It is the second contest in interleague confrontation between these two SoCal squads who have flummoxed those constructing MLB picks to this point of the season with their pedestrian play.
Both teams have shown weaknesses the majority of MLB baseball handicappers would not have figured with San Diego giving up an alarming amount of runs and the Los Angeles Angels seldom being able to assemble a consistent offense after having the top offense in the majors a year ago.
Here is what to look for tonight in this West Coast clash.
Padres Pitching and Wildly Unstable Hitting Limiting San Diego
San Diego is 21-25 (-4.9 units) and the play of the Padres has manager Bud Black squarely on the hot seat. This team is dealing with two substantial problems which make them neither a good nor realistically a bad choice for sports picks versus the MLB odds.
It is confounding to see an organization built around pitching laboring at 11th in the National League in ERA (4.17) and OBP and all the way down to 14th in OPS at .768. The answer why is clear, they give up too many big hits and cannot keep the ball in the park. San Diego has surrendered the most home and total bases in the NL and you cannot possibly beat the MLB odds with that combination.
If you Google the term –feast or famine – today one of the choices on the first page will be a Padres lineup card. This season already they have scored two or fewer runs 15 times and been shutout in eight of those, yet have on 10 other occasions scored seven or more runs in a contest. What would you expect tonight, heads or tails sounds like the right answer.
Angels Laboring to Score with Non-Productive Players
After averaging 4.77 runs per game a season ago, the Angels (23-22, -0.9) are down nearly a full run at 3.80 in 3015, which is 13th in the AL. This impatient group of batters does little to help themselves ranked next to last in OBP at under .300 walking the third-fewest walks in the league. Yes, Kansas City has fewer free passes than L.A. but the amount of production in batted balls in play is no comparison.
Consider the batting averages of these players with at least 90 at bats. Albert Pujols is at .228, David Freese .218, C.J. Cron .204. Chris Ianetta .169 and Matt Joyce at .176, hardly numbers you can win many games with, With the exception of Mike Trout and to a lesser degree Kole Calhoun, this offense is stuck in neutral.
No doubt all of the aforementioned hitters who are struggling can and likely will hit better as the season progresses but enough to make the Halos a World Series contender, unlikely.
Pitching Matchup – Despaigne vs. Shoemaker
Odrisamer Despaigne’s (2-3, 6.11 ERA) place in the starting rotation is starting to come into question. In his last three starts is has allowed 17 runs in only 15 innings for 10. 93 ERA and on the season RH hitters are knocking him around at .310 clip. Including his relief appearances he’s given up five long balls in only 35 1/3 innings. Though the righty changes speeds on all his pitches, location can be his undoing.
Before placing your MLB picks note that Matt Shoemaker (3-4, 6.29 ERA) has hardly been any better with a 7.87 ERA in his last trio of starts. He’s been plagued by the long ball giving up six in those starts and 13 in only 44 1/3 innings. Pitching in a pitcher park in Anaheim, Shoemaker is 0-3 with a horrible 9.45 ERA.
Odds and Outcome
Sportsbooks like Wagerweb.ag have the Angels as -160 favorites with the total at 8, but they are only 11-9 at the Big A and 14-13 as favorites on the season after last night’s narrow win. San Diego is 10-13 away from Petco Park and is an awful 8-16 when in the role of underdog.
Based on the season neither starting pitcher figures to be long for this contest but if it close late, the Angels bullpen has been superior and they are 41-19 vs. an average bullpen whose ERA is 3.75 to 4.50 the last two seasons.
MLB Free Pick – Los Angeles wins