Collin McHugh came through with another great outing on Monday to get us back into the win column. It would be nice to rise above the recent run of .500 picking in the season’s last month and get on a little run with the last six plays of the regular season.
The last two weeks of September will no doubt be about those clubs vying for a postseason berth. The likes of the Royals and Mariners have caught fans’ attention by being in contention for the first time in a very long time. And teams like Detroit and Oakland come down the home stretch, trying to protect spots that they have held on to for most of the year.
The San Diego Padres and Philadephia Phillies are not included in that group of contenders. Both have already lost 80 games and are probably on their way to 90. And each team has been out of their divisional race for quite some time now. That doesn’t mean they have to be completely irrelevant crossing the finish line, though. These two very bad teams get together on Thursday in San Diego and that will be the site for our next play!
The San Diego Padres are a poor ball club. But they actually really aren’t so bad in the confines of Petco Park. The Padres are 42-31 at home this year and have played good baseball in front of their local fans. With fairly strong pitching in that ball park, it’s not surprising San Diego does a decent job at protecting its home field. And with Robbie Erlin on the mound Thursday, I think they will continue that success.
One a top-five prospect in the Texas Rangers’ system, Erlin gets ready to start his ninth game for the second consecutive season. Last year, in his first year as a big leaguer, Erlin posted a 1.24 WHIP in nearly 55 innings for the Friars. This year, he’s posted similar numbers. Erlin has a 4.89 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in eight starts from the left side. But his home/road splits are large. He’s held batters to a .191 batting average at home, versus a .371 mark everywhere else. And his ERA sees the same type of discrepancy – 2.92 at home and 6.84 everywhere else.
Meanwhile, the Phillies are bad everywhere, things are starting to completely fall apart and I just don’t see them putting their best foot forward in these last two weeks. Kyle Kendrick has been okay for his entire career and there’s no reason to think he’ll turn in some sort of dominant effort – even against the Padres. Simply put, there just isn’t a whole lot to like about Philly when you compare that to what the Padres, and Erlin, do at Petco. For a price tag of just -120, the home team is a great buy.
Free Pick: San Diego (-120)
YTD: 36-25-2 +6.11