Padres -103: It’s not often that a matchup shakes out well for a team as bad as the Padres, but I think it does here. I mentioned a few days ago when take a Padres over that they actually hit left handers pretty well. With a 108 wRC+ against lefties that Pads come in 7th in the league in that category, and today they face one of the worst lefties around. Marlins starter Justin Nicolino is just plain awful. His K/9 of 4.24 K/9 is dead last in baseball, his xFIP of 5.06 is 12th worst in baseball, and his average exit velocity allowed of 91.9 MPH is 5th worst in baseball. Couple that with the already mentioned success the Padres have with lefties and this is a recipe for disaster for Nicolino this afternoon. Against him is a young Rule 5 guy the Padres picked up from St. Louis, Luis Perdomo. Perdomo has only made 2 starts this year, to go with 15 relief appearances. His numbers are terribly skewed by some awful bad luck. On the year he’s got a .431 BABIP to go with a 60.7% strand rate and a 24.1% HR/FB rate. All of which means his xFIP of 4.48 is more than 5 runs lower than his 9.50 ERA. He’s got a respectable K rate of 7.75 K/9 and an above average fastball that averages 94.2 MPH. Unlike Nicolino there are actually a few things to like here, I like the Padres laying only 3 cents in this one.
D-Backs +205: Plays like this are never easy to make, but I’m going to go against Clayton Kershaw here. There’s no need to go into the numbers as everyone already knows Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher on the planet. If there is a time for him to possibly get beat up a little bit it could be today though. The D-Backs come into this one with a wRC+ of 117 against left handers which is 3rd best in baseball. On the flip side the Dodgers who will be facing left hander Patrick Corbin have an 81 wRC+ against lefties which is 3rd worst in baseball. Now I know Kershaw blows Corbin out of the water, believe me I know. At the end of the day though I can’t pass on +205 with a team that’s at home and mashes lefty, against a team on the road that can’t hit lefties a lick. Every so often you’ve gotta step out there and be willing to make an uncomfortable play, for me this is one of those times.
Phillies +168: As is seemingly happening each time he takes the mound, I think the oddsmakers are disrespecting Jeremy Hellickson. On the surface his 4-4 record with 4.34 ERA isn’t going to wow anybody, but when you look deeper you realize he’s actually been pretty good. He’s got a 8.56 K/9 and a 2.41 BB/9, both of which are very solid marks. What’s really hurt him is an unsustainable 20% HR/FB rate which has his already mentioned 4.34 ERA well higher than his 3.65 xFIP. Hellickson is a good pitcher, and in my opinion he’s actually better than his opponent Marco Estrada. Now with a 2.57 ERA, Estrada is nearly 2 full runs lower than Hellickson in that category. How is it that Hellickson could be better then you ask? Well Estrada has an xFIP of 4.69 that’s over 2 full runs higher than that ERA. The main thing helping Estrada is an absurd .189 BABIP which is easily best or more accurately, most lucky, in the league. There’s just no convincing me that it isn’t mostly luck. On the year his average exit velocity allowed of 89.4 MPH is right around the middle of the pack. It’s not like he’s doing some unbelievable job of inducing soft contact, in short the guy has just been lucky as all hell. At the end of the day I’m getting what I feel is the better pitcher in this matchup, at home, as a +168 dog. Good enough for me.
No time for any more write ups, but here is the rest of the card…
ML Par: Giants/Mets (+138)
1st 5: Mariners/Rays Un 4.5 (-120)
1st 5: Indians/Royals Un 4.5 (-120)