The San Diego Padres started their homestand this weekend by taking two out of three games from the first-place San Francisco Giants. Although the Padres dropped the last game of the series, their 16-13 record has them just 1½ games out of first place in the National League West.
On Monday, San Diego welcomes the Pittsburgh Pirates for three straight games at home, and the last series before the Padres get a much needed day off. The current MLB betting line in the sportsbook has San Diego -320 and Pittsburgh +240 to come out victorious in this series.
Pittsburgh is making its first trip to the West Coast and perhaps the perfect California weather is what this Pirates team needs right now. After a homestand that saw them split two games with the Kansas City Royals before getting swept by the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend, the Pirates needed to get out of town. Pittsburgh is just a half-game ahead of the Chicago Cubs for last place in the NL Central and now faces the daunting task of a three-game series in San Diego.
Movin’ On Up
The Padres are feeling good right now. They are 6-4 in their last 10, but what has them smiling is the fact that three of those wins came against the Los Angeles Dodgers and two others against San Francisco. San Diego is making a move for the top spot in the NL West and its big names are all joining in the fun. With Fernando Tatis Jr. leading the team in home runs (8) and Eric Hosmer holding down the lead for the team batting average (.302) and RBIs (17), third baseman Manny Machado might have been feeling left out. After his three-run homer on Saturday, one that helped his team take the second game from the Giants, Machado is right back in the mix.
San Diego isn’t just hitting home runs, or getting crucial hits at the right time. This team isn’t leading the league in hits, runs or RBIs. However, the Padres know what they want and they know how to get it. They want to move around the bases and they are willing to steal to get what they want. In fact, San Diego is leading the league with 35 stolen bases and, according to MLB.com, that is more than the Dodgers, Giants, and Arizona Diamondbacks combined. This Padres team has the feeling of one that will not be denied.
Pirates Looking for Safe Harbor
Pittsburgh is 4-6 in its last 10 and in the midst of a four-game losing streak. St. Louis outscored the Pirates 22-8 this weekend. For Pittsburgh, that is a common theme that has followed the team throughout this young season as it is struggling to score runs. The Pirates are 24th in total runs scored, 25th in RBIs and second-to-last in home runs with 20 on the year. If their pitching isn’t keeping them in the game, the Pirates are going to lose, thus explaining their current 12-15 record.
All is not lost, however. The Pirates split a four-game set with San Diego earlier in the season, and they were 7-3 in the 10 games before the losing streak started, so there is hope. As well as the Padres have been playing lately, they are only 7-9 at home. Combine that with the fact that San Diego is coming off divisional series victories versus the Dodgers and Giants, and the Pirates could be in the position of being overlooked.
Down to Business
San Diego will send out Miguel Diaz for his first start of the season. The 26-year-old right-hander started three games for the Padres in 2017 and had 16 relief appearances between 2018-2019 before a knee injury cut his 2019 season short and complications set him back in 2020. Diaz has been throwing in alternate-site games over the past month and will get his shot in front of the home crowd on Monday.
Pittsburgh will trot out Tyler Anderson, who is 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA. Anderson has pitched 26.2 innings and given up three home runs on 25 hits and has 26 strikeouts. Anderson started out the year struggling, allowing three earned runs in both of his first two games. After that, the left-hander seemed to have figured it out as he has allowed four runs total in the next three games, including pitching 5.1 innings and in a victory versus these same Padres.
Just Too Much
San Diego has better statistics in basically every single offensive category. There is an aura about this team right now that has many in baseball, as well as fans around the world, talking about the young, flashy team from San Diego. The Padres are out to prove a point and the Pirates are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Already losers of four in a row, expect San Diego to make it at least five in a row and probably seven. The MLB betting line is San Diego -350 to take the series and that is the pick, Friares for the win.
Pick: San Diego Padres -320 to win Series