Finally, we are back to a full slate of baseball action today! The Marlins returned after a week off, earlier this week, and now the St. Louis Cardinals rejoin the land of the living and will resume play today. That means for the first time since opening week, all 30 Major League Baseball teams will play on the same day.
The action is headlined by games between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, and the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics. For our daily betting pick, we will head to sunny San Diego, where the Padres host the Arizona Diamondbacks in a National League West Division battle.
Arizona Diamondbacks (5-8) at San Diego Padres (7-6)
The Arizona Diamondbacks are coming off of a walk-off win last night against the Houston Astros and will head to San Diego tonight for game one of a three-game series with the Padres. The DBacks managed to win the final two games of their series with Houston, to salvage their homestand, after losing four out of their first five home games. Even with the back to back wins, Arizona finds themselves buried in the basement of the NL West, trailing the red-hot Rockies for first place by four and a half games.
For San Diego, the Padres had the most wins in the National League in July, starting out the season 6-2, but have fallen on hard times here in August, as they have lost four out of their five games this month. To make matters worse, all of those losses have come to teams that they are chasing in the NL West, with losses coming to the Rockies and the Dodgers. The Padres would love to pick up a divisional win tonight at home against Arizona.
Starting tonight for the DBacks is Luke Weaver (0-2 14.73 ERA), and for the Padres, it is Zach Davies (1-1 4.50 ERA). The game total over/under is set at eight and a half runs. The Padres are -115 home field favorites. First pitch is set for 6:10 PM PST from PETCO Park in San Diego.
Did the Arizona Diamondbacks save their season this week against the Houston Astros? The DBacks were spiraling out of control and cascading down the standings, as they weren’t only losing games, they were getting blown out. Even with the two wins over Houston, the DBacks run differential is a National League worst -25 runs. Only the Seattle Mariners have a lower run differential in the Major Leagues.
I am not going to say that Arizona has all of the sudden figured things out, but had they lost those two games, both of which they trailed in, they would be sitting at 3-10, six and a half games out of first place. In a 60-game season, I don’t know if we could ever expect a team to make up that big of a gap. That is nearly 11% of the season. That is like a team coming back from 18 games down in a normal length season, something that just doesn’t happen.
Luke Weaver (0-2 14.73 ERA)
There are a lot of players that you can point your finger at to lay the blame on for this bad start for Arizona. Robbie Ray and Madison Bumgarner have both been awful, and their six total home runs as a team are laughable. But there probably hasn’t been one single player that has struggled more than tonight’s starting pitcher, Luke Weaver.
Weaver has made two starts this season and has gotten blasted in both games. Weaver has pitched a combined 7.1 innings and has allowed a whopping twelve earned runs on fourteen hits, three of which have been home runs. Arizona has lost those two games by a combined score of 17-4, that is more than half of their run differential for the season in just two games.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres have a ton of talent, but for the most part, their best guys are all young players that don’t have a lot of experience. When you have a roster full of young guns that haven’t been there and done that on the Major League level for very long, you are going to see results like we have seen from the San Diego Padres this year.
They came firing out of the gates to start the year and won six out of their first eight games, all coming against divisional opponents. But in their last two series, they have dropped two out of three to both the Dodgers and the Rockies. Ups and downs like this are a calling card of an inexperienced team.
One guy that been giving a consistent effort this season as been phenom Fernando Tatis Jr. Tatis Jr is slashing .294 with an on-base percentage of .400. He has four home runs, thirteen RBI, four stolen bases, and eleven runs scored, all of which are near the top of the National League leaderboards. We all wondered what a full season of Tatis Jr would look like, and if these first two weeks are an example of what is to come, this kid could win the NL MVP.
Zach Davies (1-1 4.50 ERA)
It has mostly been the offense winning games for the Padres this season, as they are currently second in the Major Leagues in runs scored. The pitching staff has struggled at times, most notably closer Kirby Yates, who has seen his ERA balloon to 13.50 after being one of the best closers in the NL the last two seasons, where he posted a combined ERA of under two runs. One guy that has pulled his weight though, has been starter Zach Davies.
Davies is a soft tosser that pitches to contact and doesn’t strike out many guys. In his five-year stint with the Milwaukee Brewers, Davies had a winning record and a sub-four run ERA. He won seventeen games back in 2017, and last year his 3.55 ERA in 31 starts made him one of the more reliable middle of the rotation arms in the league.
Davies has made two starts this year and has been solid. He has pitched five innings in both games and has allowed five earned runs. One of those starts came in Coors Field, always a tough place to pitch, and while he was charged with the loss, he didn’t pitch all that poorly against a Rockies team that is on fire right now.
Who Do I Like?
I like the home team in this game. We have already seen this series play out once, as these two teams matched up in San Diego on opening weekend. The Padres took two out of three of those games, blowing them out in the first two games, before seeing Kirby Yates give away the game in the ninth in the third game of the set.
Luke Weaver pitched in that series, and he got hammered for six earned runs in 3.1 innings. Yeah, the Padres have struggled to win games this week, which concerns me a little, but it hasn’t really been the offense’s fault, as they have scored at least five runs in three out of their last four games. I just don’t see anything that tells me Weaver isn’t going to be just as bad tonight, as he was two weeks ago, in this same park, against this same team.
The Padres opened up as -130 favorites, and the bets have been slowly but steadily coming in on Arizona. That has moved this number fifteen points and allows us to be able to back the Padres at home, at a very attractive price.
Momentum is on the Diamondbacks side as they are going to come in riding high tonight after the walk-off win last night. The Padres have played poorly all week, but when I look at these two teams, I see the Padres as being the much better overall team, and Zach Davies as the far more consistent starter.
In a spot where I can get the better team, with the better starter on the mound, playing at home, and I don’t have to lay a bunch of wood to do it, I am going to take it every time. Give me the San Diego Padres tonight at home, laying -115!