Both starters in this game are coming off of sub-par performances in their season openers, but our handicapper believes one is worth following with your MLB picks tonight.
The San Diego Padres (4-3) host the Arizona Diamondbacks (3-3) on Monday night featuring Padres starter Andrew Cashner, who was excellent at home last year sporting a 1.43 ERA at Petco Park. Cashner had a rocky start to this season though, losing to the Dodgers 7-4 in his debut while giving up 3 dingers to Adrian Gonzalez. Cashner has enjoyed recent success against the Diamondbacks; however, recording a team .216 AVG against them in 2014. Toeing the rubber for the Diamondbacks is Rubby De La Rosa (pun intended), who is 1-0 early this season but gave up 6 earned runs in his opening game versus the San Francisco Giants. The weather in San Diego is expected to be picture perfect (again) in the upper 60’s and sunny at first pitch. At writing, San Diego is favored on the money line for this game at -165, with the MLB odds O/U lying at 6.5 runs.
Cashner hasn’t only enjoyed a home field advantage in Petco in 2014, in 2013 he had a 1.95 ERA in 78 IP. He employs a strategy mixing about 70% fastballs with the rest equally sliders and changeups. Cashner’s fastball is a plus-pitch sitting at an average over 96 MPH, while his off speed pitches come in around 85-87, a great change in pace to keep batters off balance. He strikes out over 3 times as many batters as he walks, so expect him to be pounding the zone again on Monday night. Although not many walks were to his credit last year at all; interestingly enough almost half of Cashner’s walks against Arizona last year were to Miguel Montero, who is fortunately now a Chicago Cub. To say that he is comfortable pitching at home would be an understatement. Keep that in mind for all MLB picks taking place here. In Cashner’s eleven starts at home last year he pitched two complete game shutouts. It will be interesting to see how the fences being moved in at Petco affects Cashner’s home/away splits this year.
Visiting starter Rubby De La Rosa did not find much success on the road last year with the Boston Red Sox, suffering a 5.40 ERA when pitching away from home. He didn’t find much success in his first game at home this year either but escaped with the win. De La Rosa gave up a pair of home runs and three doubles to the Giants in Arizona and struggled most of the game, save for a short stretch where he retired seven batters in a row. I’d say that the Giants’ lineup is weaker than San Diego’s at this time, which doesn’t bode well for Rubby in this game. De La Rosa is a fastball-changeup type pitcher, but with only 7 MPH difference between the two pitches his margin for error is quite low.
If you want the predicted outcome with the highest probability, it is that De La Rosa gets tagged for his fair share of runs Monday night. With the O/U set low at 6.5 runs it is tempting to take the Over based on this fact alone. However, I’m going to take the more conservative route in this game and ride the two year trend of Andrew Cashner pitching excellent at home in Petco, laying the juice and taking San Diego to win at -165.
Free MLB Pick: Padres -150 at Pinnacle