The San Diego Padres have finally done it. They won a game in Detroit. Before Tuesday’s matchup, the Padres were 0-7 all-time when playing in Comerica Park. The streak has finally been broken.
Can the Detroit Tigers answer? They do have their best pitcher on the mound in Tarik Skubal. Although he hasn’t been the Skubal of old.
With these two having split the first two games of the series, who has the edge in this Rubber Match?
Read on for the starting lineups, betting odds, and my prediction for this Monday’s matchup.
San Diego Padres vs Detroit Tigers Odds
The Tigers ML looks very enticing with Skubal on the mound. You can get close to +120 on the Tigers at the time of writing, which feels like a good value bet.
But can you buy the Tigers with the streak Skubal is on? He has been a very underwhelming pitcher over the last few weeks.
The total seems fair at 7.5. The wind is projected to be blowing in from the right field on Wednesday, possibly giving us an edge on the under. That could be fair given these two underwhelming offenses.
San Diego Padres Starting Lineup
LF J. Profar S
2B J. Cronenworth L
3B M. Machado R
DH L. Voit R
C J. Alfaro R
1B E. Hosmer L
SS H. Kim R
RF N. Mazara L
CF T. Grisham L
San Diego Padres vs Tarik Skubal
It’s been a rough stretch for Tarik Skubal. After dropping his ERA to 2.15 on June 1st, he tossed eight starts with a 6.86 ERA. Predictably, the Tigers went 2-6 in those games.
But I still believe in his stuff. It’s mostly been home-run regression that has eaten at Skubal in recent weeks, but his spin rates have increased throughout the season while his exit velocities have dropped. I think there’s promise for the young southpaw moving forward.
Skubal pitched a gem in Oakland his last time out, tossing six innings of shutout ball with nine strikeouts. Unfortunately, he did pitch against only the A’s. But, perhaps this is the confidence Skubal needs to dominate the Padres.
The Padres are a stripped-down offense without Fernando Tatis Jr. Manny Machado is having an incredible season, but it hasn’t been enough to lift this Padres lineup out of mediocrity – the Padres have posted a 99 wRC+ this season.
San Diego has been slightly better against lefties, posting a 105 wRC+ against that side. But this is a lineup that features five lefties in the regular nine-man lineup without Tatis. Skubal’s xFIP against lefties is 30 points lower than his xFIP against righties this season.
Detroit Tigers Starting Lineup
CF R. Greene L
RF R. Grossman S
SS J. Baez R
DH M. Cabrera R
C E. Haase R
2B J. Schoop R
1B H. Castro L
3B W. Castro S
LF A. Baddoo L
Detroit Tigers vs Yu Darvish
Yu Darvish is having a fine season. His fastball plays as well as any in the league (98th percentile in spin rate) and his CSW rate remains above 30%. His 3.28 ERA over 18 starts has led to a 2.4 fWAR this season, as well.
I’m surprised about his strikeout rates. If his pace continues, this season is the first time Darvish has struck out less than 10 batters per nine innings in his career. At least his walks have remained consistently low.
Darvish plans to force weak contact with his cutter, but his batted ball statistics are relatively average. He’s also allowing more barrels than usual.
But all-in-all, Darvish has helped his team win. The Padres are 11-7 in his starts this season.
In the meanwhile, the Padres are the most miserable offense in baseball. There isn’t a single hitter in the regular nine-man lineup that has an OPS+ above 100. And here’s that list:
- Tucker Barnhart: 51 OPS+
- Spencer Torkelson: 67 OPS+
- Jonathan Schoop: 57 OPS+
- Javier Baez: 81 OPS+
- Jeimer Candelario: 77 OPS+
- Robbie Grossman: 72 OPS+
- Riley Greene: 92 OPS+
- Victor Reyes: 90 OPS+
- Miguel Cabrera: 97 OPS+
That is truly disastrous.
It also points out just how bad the Javier Baez deal has been. He’s come around in recent months and plays a great shortstop, but his Baseball Savant page still looks horrendous.
Image credit: Baseball Savant
This doesn’t look to be getting better, either.
San Diego Padres vs Detroit Tigers Pick & Prediction
My picks: Detroit Tigers ML (+122 at WynnBet Sportsbook)
I will continue to buy into Skubal. Despite his recent performance, there are reasons to support him in this matchup.
The Padres boast a below-average lineup. Without Fernando Tatis Jr. in the fold, the Padres haven’t had a wRC+ above 100 since April. Machado is an offensive force, but the rest of the lineup isn’t.
In the meanwhile, neither the Padres nor the Tigers are elite defensive teams. And I give a slight bullpen advantage to the Tigers, who have posted the fourth-best reliever ERA this season (3.14) behind Gregory Soto’s impressive year.
At these odds, I love backing Detroit.