Rangers Are Pick for Interleague Matinee at Padres on Tuesday, May 9

matt bush rangers

Matthew Jordan

Monday, May 8, 2017 6:32 PM GMT

There’s a rare Tuesday matinee on the baseball schedule this week, and it’s an interleague matchup between the Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres at 3:40 ET as they wrap up the first two-game set at Petco Park.

MLB Season Record: 11-6

Texas Rangers At San Diego Padres (+114, 8)

I don’t know about you, but when I think of heated rivals in baseball, I think Rangers-Padres! OK, maybe not. But they are “natural rivals” when it comes to interleague scheduling. After completing a quick two-game set in San Diego on Tuesday night, the teams head to Arlington for two more and then are done with one another.

That the Padres are well under .500 and loitering by the NL West basement is not a surprise. San Diego has the most anonymous roster in the majors and had a win total of just 65.5 on MLB odds entering the season. That was the lowest total in the majors. I rather doubt the Friars top that mark, but the franchise does have some good prospects and might be good in a couple of years.

That Texas is in the AL West basement is a surprise. The Rangers lost their co-ace, Cole Hamels, last week for two months due to an oblique injury, and I believe that kills the team’s hopes to make the playoffs. Rangers fans may point to 2015 when the team was 9½ games back in the division as late as May 20 before catching the Astros with a big second half to win the AL West. Just don’t see that in 2017 without Hamels. In fact, the Rangers could now trade their other ace, Yu Darvish, ahead of the July 31 trade deadline as he’s expected to opt out of his contract and become a free agent. On Bovada’s MLB odds, the Rangers are +1200 to win the AL West with current leader Houston at -800.

The Rangers’ rotation has been good as it has a 3.44 ERA as of Monday that’s fourth in the majors. The bullpen has been an abject disaster with an ERA of 5.63 that’s 29th. Sam Dyson already has lost his closer’s role to Matt Bush. He is one of the big stories of this series as Bush plays his first big-league games in San Diego.

The Padres selected the hometown Bush No. 1 overall in the 2004 draft out of high school in what many considered a reach. Bush, however, had problems with alcohol and legal issues – among other things, spending 51 months in jail from a hit-and-run wreck during spring training in 2012 -- and never came close to reaching the majors with the Friars. San Diego drafted him as an infielder and Bush moved to pitcher in 2007 but also had to have Tommy John surgery. Bush made his MLB debut last year with Texas and has been very good this season with a 2-0 record, 1.69 ERA and a save in 10 appearances as of Monday.

 

Probable Pitchers

Texas goes with right-hander A.J. Griffin. It will be a big night for him as he’s also from the city and went to the University of San Diego. Griffin (3-0, 3.54) has never pitched a big-league game at Petco Park or against the Padres. He comes off a win in Houston on Thursday, allowing one earned run over five innings with seven strikeouts. All three of Griffin’s wins have come on the road. A few Padres have faced Griffin while on other teams. Erick Aybar is 2-for-8 with a homer. Wil Myers is 1-for-3.

San Diego starts veteran right-hander Jered Weaver, who might be on the verge of losing his rotation spot. Weaver (0-3, 5.51) can’t even hit the mid-80s on his fastball these days and the Padres have lost all six of his starts. He was shelled last time out at home by Colorado, giving up seasons highs of 10 runs (five earned) and 10 hits over four innings. Weaver has allowed 12 homers already. That’s the most in the National League by far. Seventeen of the 20 runs he has allowed this have come via the long ball.

Weaver was a long-time Angel so he knows the Rangers well. Keep in mind that Texas loses the DH for this game. Usually either Shin-Soo Choo or Mike Napoli plays there, but Choo can play the outfield and Napoli at first. I believe both will be in there since Choo is a career .405 hitter off Waver in 42 at-bats and Napoli is 13-for-35 off him with three homers. Nomar Mazara is 6-for-9 off Weaver with a dinger.

On the last six games I have chosen a total instead of a side, I’m 6-0. I’ve missed my past two on the side, including a crushing one last Friday when the Cubs were my pick vs. the Yankees, were up 2-0 and down to the final strike in the top of the ninth to win before Hector Rondon allowed a three-run homer and Chicago lost 3-2. Alas, I like the side here better than the total, and the Rangers are the MLB pick. Texas has won six straight Griffin starts on a Tuesday. San Diego is 4-12 in its past 16 vs. a right-handed starter.

MLB Free Pick: Rangers -124Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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