The baseball odds haven't been kind to the San Diego Padres or the Arizona Diamondbacks. They're going to have to scramble to catch up in the National League West.
All that excitement surrounding the San Diego Padres and their offseason rebuild, and what has it got them? Sweet diddly. One month into the 2015 regular season, the Padres are 15-14 with a deficit of 0.01 units. One simoleon. They're also staring up at the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West standings, just like every other team in the division. Meet the new future, same as the old future.
At least they're doing better than the Arizona Diamondbacks. But not much: Arizona is 11-14 (minus-1.52 units) after losing seven of the past 10 games. There isn't a lot of difference in their MLB Odds for Thursday's series opener, either. As we go to press, the Snakes are +104 home dogs, with Rubby De La Rosa scheduled to start against Odrisamer Despaigne.
Maybe the Padres need another offseason or two of wheeling and dealing from A.J. Preller before they reach the next level. Justin Upton (.923 OPS) and Derek Norris (.810 OPS) have been solid upgrades, but Matt Kemp (.760 OPS) has been a little slow out of the gate, and the 4-5-6 positions are hitting even worse than they did last year, which is difficult to do.
But it's the pitching where San Diego has come up short. Going into Wednesday's action, the Padres were No. 28 overall at plus-0.6 WAR, hamstrung by injuries to Brandon Morrow (3.54 FIP) and new set-up man Shawn Kelley (3.02 FIP last year with the New York Yankees), among others. Despaigne (4.52 FIP) doesn't seem to be fooling batters with his weird delivery the way he did last year (3.74 FIP) as a rookie, and he'll be making his first start since being demoted to the bullpen two weeks ago.
Having said that, Despaigne did win his two starts this year, including a 5-1 victory over the Diamondbacks (+115) at Petco Park. When he's on, the Cuban native with the Anthony Davis unibrow has a baffling “slow curve” that's about as unpredictable as a knuckleball. And that's one of just three curveballs in his arsenal. But Despaigne probably can't sustain that ridiculous .159 BABIP, especially surrounded by that no-glove, no-hit infield.
The Diamondbacks probably should be doing better than they are. They have better numbers than San Diego across the board, most notably in the pitching department, where they rank No. 15 overall at 2.2 WAR. But once you take strength of schedule into account, Arizona ends up at minus-0.7 SRS, behind San Diego at minus-0.5 SRS. The Snakes kicked off the month of May by getting swept by the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine, while the Padres were busy sweeping the Colorado Rockies at home.
De La Rosa (4.45 FIP) is doing about as well as you'd expect. He's been throwing his 94-mph fastball a bit less often since coming over from the Boston Red Sox, but he's still throwing it over half the time. As a result, De La Rosa is getting more strikeouts and drawing fewer walks, but he's also giving up more home runs and inducing fewer grounders. He's like the anti-Despaigne. Arizona is 2-3 in De La Rosa's five starts for a deficit of minus-0.6 units.
So did you pick up 1B Yadier Alonso like we recommended last time? He's still only 10% owned in Yahoo leagues, despite a .847 OPS and a .333 batting average. It'd help if Alonso played every day, of course, but assuming he plays in Thursday's opener (9:40 p.m. ET), he's worth a go. Alonso is 1-for-3 lifetime against De La Rosa, that one hit being a home run. As a team, current San Diego hitters are 9-of-30 with a .864 OPS, so we'll run with the Fathers for our MLB picks and pray that Despaigne can keep it together on the mound.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Padres