The San Francisco Giants visit the San Diego Padres still lagging behind the top-tier of the NL West. In fact, the Giants have even fallen two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies in the NL Wildcard race.
Things are ugly in San Fran, especially coming off a 107-win season. But they do get ace Carlos Rodon on the mound for this Saturday matchup in a pivotal spot for the Giants.
In the meantime, the Padres are thriving even with their two best offensive players hurt. They have a top-five rotation in MLB, and part of that is due to today’s starter, Yu Darvish.
So, which team has the edge?
Let’s dive into the starting lineups, betting odds, and my predictions for this Saturday afternoon matchup at PetCo Park.
San Francisco Giants vs San Diego Padres Odds
The Giants are short underdogs even with Rodon on the mound, which seems fair given how good Darvish and the Padres have been.
The total sure is low at 6.5, but these are two of the best pitchers in the game. The wind is also projected to be blowing in from the left-field at PetCo Saturday afternoon.
Let’s dive in a bit more to find the value.
San Francisco Giants Starting Lineup
RF L. Wade L
CF M. Yastrzemski L
3B E. Longoria R
LF J. Pederson L
1B B. Belt L
SS T. Estrada R
2B W. Flores R
DH T. La Stella L
C C. Casali R
San Francisco Giants vs Yu Darvish
Despite his fastball velocity being higher than ever, Darvish’s strikeouts are down. His strikeout rate is down almost 7% year-over-year, but he’s been just as effective as ever.
Darvish flipped to being a cutter-heavy pitcher in 2019, and while the pitch floundered in 2021, he’s posted a -6 Run Value on the cutter so far this season.
Darvish is more of a control pitcher now, keeping his walks down and more balls in the park. He can rely a bit more on the guys behind him now, given the Padres lead the league in Outs Above Average. It’s a nice change from the Cubs and Rangers.
However, Darvish has been rather bad historically against these Giants. He’s made eight starts against San Fran in his career with a 7.13 ERA while allowing a .557 SLG. He’s struck out 50 batters in those 41 innings, but he has also walked 13 guys while allowing 13 home runs.
The Giants aren’t that scary of an offense. Joc Pederson has been destroying the baseball, as his Baseball Savant page shows:
Image credit: Baseball Savant
But Mike Yastrzemski has fallen off, the bench bats have fallen off too, and there isn’t much firepower on the squad outside of that.
They’re also hurt. Current Giant batters on the IL include:
- Curt Casali (96 OPS+)
- Thairo Estrada (96 OPS+)
- Evan Longoria (121 OPS+)
- Luis Gonzalez (127 OPS+)
Those are four solid bats, and the Giants have posted just a 76 wRC+ in the last two weeks without them. That’s the fourth-lowest in baseball.
San Diego Padres Starting Lineup
CF T. Grisham L
2B J. Cronenworth L
3B M. Machado R
DH L. Voit R
1B E. Hosmer L
C J. Alfaro R
RF N. Mazara L
SS H. Kim R
LF Brent Rooker
San Diego Padres vs Carlos Rodon
The Padres’ offense has also been terrible, with them having posted just a 75 wRC+ over the last two weeks to come in as the third-worst offense in baseball during the stretch.
No wonder this total is only 6.5.
But just like the Giants, the Padres are hurt. Fernando Tatis Jr. may never return to the field. Manny Machado is playing through injury. Wil Myers and Jurickson Profar have found themselves on the IL.
I won’t lie … this lineup looks rather stripped down right now. Luke Voit is probably the most dangerous bat in the lineup, and that’s not saying much.
The Padres have been decent against left-handed pitching, but nothing special. And that shouldn’t scare Carlos Rodon too much, who can be vulnerable to good southpaw-hitting lineups.
It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster for Rodon, who started the season as the best pitcher in the NL before collapsing and then recovering. His most recent start was a four-run, five-inning clunker against a bad Diamondbacks lineup.
Image credit: FanGraphs
While he’s been inconsistent, there’s no question he’s one of the best pitchers in the game. His 3.2 fWAR trails only Sandy Alcantara in the National League and his 2.87 ERA is backed up by a 2.83 xERA. So, I project no regression for Rodon going forward.
Rodon throws two pitches, a four-seam, and a slider. He doesn’t need any other pitches, he will beat you with just those two, having posted a -16 Run Value combined between them.
San Francisco Giants vs San Diego Padres Pick & Prediction
My picks: San Diego Padres ML (-115 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
Rodon struggles on the road.
- Rodon Home Starts: 39 IP, 12.92 K/9, 2.08 ERA, 1.66 FIP, 2.95 xFIP
- Rodon Road Starts: 52 IP, 9.69 K/9, 3.46 ERA, 2.37 FIP, 3.18 xFIP
Taking the under on Rodon’s strikeout props in road starts has been money this season, by the way. I’ll be looking that way once the line opens.
Given Rodon’s home/away splits, I make the pitching matchup between him and Darvish a wash. The offensive matchup is also a wash, and that means this game may come down to bullpens.
While the Padres rank fourth in reliever xFIP this season (3.63), the Giants rank 22nd (4.10).
So, I’ll back the Padres as long as the line stays under -120.