There is a lot of variance when betting baseball. More than any other major sport in fact. And we got bit by some variance last night when we took the under eight runs in the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays game. Both teams had ace level pitchers on the mound, and the Rays had been one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league in the last two weeks. It felt like an obvious under.
Rays pitcher Ryan Yarbrough had allowed more than two runs in a start just once since early June. And Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole had been even better, as he had allowed more than two runs in a start just once since May! All I needed was one of these guys to be that good again, and we had an easy winner.
Instead, both guys had their worst outings in months, and the game sailed over. Cole gave up four earned runs in six and two-thirds of an inning and despite striking out fourteen batters, struggled. And Yarbrough had a rough outing as well, at least by his standards, as he lasted six innings and gave up three runs. And surprisingly both bullpens pitched poorly as well.
It was an outcome that was hard to predict for sure. The Rays had scored more than five runs just twice in their last thirteen games before scoring six runs last night. I am shocked to see they finally found a way to score runs against Gerrit Cole of all people. What can you do, you can’t win them all. For today’s pick, we will head to San Francisco where the Giants host the Padres.
The San Diego Padres will stumble their way to San Francisco Thursday for game one of a four-game series with the Giants. The Padres come in losers of six out of their last eight games and are double-digit games back of even the second wild card in the National League. The Padres have seen the bats go cold since losing rookie sensation Fernando Tatis Jr to a season-ending injury a couple of weeks ago.
For the Giants, they decided to mostly stand pat at the trade deadline after heavy speculation that they would be dumping talent, and it appears that the move has backfired as they are just 10-14 in the month of August. That being said, they are just one hot streak away from getting back into the mix in the NL, and we saw in July, where they led the majors in wins, that they can certainly get hot and string together wins.
Starting for the Padres is rookie Chris Paddack (7-7 3.84 ERA), and for the Giants it is Dereck Rodriguez (5-6 5.26 ERA). The game total over-under is set at eight runs. The Padres are -123 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 6:45 PM PST from Oracle Park in San Francisco.
Chris Paddack was having a great start to his major league career through his first several months. Through the month of July, he had a winning record and a sub-three-run ERA. Those are solid numbers for anybody, but especially for a twenty-three-year-old making his debut in the show. But Paddack has hit that oh so common rookie wall here in August as his production has fallen off of a cliff.
In August, Paddack is an abysmal 0-2 with a 10.06 ERA in four starts. The Padres are just 1-3 with Paddack on the mound during the month. He has failed to make it out of the fifth inning in three of those four starts and has gotten blasted for six home runs and twenty earned runs in seventeen innings of work. He pitched against these Giants at Oracle Park back in June and was mediocre at best as he lasted just five innings, gave up three earned runs, and the Padres lost the game.
Dereck Rodriguez was great last year in his rookie season with the Giants but has been inconsistent this year for San Francisco. After posting a 2.81 ERA in twenty-one appearances last year, he has posted a 5.26 ERA in twenty-one appearances so far this season. The big difference between last year and this year is that last year Rodriguez was starting just about every time he pitched, this year, it has been about an even split. And the guy just doesn’t pitch well out of the bullpen.
The Giants have realized this as of late and have returned Rodriguez back to the rotation, and he has shown flashes of his old self. Two starts ago he tossed seven shutout innings against the Arizona DBacks. Two starts before that, he threw five innings of one-run ball, in Colorado, against the Rockies.
He got roughed up in his last start against the Cubs, but he certainly seems more comfortable starting than relieving. Against the Padres this season he has been great as he has made two starts and pitched a combined twelve innings and allowed just four runs. The Padres hit just .186 against him in those two games. And that was back when they could score runs.
This is an interesting game. On paper, the Giants are the better team, but not by all that much. The big difference between these two teams right now is that the Padres have clearly given up on the season, while the Giants are still fighting to stay in contention. That doesn’t mean that the Padres won’t be trying to play spoiler tonight against a division rival, but it does mean they aren’t going to do anything that could bankrupt their future to do so.
Chris Paddack, much like the rest of this Padres team here in August, just looks like he has run out of gas. It happens. These young guys just aren’t used to this long of a season, and Paddack has been a regular in the rotation since opening day, he could use a break for sure. And I see his struggles continuing tonight on the road.
As far as Rodriguez goes? He is deservedly an underdog, but I love home dogs, and I think he is worth a play tonight. He has been inconsistent, but this Padres team just can’t score runs in the last two weeks, and I don’t see a compelling reason as to why they would snap out of that funk tonight. So, I will back the Giants as home underdogs and expect a competitive game, where the Giants find a way to take care of business on their home field. Give me the San Francisco Giants at +113 tonight in game one!