San Diego is a -119 favorite on MLB odds with a total of 7.5 tonight against the L.A. Dodgers, who look to complete a three-game sweep on Sunday with a win in San Diego.
What You Need To Know
So far, the aggressive offseason moves made by San Diego Padres GM A.J. Preller seem to have paid off. The Padres had one of the worst offenses in franchise history last season but are among the big-league scoring leaders in 2015 despite playing half their games in pitcher-friendly Petco Park. The new starting outfielders of Matt Kemp (the former Dodger), Justin Upton and Wil Myers are all off to good starts, as is new third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Preller may not be done as it's been reported that he would like to upgrade over shortstop Alexi Amarista. The pitching staff was already pretty good and it's been excellent thus far with the No. 6 ERA in baseball thanks in part to additions James Shields and closer Craig Kimbrel.
I suppose you could say the Dodgers have been slightly disappointing so far, none more than three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw. He is just 1-1 with a 4.07 ERA that is more than double his ERA from last year. I'm sure the Dodgers aren't worried. It's too soon to make any definitive calls on this team until projected No. 3 starter Hyun-Jin Ryu and closer Kenley Jansen make their season debuts. Ryu (shoulder) is targeting end of May but that's probably overly optimistic. Jansen is looking at mid-May as he returns from foot surgery. Offensively, your early NL MVP is probably first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, the former Padre. Entering Sunday, he is second in the NL in average (.403), first in homers (seven) and RBIS (18).
The Dodgers remain -250 favorites at sportsbooks to win the NL West again with San Diego next at +300.
Originally this was to be left-hander Brett Anderson's start for the Dodgers but they have opted instead to go with veteran journeyman right-hander Scott Baker. It probably will be just the one start as he was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. The Dodgers want to give the rest of the rotation a bit of rest as after Thursday they will play on 17 consecutive days. Baker was 1-1 with a 1.06 ERA in 17 innings in three starts in Triple-A. I wouldn't read too much into that as Baker is 66-52 with a 4.25 ERA career over nine seasons with the Twins, Cubs and Rangers. He was 3-4 with a 5.47 ERA in 25 appearances for Texas in 2014. The Yankees had him in camp this spring but released him and the Dodgers inked him to a minor-league deal. Carl Crawford has faced him the most of any Dodger and is 8-for-20 with a homer. Gonzalez is 2-for-8 with a homer.
The MLB odds favorites tonight, the Padres, start a reclamation project of their own in right-hander Brandon Morrow. He always has had great stuff but can't stay healthy. He spent 2010-14 with the Blue Jays and didn't top 54.1 innings the previous two seasons. The Padres got him on a bargain-basement one-year, $2.5 million deal although there are plenty of incentive in there, as much as $8 million. So far so good as Morrow has a 3.15 ERA in 20 innings allowing just 17 hits and one homer. One concern might be he's getting worse. Start No. 1: no runs and just four hits allowed in seven innings vs. the Giants; start No. 2: two runs, seven hits allowed in seven innings vs. Diamondbacks; last start: five runs and six hits allowed in six inning at Rockies (could be Coors Field factor). Not many Dodgers have faced him. Gonzalez is 5-for-14 with two doubles and three RBIs. Carl Crawford is 3-for-18 with two doubles and a run knocked in. Howie Kendrick is 2-for-14 with a double and two RBIs.
MLB Free Picks: Go Padres and 'over' at 5Dimes. Hard to trust either pitcher but especially Baker. The Dodgers are 1-6 in their past seven as an underdog.