The Padres have fallen behind in the NL West over the last few weeks, but every game remains important as they fight for wild card positioning. San Diego will close out a 4-game series in Colorado on Thursday, looking to ride Blake Snell’s recent success to a win over Kyle Freeland and the Rockies.
Let’s take a look at starting lineups, betting odds, and predictions for Thursday’s matchup.
San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies Betting Odds
The Padres are road favorites at -140 on the money line, with the over/under set at 12. San Diego isn’t a sure bet at Coors Field, even with the talent gap. The Padres haven’t won a series since June 22, and while Blake Snell has been terrific this month, the high over/under indicates oddsmakers expect a high-scoring game in the thin air. The key will be Snell’s swing-and-miss ability. If Rockies hitters can generate contact, their offense poses a major threat to the Padres (and the under).
San Diego Padres Starting Lineup
B. Snell L
1-5 4.66 ERA
SS H. Kim R
2B J. Cronenworth L
3B M. Machado R
1B L. Voit R
DH J. Alfaro R
C A. Nola R
CF T. Grisham L
RF E. Ruiz R
LF J. Azocar R
San Diego Padres vs. Kyle Freeland
Kyle Freeland has had plenty of ups and downs since debuting with the Rockies in 2017, and it’s been more down than up of late. Freeland has a 4.70 ERA over 17 starts (97.2 IP) this season, with a 4.39 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, and 6.1 K/9. He is what he is: Freeland’s walk rate, hit rate, and home run rate have all hovered around the same numbers for the last three seasons. He’s coming off a rough start against the Diamondbacks but did pitch better in back-to-back starts against the Padres.
Like most Rockies pitchers, Freeland has struggled the most at Coors Field, where he has a 5.23 ERA over 9 starts this year. Potential good news: he’s facing a Padres lineup that didn’t hit well at all against the Mariners or Giants before this series. Manny Machado has 3 home runs over the past week but has struggled to hit for the same contact he did pre-injury, while the streaky Luke Voit has gone cold even after two games in Colorado. The Padres do hit slightly better against lefties and have the advantage of Coors Field against a contact pitcher, so maybe this is the exact environment needed to score some runs. The trends just don’t indicate sustained success.
Colorado Rockies Starting Lineup
K. Freeland L
4-7 4.70 ERA
RF C. Joe R
DH C. Blackmon L
LF K. Bryant R
1B C.J. Cron R
2B B. Rodgers R
CF R. Grichuk R
3B R. McMahon L
SS J. Iglesias R
C E. Diaz R
Colorado Rockies vs. Blake Snell
Blake Snell, a blockbuster acquisition after the 2020 season, struggled so much at the start of this season that you had to wonder whether the Padres would explore trading him at the deadline. Limited to 9 starts due to injury, Snell carries a 4.66 ERA, 3.56 FIP, and 1.38 WHIP into this one, but he’s also coming off a pair of excellent outings. Snell struck out 12 Dodgers on July 1, allowing 1 run in five innings, and he struck out 11 over six innings against the Giants last Friday. This doesn’t mean Snell’s problems have disappeared – it still takes him way too many pitches to get through a handful of innings, limiting his length, and walks remain an issue – but he’s found something.
Snell needs to generate swings-and-misses in the thin air of Colorado. If the ball isn’t hit, the Rockies can’t use the environment to their advantage. He averaged only 5.4 strikeouts per start before July, which probably isn’t a recipe for success in this one. The Rockies hit very well against lefties, batting .286 with a .790 OPS. That should concern the Padres a bit. Kris Bryant should also concern the Padres. The former MVP has looked like a new man this month, hitting .340 with 4 home runs since he returned from the IL two weeks ago. He just needs his teammates to follow suit: Bryant has 3 of the Rockies’ 5 home runs over the past week. Both power and contact have been down for Colorado recently, so like the Padres, they’ll need to reverse the trends in order to win.
San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies Picks & Prediction
My pick: Padres Moneyline (-140)
Both of these offenses haven’t been up to the challenge lately, but the Padres are the one better positioned to breakthrough. It almost seems impossible for Freeland to get through a Coors Field start unscathed, but it’s at least possible for a strikeout-reliant pitcher like Blake Snell. I have some concerns with Padres pitching. Is boom-or-bust Snell due to take a step back? Will the bullpen hold up after he inevitably lasts only 5 or 6 innings? But I could ask the same question about the Rockies’ bullpen, which gave up multiple runs in each of the first two games of this series. I expect the Padres to secure at least a series split in this afternoon matchup.