There are just three games on the Major League Baseball schedule for Monday night, and all three start after 9:40 PM Eastern Time. One of those matchups will pit the Philadelphia Phillies against the Padres in San Diego.
The Phillies are still in first place in the NL East, but they’ll head to San Diego licking their wounds after being swept in three games over the weekend by the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Philadelphia has now lost 4 straight overall, and they took a sound 8-0 beating in the series finale in L.A. on Sunday afternoon.
The Padres, meanwhile, will continue their long 10-game homestand following a disappointing opening series against the Marlins. Miami, who is among the very worst teams in the big leagues, came into Southern California and took two of three games from the Padres over the weekend. The Padres lost both weekend games by a score of 9-3, which is an embarrassing result, to say the least for a team with realistic playoff aspirations this season.
|2019 ATR Home||14-17-0||13-18-0|
|2019 ATR Away||16-12-0||15-13-0|
|2019 O/U Home||14-17-0||12-18-1|
|2019 O/U Away||11-15-2||15-10-3|
The Phillies are still seven games north of the .500 mark, but they have been fairly uneven for the most part. It hasn’t helped that the team’s Opening Day starter, Aaron Nola, has struggled throughout the early part of the campaign. Pitchers struggling has been a bit of a theme around the big leagues as a whole this season, and Nola has been no exception.
The right-hander, who went 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA last season, has seen his ERA balloon to 4.18 so far in 2019. He has a 6-0 record, but he hasn’t looked as dominant as he did a season ago. The Baton Rouge native has seen his strikeout rate dip slightly from 27% last season to 26.2% so far this year, while his walk rate has jumped from 7% to 9.9%.
Nola has also yielded a 36.5% hard-hit rate, which is quite a leap considering he allowed just 25.1% hard hits in 2018. The Padres are an improved offensive ballclub, but they are a team that will swing and miss. San Diego has a collective strikeout rate of 27.3% so far this season, which is the highest mark in the big leagues.
Nola has also allowed 10 homers so far this season after conceding just 17 all of last year. The Padres do have plenty of strikeouts in the lineup, but they also have plenty of power. San Diego has slugged 87 home runs of their own so far this season, which is the 10th-most in the majors.
June just started, but the Dodgers seem to have the NL West on lockdown already. Los Angeles is sitting at 41-19 on the season after their aforementioned sweep of the Phillies, which means they already have a nine-game lead over the Rockies in the division. The Padres, despite being over .500 themselves, are in third place, 10 ½ games adrift of the Dodgers.
Things can change, of course. There is enough season left to where it’s not unthinkable that the Dodgers could come falling back to the pack. Based on how they’ve looked so far, though, that seems rather unlikely. So, the Pads will likely have to fight for one of the two NL Wild Card spots, instead.
The Padres are two games back of the Cubs and Braves, who are currently tied atop the Wild Card standings. Eric Lauer will take the ball for the Padres on Monday night. The left-hander has been about average in every regard so far this season. Lauer has a 4.45 ERA, which is actually identical to his SIERA. Lauer has a middling 19.7% strikeout rate, and his struggles have been more pronounced against right-handed hitters.
Righties have a collective .312 wOBA at Lauer’s expense this season, while lefties are down at .276. Seven of the eight homers he has surrendered this season have also come off the bats of right-handed hitters. Other than Bryce Harper, the Phillies lineup Lauer will be facing tonight is largely comprised of RHBs.
The on-paper pitching matchup heavily favors the road team tonight. Nola is a Cy Young-caliber pitcher when he’s at his best, and he has shown some signs in recent weeks of turning things around. He held a stacked Cardinals lineup to just a run on four hits in seven innings of work in his last start, and he has allowed exactly one earned run in five of his last seven starts overall.
The Padres have enough talent in the lineup to get to him a bit, but I just like the Phillies side of this game in general. Lauer doesn’t profile all that well against a Philadelphia lineup that can throw as many as eight right-handed hitters in his direction.
Betting on the Phils to cover the runline (+115) makes for a solid value option tonight. The safer play, of course, is to take Philadelphia to win the game outright, but the value at -145 isn’t amazing. I also think there is merit to taking the over on 7 ½ runs being scored (-115). Bet the Phillies any which way, and take the over if you’re feeling lucky.
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