If the Padres are going to be a
contender in the West they’ll need to improve at home.
The Padres hope the turnaround begins tonight when
they host the Astros in the first of four at Petco Park in San Diego.
Game time is 7:05 PM PT with Tim Stauffer going for
San Diego opposite Houston’s Bud Norris. MLB lines opened with the Padres as -140
favorites and the moneyline has since moved to -130 with the total going from
6.5 to 6.
San Diego is a staggering 9-20 at home and has
scored just 65 runs. They’re hoping that a just completed 4-2 road trip will
give them the jump start they need to get back in the race in the National
League West. If that’s to happen the offense will need to participate and not
The Padres ended their road trip with a 4-3 loss in
Atlanta (which was John Ryan's 20* pick, so well done if you had that) on Wednesday giving them a total of
19 runs in the six games. However the pitching staff came up big again, holding
the Nationals and Braves to 17 runs in the past six games.
The Astros brook out their brooms at Wrigley Field
taking all three games from the Cubs including Wednesday’s series finale 3-1.
Brett Myers continued his dominance of Chicago working six innings and giving
up just three hits and a run. He’s beaten the Cubs six straight and is now 12-3
lifetime. Offensively the Astros lineup produced 11 hits including two apiece
for Michael Bourn, Clint Barmes, Cliff Lee and Jeff Keppinger. Jason Michaels
added a home run for Houston.
Overall the Astros are third in the National League
in hitting (.261) and 17th in runs per game (4.12). What’s killing
Houston is the lack of a true home run threat. They’re 26th in home
runs (36) and their next four-games will be played in the toughest hitters parks
I’ll put on my meteorologist hat for a moment and
tell you that this time of year the air is very ‘heavy’ in San Diego. The
marine layers moves in from the coast and long fly balls that would over the
fence in other ballparks are nothing more than warning track outs at Petco
Park. If you’ve heard the expression “June Gloom” it’s a weather term, not to
be confused with a forecast of the Padres fortunes.
SD has slugged just 34 home runs this year and is last in both scoring (3.39) and
hitting (.230). Ryan Ludwick, who once upon a time hit as many as 37 homers in
a season (2008), has just eight this season. San Diego is next to last in runs
scored (190) and the bottom line, just like it was last year and the year
before that, it’s pitching or bust for manager Bud Black’s team.
Tim Stauffer (1-3, 3.60) will be on the hill tonight
for the Padres as he goes for his second-straight win after beating the
Nationals 2-1 in his last outing. This will be just his third lifetime
appearance against the Astros with the previous two starts yielding no
Bud Norris (2-4, 3.76) will be out to snap a string
of losses and no-decisions dating back to May 1. He beat the Padres on April 14
twirling six scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory.
‘under’ looks safe
Based on recent history, it’s tough to imagine that
either of these teams will do much in the way of scoring this weekend. The
Padres are averaging just over two runs per game at home where the ‘under’ has
cashed for baseball bettors to the tune of 16-11-2 at home. Overall San Diego is on a 9-3 streak to
the low side.
The Astros may not be the team to take advantage of
the Padres Petco problems. Houston is just 11-17 on the road and is giving up
5.25 runs per game as a visitor.
Harvey’s take: Put me down for the ‘under’ in each game of the
series and we’ll settle up things on Monday.