Profitable Pair of MLB Picks: Diamondbacks vs. Padres

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, June 28, 2014 10:58 AM UTC

Saturday, Jun. 28, 2014 10:58 AM UTC

Arizona and San Diego have plenty in common this season, and none of it good. About all there is to play for at this point is to not finish last in the NL West. The Diamondbacks opened as -112 favorites on MLB odds for Saturday's Game 2 of the series.

Front Office Overhauls
Both the Diamondbacks and Padres upped their payrolls significantly this offseason as ownership on both sides thought playoff contention was very possible. Instead, expect fire sales for both sides. Arizona is likely to clean house after the season (if not before) as the franchise hired Tony La Russa in mid-May as its chief baseball officer. GM Kevin Towers and Manager Kirk Gibson are goners at some point. The Padres already fired their GM, Josh Byrnes, and Manager Bud Black can't be far behind. What's crazy is that the Padres might want to hire Towers. He was the team's GM from 1996-2009 when the Padres made four playoff appearances, including a World Series. Currently there's a three-headed monster handling GM duties for Arizona.

The Diamondbacks unfortunately don't have a whole lot that anyone wants to acquire via trade, and whom they would be willing to deal. For example, Paul Goldschmidt isn't going anywhere. The Snakes would deal big offseason acquisition Mark  Trumbo, but he hasn't played since late April and is at least a few more weeks away. If Arizona made Martin Prado available, he might bring something decent in return. Pitching-wise, Bronson Arroyo would have value, but he's on the DL for the first time in his career. Perhaps lefty Wade Miley could be had.

The only Padre hitter who might have any value is Seth Smith. That tells you how bad of an offense San Diego has right now. The Padres definitely have pitching to deal, led by starters Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross, set-up man Joaquin Benoit and closer Huston Street. Expect the latter two to go at a minimum as neither has a no-trade clause.

Probable Pitchers
One of the few bright spots pitching-wise this season for the Diamondbacks has been right-hander Josh Collmenter (6-4, 3.87). He has won two straight outings, but they weren't both starts. On June 20, he allowed a run and four hits over five innings in a victory over San Francisco. Collmenter came out of the bullpen Tuesday to pitch the top of the 14th inning against Cleveland. He didn't allow a run and the Snakes scored in the bottom of the inning to give Collmenter the victory. So he will be technically on short rest here, although Tuesday's outing was essentially equal to a between starts bullpen session.

Collmenter, who is 1-2 with a 4.68 ERA on the road this season, somehow has avoided the Padres thus far in 2014. Last year he faced them seven times, all in relief. He allowed five runs, but just one earned, and 10 hits over 11.2 innings, striking out 11. Smith, one of the few Padres doing much at the plate this season, is 5-for-11 career with a double, triple and homer off Collmenter. Struggling Chase Headley is 0-for-5 with three strikeouts against Collmenter.

Padres lefty Eric Stults (2-10, 5.49) enters the weekend tied for the big-league lead in losses. If you are wondering, the last 20-game loser in the majors was Detroit's Mike Maroth in 2003. Nowadays, no manager is likely going to allow his pitcher to suffer that fate. Stults did recently change his mechanics (higher leg kick) and perhaps it's working. He had probably his best start of the season last time out, holding the Dodgers to two runs and six hits over seven innings. Naturally, the offensively-challenged Padres lost 2-1. Stults' last win came May 10.

Stults pitched in Arizona on May 27 and that was the last time San Diego won in his start (he got a no-decision). The southpaw allowed three runs and five hits over six innings. Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero is 5-for-19 with four doubles, a homer and six knocked in off Stults in his career. Martin Prado is 9-for-24 with a homer and five RBIs.

MLB free picks: Padres +102 and the 'under' 7 runs on MLB odds. Arizona is 5-14 in its past 19 against lefties. San Diego is 9-3 in Stults' past 12 against teams with a losing record. The 'under' is 7-1 in Stults' past eight against the Diamondbacks.

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