San Diego.
Diamondbacks vs. Padres Betting Odds
- Diamondbacks (+134)
- Padres (-145)
- Diamondbacks +1.5 (-160)
- Padres -1.5 (+140)
- Over 8 (-120)
- Under 8 (+100)
Diamondbacks vs. Padres MLB Pick Breakdown
Pitching Matchup: Bumgarner (ARI) vs. Paddack (SD)
After a legendary career with the Giants that included three World Series titles and five Opening Day starts, Bumgarner gets the ball to kick off the season for his new club in Arizona who he signed with on a five-year, $85M deal this past winter.
Bumgarner has already accomplished so much in this league it’s hard to believe he’s still just 30 years of age. He was one of the game’s most dominant pitchers from 2013-2016 when he turned in four straight seasons of sub-3.00 ERAs, but the left-hander has slipped some of late.
By slipping, that means he’s posted an ERA over 3.00 in each of the last three seasons – hardly a criticism – but it is worth noting that he posted a career-worst 3.90 last season.
Still, he brought his strikeout numbers back up while displaying fabulous control in the form of a 1.86 BB/9 to go with a solid 8.80 K/9 clip.
The owner of a career 3.13 ERA/3.32 FIP, we will see what Bumgarner has in the tank to kick off a new era with the D-backs.
The Padres will turn to their new ace in young right-hander Chris Paddack, a player who defied expectations a season ago.
If it weren’t for Pete Alonso’s 53-homer season as a rookie with the Mets, Paddack could very well have taken home NL Rookie of the Year honors in 2019 on the back of a 3.33 ERA/3.95 FIP to go along with a nice 9.79 K/9 clip and a stout 1.98 BB/9 rate to boot.
The kicker is that Paddack did so while skipping the Triple-A level all together while throwing just 37.2 minor league innings above High-A ball. His season was limited to 26 starts and 140.2 innings due to workload concerns, but the kid dazzled at the age of 23 a season ago.
Now we’ll see what he can do for an encore. He’s overflowing with confidence – a wonderful trait to have atop your rotation – and he’s not afraid to attack.
If there’s criticisms to dish out, Paddack did struggle some with the long ball with a 1.47 HR/9 clip despite pitching at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park while he benefited from a low .237 BABIP despite allowing hard contact at an elevated 42.1% clip.
At the end of the day, there’s a wonderful pitching matchup going down in San Diego tonight.
After trading Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals prior to last season, most everyone was down on the D-backs’ ability to score runs, but it’s safe to say they exceeded expectations in that department.
No, they didn’t light the world on fire, but held their own in producing a .319 wOBA – tied for 14th league wide – while ranking pretty much in the middle of the pack despite trading away a perennial MVP candidate.
Players such as Christian Walker, Carson Kelly, Eduardo Escobar and David Peralta stepped up, but no one had a better campaign than Ketel Marte who shocked his way into the MVP race while delivering 32 home runs as part of a .264 ISO, .405 wOBA and massive 150 wRC+.
Additionally, the D-backs added a pair of players who should help on offense but also very much on defense as outfielders Starling Marte and Kole Calhoun were brought in to aid the club in both areas of the game.
The Padres inked Manny Machado to a 10-year megadeal prior to the 2019 season, but his first year in San Diego was a far cry from his 2018 season split between the Orioles and Dodgers.
Machado still hit 32 home run, but his .206 ISO, .335 wOBA and 108 wRC+ are hardly Machado-esque figures and fell well below the production we’ve come to expect from the star third baseman.
That’s what moving from Camden Yards to Petco Park can do, but Eric Hosmer also struggled last season and had it not been for a wonderful 88 games worth of Fernando Tatis Jr., the team’s offense would have been even worse than their 26th-ranked .305 wOBA from a season ago.
They did add on-base machine Tommy Pham from the Rays at the expense of the power-hitting Hunter Renfroe, but whether Pham moves the needle remains to be see. He and Tatis form a nice 1-2 punch atop the lineup card, but Machado and Hosmer will really need to bounce back to give the Padres any hope of delivering better overall results at the plate.
The D-backs pieced together a solid bullpen last year as they turned in a 12th-ranked 4.26 ERA while their 14th-ranked 4.40 FIP and 2.9 fWAR confirm they had a solid group in 2019.
The team will get many of those same relievers back headlined by closer Archie Bradley who enjoyed a real nice season with a 3.07 ERA/3.38 FIP to go along with a 10.88 K/9, although he’ll like to clean up his 4.35 BB/9 rate moving forward.
With Andrew Chafin, Kevin Ginkel, Yoan Lopez returning, they are in good shape but they also added veteran Hector Rondon coming off a pair of productive seasons with the Astros. Rondon brings a career 3.29 ERA/3.49 FIP to the table for the D-backs.
No closer was better in the game than the Padres’ Kirby Yates a season ago. Yates led all closers with 41 saves in 2019 while working to an eye-popping 1.19 ERA/1.30 FIP to go along with a 14.98 K/9 rate and minuscule 1.93 BB/9 clip. No NL reliever was better while only Oakland’s Liam Hendriks posted a superior fWAR than Yates’ 3.4 a season ago.
While their ‘pen worked to a 19th-ranked 4.59 ERA, they were elite under the surface while sporting a fourth-ranked 4.00 FIP and sixth-ranked 5.5 fWAR.
They added to that group by signing Drew Pomeranz to a lucrative offseason deal coming off a dominant run in the Brewers’ bullpen following a mid-season trade from San Francisco.
Relief pitching is the most volatile aspect of a club’s roster, so while both bullpens fared well last season, it’s not a big needle-mover for this pick specifically.
As noted, there’s a quality pitching matchup on tap, although that’s the norm around the league on Opening Day.
However, I’m having a tough time looking at the D-backs as notable +134 underdogs and not seeing value in that play.
While he might not be prime Bumgarner, I’m not ready to sleep on the 30-year-old just yet. Sure, he’s coming off a career-worst ERA and there’s plenty of mileage on that left arm, but he remains a horse and isn’t facing the most dynamic of offenses in the league, either.
While the same goes for Paddack, Bumgarner will get the benefit of the spacious confines of Petco Park this evening.
I believe the D-backs’ offense is better suited to take advantage of the large alleys at Petco.
The Marte duo – Ketel and Starling – can blaze around the bases, turning any gap-shot or shot down the line into an easy triple.
After that duo, the club will roll out a trio of power bats in Escobar, Peralta and Walker. Let’s also not forget about one-time monster Jake Lamb and one of the better up-and-coming offensive catchers in Carson Kelly at the bottom of the lineup.
I’m looking at the D-backs lineup as one of the more underrated groups in baseball and I think it’s actually one of the lengthier lineups on the board with no easy outs in between.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the D-backs were the second-best defense in baseball according to FanGraphs’ Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) metric with a 112 mark, behind only the Dodgers (126).
For what it’s worth, the Padres ranked 14th with a +17 mark.
Add it all up and I feel extremely comfortable in backing the road dogs tonight in San Diego.