Major League Baseball is in full swing today as we have all 30 teams in action. Many teams are headed home for the first time this year, with several teams celebrating their home openers tonight. The early season trend we have been seeing of upsets continued yesterday as the Mariners, Nationals, and Red Sox all won games as major underdogs.
For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to Colorado, where the Rockies play their first home game of the season, as they host the San Diego Padres in a National League West Divisional showdown, with first place on the line.
San Diego Padres (5-2) at Colorado Rockies (4-1)
The Colorado Rockies return home after a very successful road trip that saw them win four out of five games against the Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers. Most expected Colorado to finish near the bottom of the NL West standings this year, but surprisingly enough, they are in first place entering play tonight and are tied with the New York Yankees for the highest winning percentage in all of baseball. The Rockies will look to stay hot as they host the San Diego Padres in game one of a pivotal early season, three-game series.
For San Diego, the Padres have won both of their series so far in 2020 and lead the Major Leagues in runs scored at over six runs a game. Each of the Padres five wins have come against the NL West Division, with wins coming over the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants. If the Padres were to win tonight in game one, they would hold at least a share of first place in the division.
Starting tonight for the Padres is Garrett Richards (0-0 0.00 ERA) and for the Rockies it is Jon Gray (0-0 1.93 ERA). The Rockies are small -110 home field favorites. The game total over/under is set at eleven and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PST from Coors Field in Colorado.
San Diego Padres
What isn’t there to like about this San Diego Padres team? They have a bunch of young talent with guys like Fernando Tatis Jr and Chris Paddack looking like budding superstars, and they brought in enough veteran players, to surround the young guys, in the offseason, to win now.
Tatis Jr is off to a hot start at he is hitting .296 with a very impressive .424 on-base percentage. He is getting on-base, scoring lots runs, and plays a slick glove in the field. You can’t mention early season NL MVP candidates without mentioning his name.
Another guy that has been crushing the baseball in 2020 for San Diego, has been veteran slugger Eric Hosmer. Hosmer has seen his production dip some in recent years after being a perennial MVP candidate in his time with the Kansas City Royals. But he is killing it right now as he is hitting .500 with 7 RBI in only 10 at-bats. Hosmer missed yesterday’s game with a non-COVID related illness and is questionable for tonight’s game against Colorado.
Garrett Richards (0-0 0.00 ERA)
Garrett Richards was a star pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels earlier in his career. But injuries have kept him off the field in the last several seasons as he missed nearly all of the last four seasons, appearing just 31 times since 2015. But Richards finally looks healthy now, and if his first start of the season is any indication of what he has left in the gas tank, the Padres could have a reliable starter on their hands.
Richards was great in his previous start against the Arizona Diamondbacks as he threw five innings of shutout ball, allowing just one hit and striking out six. The Padres kept him on a short leash as he threw only 73 pitches, and I would expect him to get a bit deeper into the game tonight, as he starts to stretch out some after the long layoff.
We all knew that coming into this 60-game sprint of a season that anything could happen. But not many people would have believed me if I had told them that after the first full week of action, that the Colorado Rockies would have the best record in the Major Leagues, but here we are, nonetheless. What has been even more surprising for Colorado, is the way they are winning games.
The Rockies inexplicably lead the league in batting average against and are second in ERA. Colorado has yet to allow more than three runs in any single game this year, and teams have scored two runs or fewer against the Rockies in four of their five games. Now, before I start to proclaim that this team, that does not have a good pitching staff, all of the sudden turned into an elite bunch, please note that the Rockies have played the A’s and the Rangers, two teams that couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn at the plate right now, against anybody.
Jon Gray (0-0 1.93 ERA)
Starting pitcher Jon Gray was one of the few highlights of a wasted season last year for Colorado. While the rest of the Rockies starting rotation imploded, Gray was actually pretty good. He won double-digit games for the fourth consecutive season, and his 3.84 ERA was one of the best of his career and was nearly two full runs lower than the rest of the Rockies pitching staff.
In his first start of the year, coming in Texas, against the Rangers, Gray lasted 4.2 innings and gave up one run on three hits. He did see his pitch count swell early, though, as he walked three batters, and that cost him his shot at factoring into the decision and potentially picking up a win. Shockingly, Gray was actually much better at home in 2019 than he was on the road. That isn’t something that many Rockies pitchers can claim as Coors Field is always a tough place to pitch.
Who Do I Like?
I don’t want to discount what the Rockies have been able to do so far this season, but I just don’t see it lasting. They just don’t have the talent on the roster to really compete in the National League West. The only real way I see the Rockies winning enough games to stay in contention is if the lineup catches fire, but that hasn’t been the case so far, as the Rockies are in 29th in the majors in home runs, 26th in slugging, and 24th in runs scored.
I just can’t expect the pitching staff to continue to be anywhere near as good as they have been recently. This staff was one of the worst in the game last year, and they didn’t bring in much to help it in 2020. This is a perfect example of small sample sizes that can confuse bettors. I try to never overreact to a small sample size of games, and this line stinks of just that, a gross overreaction.
Maybe I am wrong, and the Colorado Rockies found a way to take a 71-win team and turn it into a playoff contender with essentially the identical lineup. Or maybe they just had a nice week, and now that they are playing a team that can absolutely hit the baseball, they are going to be exposed.
I tend to think the latter is true, and that the Rockies will hit a rough patch at some point when they start to play the better teams on their schedule. That being said, if you look ahead to the schedule a bit, after this series, the Rockies play the Giants, Mariners, DBacks, and Rangers, all teams that aren’t going to be very good this year.
Could the Rockies ride a soft early schedule and pick up enough momentum to compete out west? Maybe. But right now, the schedule isn’t soft, and I see them losing at home tonight. The Padres are the real deal, and I can see them putting a bunch of crooked numbers up on the board in this one.
The fact that I can get the Padres as underdogs in this game is shockingly high value. If this line reflected the true talent levels between these two teams and not their short-term results, the Padres would be heavily favored. Give me the San Diego Padres as road underdogs tonight in Colorado!