Bet on Bullpen: Padres Over Diamondbacks

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 12:35 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 28, 2014 12:35 PM UTC

NL West rivals continue to tussle with the season prize for success meaning staying out of last place in the division. This game will not be on everyone’s radar for sports picks, but we will name a winner!

Padres Offense is Offensive
How doleful is the San Diego offense, as a team they are hitting more than 20 points below the National League average with dead-ball era figure of .224. If they can use a humidor at Coors Field to add density to the baseballs, maybe somebody should look in a closet to find any leftover balls from so-called “Steroid Era” where those spheres were so tightly-wound they looked like Joan Rivers face. 

It is close to impossible to beat the betting odds with an offense averaging 3.2 runs a game. Save Seth Smith, the Padres offense fires more blanks than a gun range. If they can wheel Carlos Quentin, and his bad knees, out into the playing field, at least they have a player with some pop in the bat. The Friars cannot beat the MLB odds when a few more runs are scored in any given contest, which is why they are 13-22 in games decided by two or more runs. 

Offensive Inefficiency another Reason Why Arizona is a Bad Bet 
In several articles here at SBR, I have harped about how terrible the D-Backs starting pitching has been. I will take a week off, and explain why the offense is a factor in Arizona being the third-worst wager in Bud Selig’s kingdom. 

It starts with GM Kevin Towers, who in the last three years has changed his mind a few times what kind of offensive attack he wants. After posting 81 wins in 2012, Towers decided to go get slash hitters, and more speed through trades and free agent signings. He determined slugger Paul Goldschmidt needs a “power guy” around him, and traded starting pitching for Mark Trumbo. It’s not Towers fault that Trumbo got hurt, but one year after remaking the roster with a collection of slightly above ordinary players not known for power, he changed his mind to put a different team on the field, which failed to reach four runs a game in a hitter’s park. 

Lastly, try and understand their hitting philosophy. The Diamondbacks hitters are being taught to be selective, but are aggressive when they get “their pitch” to hit. Thus, they start out working the count, but are seemingly nervously-aggressive as the pitches per at bat mount. A team in dire need of base runners is last on walks in the league and 12th in OBP; yet another reason why the Snakes are 3-13 in games decided by four or more runs. 

Pitching Matchup for Wednesday 
Tim Stauffer (2-0, 1.90 ERA, 1.23 WHIP) had been relegated to bullpen work this season until called upon to step in for Robbie Erlin in the rotation. His first outing was excellent after allowing two hits, and one walk with five strikeouts in five scoreless innings vs. the Cubs last Friday. Those constructing MLB picks are aware of Stauffer’s many injury woes, and understand he’s not a long term solution with an elbow injury waiting to happen. His fastball is adequate, and his change is devastating to left-handed hitters (.173 BA). 

Out of necessity, the Diamondbacks brought up 26-year old Chase Anderson (2-0, 5.06, 1.13) to the big club. His ERA could well be lower after he threw three shutout innings against Mets in his last start, but the rains came and washed the game and his stats out. Anderson has so-so stuff, but incorporates a knee-buckling changeup. However, in the nine hits he’s surrendered in just over 10 official innings, three have gone over the fence.

Bullpen View
Say what you will about San Diego’s pathetic offense, at least the bullpen gives the Padres a chance to win. San Diego relievers have the second-best ERA in the NL, and they are the finest in OPS (On-Base + Slugging percentages). Closer Houston Street is at the masthead with the Padres registering a save percentage of 89 percent. The only downside to MLB baseball handicappers is that after a 7-0 record, this contingent had dropped four consecutive decisions, before picking up a W last night. 

After a disastrous start, the D-Backs bullpen has been much improved: now middle of the pack in ERA and OBP. Early on, this group was shell-shocked as starting pitchers were getting rocked, and they kept having to pitch too often in the third or fourth innings, and burning through arms. Arizona is still second the usage, but they have pitchers with different deliveries to fool hitters. Only Atlanta and L.A. Dodgers average more strikeouts per inning out of the pen. 

Head to Head Combat and Betting Odds
San Diego has seen their fair share of success in downtown Phoenix with a 12-8 record at Chase Field since 2012. The total has slightly favored the 'over' at 10-9-1 in that time span. In the series rubber match, sportsbooks have made Arizona a -120 favorite with the total 'over' 9. 

The Winner Is….
Found in the bullpen, as neither starting pitcher appears to be a real asset in this encounter. This is where San Diego has the edge. Arizona does not have the offense to take advantage of the Padres shortcomings in scoring and they are 2-9 in home games vs. a NL team with an on base percentage .315 or worse this season. 

MLB Free Picks – San Diego wins


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