By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
* 2019 MLB Record: 93-74-4 (55.7%) *
[10:00 p.m. EST] Under 7.5 – Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres
PHI: Aaron Nola – R (6-0, 4.18 ERA/1.48 WHIP)
SD: Eric Lauer – L (4-4, 4.45 ERA/1.26 WHIP)
The two most-sought-after free agents from this offseason will go head-to-head for the first time with their new ball clubs. Each of these teams will also be looking to get back on the good foot after losing some games recently – the Phils with four straight and the Padres with five in their last seven.
Aaron Nola has been a solid mix of good and lucky with the number of walks he’s allowed, but tonight’s outing should veer more to the side of dominant. The Padres have struggled mightily against right-handed pitching over the last 14 days, with a .294 wOBA, .166 ISO and 30.2% K-rate. Nola has allowed exactly one run in five of his last seven outings, so the Padres could be in for trouble once again.
Eric Lauer will be pitching on his 24th birthday and he’s been fantastic lately, allowing only three earned runs over his last 18 innings. In fact, Lauer’s only bad outing since early April came at Coors Field against the Rockies’ talented lineup. The home/road splits have been much more in his favor at PETCO Park, where Lauer has a 2.67 ERA, as opposed to the 6.84 ERA he’s amassed on the road.
All in all, both offenses haven’t been great over the last 14 days. Perhaps, the Phils get a couple of solo shots out of the yard tonight, but it appears like we’ll have a classic low-scoring game in San Diego.
* Final Score Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies: 4 – San Diego Padres: 1 *
[10:00 p.m. EST] Over 9.5 – Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners
HOU: Corbin Martin – R (1-1, 5.51 ERA/1.71 WHIP)
SEA: Wade LeBlanc – L (1-1, 6.99 ERA/1.66 WHIP)
The Astros’ offense hasn’t been as dominant without the trio of Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa all on the shelf, but they’ll certainly have a chance to do some major damage tonight.
Wade LeBlanc has gotten beat around in the majority of his starts this season, and that has certainly produced a lot of runs in those outings. In fact, the six outings which LeBlanc has started this season have averaged a game-total of 16 runs. Yikes! Bad for the Mariners, but good for us bettors of the over tonight.
One thing always working against the Mariners is their defense, which leads MLB with 69 errors – 22 more than the second-worst team. Seattle’s offense can add some fuel to the over here as well, as its 106 homers rank second-best in MLB and 41 stolen bases rank third.
Corbin Martin hasn’t been that same dominant pitcher that we all remember from his MLB debut on Mother’s Day. In his most recent outing, the Cubs’ offense lit him up for three solo homers in 3 2/3 innings. Speaking on the Mariners’ power above, they should be able to take advantage of Martin’s recent struggles. Sure, Jay Bruce has moved on to Philly (and he probably won’t be the last player on this team to be traded), but they do have enough guys to fill the power void.
The proof is in the pudding when LeBlanc takes the mound – runs go on the board. Martin should serve up a long ball or two, giving us a nice path to the over tonight.
* Final Score Prediction: Houston Astros: 10 – Seattle Mariners: 6 *