We have a busy schedule today for a Monday as we have eleven games on the slate. Most of the eyeballs are going to be focusing on the trade deadline that is just hours away, but don’t let that flurry of action distract you from the fact that we have an action-packed schedule in store for you.
The headlining game of the day is a blockbuster matchup between the streaking Tampa Bay Rays and the suddenly struggling New York Yankees, in a series with loads of playoff implications in the American League East Division. The White Sox and the Twins play in Minneapolis with first place in the AL Central on the line, and the Nationals and the Phillies play in the City of Brotherly Love, both hoping to play their way into the wide-open playoff conversation in the National League. For our free daily betting pick, we will head to Colorado, where the Rockies host the San Diego Padres.
San Diego Padres (21-15) at Colorado Rockies (17-17)
The National League West has been the best division in baseball all season long, and we get an exciting matchup tonight, as the Colorado Rockies host the San Diego Padres in game four of a four-game set. The Rockies started the season hot, struggled in mid-August, and swept the Arizona Diamondbacks in their previous series, before dropping the first two of three games against San Diego. Its been a roller coaster ride of a season for Colorado, but if the season were to end today, the Rockies would be playing in the postseason.
For San Diego, optimism is at an all-time high, as the Padres are playing their best baseball in years, and management has shown they are ready to win now, as they have brought in a bunch of talent this week in trades, and may not be done yet. The Padres have won ten out of their last thirteen games and are closing in on the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the National League.
Starting tonight for the Padres is Garrett Richards (1-2 5.17 ERA), and for the Rockies, it is German Marquez (2-4 4.50 ERA). The game total over/under is set at twelve runs. The Rockies are small -115 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PM PST from Coors Field in Denver.
San Diego Padres
If you thought the San Diego Padres were good before, wait until we get a chance to see this team play next week! The Padres are having one of the best trade deadlines in recent memory, as they are loading up on talent.
The big get for San Diego comes in the form of starting pitcher Mike Clevinger. Clevinger was shipped out of Cleveland more for his attitude, than his ability, as he is one of the best pitchers in the game and will serve well as the Padres ace the rest of the way out.
The Padres also picked up Mitch Moreland, who will hit at DH and is a major upgrade to their lineup, and added closer Trevor Rosenthal, who should slot in nicely with Kirby Yates done for the year. Other impact players added by the Padres this week include Austin Nola, Jason Castro, Austin Adams, and Dan Altavilla. The Padres already had the second-best record in the National League, and they addressed their needs at the plate, on the mound, and in the bullpen, and if these moves work out like many think that they will, the Padres just might be the new favorites in the National League.
Garrett Richards (1-2 5.17 ERA)
Garrett Richards was actually having a very solid bounce-back year for the San Diego Padres before his last two starts. In his first five starts for San Diego, Richards pitched at least five innings in each outing and three times pitched into the seventh inning or later. His ERA of 3.45 was more than enough to give this powerful Padres team a chance to win every time that he pitched.
But Richards has really struggled in his last two starts as he lasted only two innings against the Houston Astros and got hammered by the Seattle Mariners. Against Houston, he had a lot of control problems and allowed four hits and three walks in just two innings. He only gave up one run, but at 64-pitches, the Padres yanked him from the game. In his last start against the Mariners, he got blasted for six earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning worked. Yikes.
As the playoff picture continues to come into better focus as we hit the second half of the season, it is looking increasingly like the Rockies are going to find a way to be playing in the postseason. In the National League, the playoff cut line is stupid soft, and it’s looking like a team with a losing record could make the postseason. So, despite the fact that the Rockies are just 17-17, they currently occupy the first wild card spot in the NL.
Colorado has taken advantage of a soft schedule to stay in the hunt, as of their 17 wins, 12 have come against teams with a losing record. Against teams with a winning record this year, the Rockies are just 5-10. They have played well against San Diego, though, as they are 3-3 against the Padres this year, although they do have a -10 run differential in the games.
German Marquez (2-4 4.50 ERA)
Similar to the rest of this Rockies team, German Marquez has had a season full of ups and downs. In his first three starts of the season, he looked great, as he worked 19 innings and allowed just four earned runs while striking out 21 batters. The Rockies won two of those three games.
But in his last four starts, the Rockies have lost three of them, and he has been getting roughed up. In those four starts, he has allowed a whopping 21 runs. Several of those runs were unearned, so his ERA hasn’t taken as big of a hit as it should have, but he has really struggled. The low point was against the Houston Astros when he gave up ten runs, all earned, in five innings of work. Yikes, again.
Who Do I Like?
How could you ever not want to take the San Diego Padres as underdogs right now? Yeah, Garrett Richards can’t really be trusted, but you can say the same thing about German Marquez. Both of those guys can get thrashed any time that they pitch, so I am calling this starting pitching matchup a wash. One thing you can trust, though, is this San Diego lineup.
The Padres have scored double-digit runs in two of the first three games of this series. They absolutely love hitting up at Coors Field. And this wasn’t just a hot weekend at the dish; the Padres have been doing this all season long, as they already have six games where they have scored at least ten runs. The Padres lead the Major League in runs scored and slugging, and are top three in batting average, on-base percentage, and home runs. This team can absolutely hit the baseball.
I texted my die-hard Padres fan buddy earlier this week and asked him how he felt about his team’s chances in the postseason and what he thought they needed to add at the trade deadline. His response was, if we keep scoring ten runs a game, we don’t need anything. And I could agree more! The Padres addressed their pitching needs and managed to bolster their already deadly lineup, and I see this team scoring a bunch of runs in the second half and winning a lot of games.
That starts tonight in Colorado. I think they hammer German Marquez, and I envision seeing several balls leave the ballpark tonight. As most games are at Coors Field, I would expect a higher scoring game tonight, and if this game turns into a slugfest, I can’t imagine a better team to back than the San Diego Padres right now.
Garrett Richards scares me just a bit, but he did already have a start at Coors Field this year and was serviceable as he pitched into the sixth inning, allowed four runs, and the Padres won the game. If he can post similarly mediocre numbers tonight, it should be more than enough for the Padres to win the game. Give me the San Diego Padres as road underdogs tonight in game four in Denver!