The San Diego Padres are in Seattle Wednesday for game two of a quick two-game series with the Mariners, looking for the sweep. The Padres took game on last night 9-4, behind a sterling outing from Dinelson Lamet, who hit the seventh inning with a no-hitter intact. Lamet couldn’t hold onto history but did manage to pitch seven shutout innings and picked up the win for his efforts. The San Diego lineup provided plenty of support as they saw home runs from Fernando Tatis Jr, Eric Hosmer, and Josh Naylor in the win.
The Padres badly needed the win as they came in losers of three out of four to the Los Angeles Dodgers in their last series and are quickly falling out of contention for the National League wild card. San Diego is now six and a half games back and would need a miracle to get back in the mix. That being said, this team is still playing hard each and every night, despite losing some top-line talent at the trade deadline.
For Seattle, the Mariners have yet to win a game this month and are very much out of contention as they are nineteen games back of even the second wild card in the American League. Seattle traded away several pieces both during the season and at the trade deadline, and this team won’t be winning many games the rest of the way out.
Starting for the Mariners is Yusei Kikuchi (4-8 5.49 ERA), and for the Padres it is Joey Lucchesi (7-6 4.23 ERA). The game total over-under is set at nine and a half runs. The Padres are -148 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 3:40 PM PST from T-Mobile Park in Seattle.
The Seattle Mariners knew coming into this season that winning wasn’t a top priority. With a hot start early in the season, they delayed the inevitable, but by the time the smoke cleared, they ended up doing just what everyone thought they would, and that was dumping talent. The M’s traded away Edwin Encarnacion, Jay Bruce, Hunter Strickland, Roenis Elias, and Mike Leake. And on top of trading away talent, they have lost several more impact players to either injury or suspension.
Tim Beckham just got suspended eighty games for PEDs, Felix Hernandez is on the sixty-day IL, as is Ryon Healy, and Dee Gordon is banged up and out of the lineup. This team has almost no one of value left at this point. Last night’s lineup featured guys like Keon Broxton, Dylan Moore, and Austin Nola. Yeah, I don’t know who those guys are either.
One guy that has managed to stay on the squad is tonight’s starter, Yusei Kikuchi. And that was mostly because nobody wanted him. The Japanese rookie has not enjoyed a successful major league debut as his ERA is a sky-high 5.49 and he is just 4-8 on the year. And things seem to be getting worse for Kikuchi as he has allowed fifteen earned runs in his last three starts, spanning just fifteen and two-thirds of an inning.
Kikuchi has been prone to the occasional blowup start as he has allowed more than four runs in a start eight times already this season. In five of those starts, he has gotten bombed for at least six runs. The big problem for Kikuchi is that he can’t stop giving up home runs. The guy has allowed twenty-eight homers already this season. That is the second-most in the American League. Opposing hitters are slashing nearly .300 against Kikuchi this season. While the Padres did just trade away one of their top power hitters in Franmil Reyes, they still have several guys that can hit the long ball, and I expect several baseballs to leave the building tonight in Seattle.
Joey Lucchesi hasn’t taken the big step up in performance that many thought he would after a solid rookie campaign last year. While he hasn’t been bad, he has been pretty much the same guy as he was last year. His WAR has more than doubled, showing that he has improved some, but his ERA is nearly identical, and his win/loss record is very similar as well.
It hasn’t been all bad for Lucchesi, as at times the guy has been pretty good. He has eleven starts where he has allowed two runs or less. And tonight, against a Seattle team that just doesn’t have a lot of firepower left, I expect him to be very good.
Look, if you read my picks daily, you know that I hate betting favorites. It is just so much easier to find value backing underdogs. But every once in a while, I will take a long hard look at a favorite, if I think the number is undervalued. And that is the case tonight. The Mariners had a very unlikely six-game winning streak right before they gutted themselves at the trade deadline. But besides that six-game spurt, this team has been awful for the last several weeks. Even if you throw in that fluky win streak, this team is just 7-17 since July first. Ouch.
I think Lucchesi mows through this weak Seattle lineup, and Kikuchi always gives up some runs. Literally always, as Kikuchi hasn’t had a single start this year where he didn’t give up at least one run. And he hasn’t given up fewer than two earned runs in a start since early June. And even if Kikuchi somehow finds a way to not be terrible, the Mariners still have one of the worst bullpens in the league on the year, and most of that was before trading away a couple of their best bullpen arms.
All of this adds up to a blowout for San Diego. I glanced at the run line, and while I do think there is a good chance that the Padres blow this one out by multiple runs, the premium just wasn’t enough to sway my action. You are only getting a fifty-cent premium on the run line tonight, that just isn’t going to be enough for me. So, I will just back San Diego on the money line and feel like I am collecting some free money in what should be a laugher. Give me the San Diego Padres as road favorites tonight in game two at -148!