Washington Nationals (39-80) vs. San Diego Padres (66-54)
The Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres open a four-game series starting on Thursday. Washington lost to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, dropping the team to 3-7 in their last 10. They are in last place in the NL East, all but eliminated at this point, as they are destined for a 100+ loss season. San Diego is 5-5 in their last 10 after they defeated Miami on Wednesday, holding the final wildcard spot in the National League.
San Diego enters as the prohibitive favorite at -375 with the odds for the Nationals at +285. Even when giving up 1.5 runs, they still come in as the favorite at -165 with Washington at +140 when receiving 1.5 runs. The total is set at 7.5 (over: -115, under: -105).
Nationals Pitching Collapsing Down the StretchThe Nationals dropped two of the three games to the Chicago Cubs, moving the club to 4-12 in August. Washington was already last in terms of runs allowed per game (5.72), but they have really bottomed out this month, posting a 6.02 ERA. The pitching staff has yielded 31 home runs in 136.0 innings and has an opponent batting average of .293. It is not surprising they are being shelled on a regular basis.
Washington will be hoping that right-hander Anibal Sanchez can do better, but his numbers have not been pretty this season. Sanchez is 0-5 with a 7.20 ERA in six starts. After allowing 13 earned runs in 15.2 innings in July, he has given up 11 earned runs in 14.1 innings this month. That includes giving up three runs in five innings in his last start against San Diego (August 13).
No offense is going to be able to cover for those kinds of pitching numbers, so the 3.89 runs per game produced by Washington is clearly not doing the job. The team is having some success at the plate, hitting .262 with 19 home runs, but just 57 runs scored in 16 games, a 3.56 runs per game average.
Padres Looking to Improve Playoff PositionThe San Diego Padres took the final contest of their three-game set with Miami, giving them a 1.5-game edge for the final wildcard spot in the National League. For a team with serious World Series aspirations, San Diego is not turning up the heat, 9-8 in their 17 August games. The club has a 3.80 ERA and is hitting .261 with 88 runs scored this month, an average of 5.18 runs per game.
Kim-sanity. pic.twitter.com/1ur0SxPyaK— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 18, 2022
Yu Darvish starts for San Diego, and he has been impressive the season, going 10-6 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 starts. The right-hander has been touched up in August, allowing nine earned runs in 18.0 innings. This after he posted a 3.18 ERA in July and a 2.52 ERA in June. The right-hander gave up four runs in six innings in his last outing against Washington.
San Diego is a team looking for more consistent offense, and the addition of Juan Soto and Josh Bell at the deadline is not paying early dividends. Soto is hitting .320 in 14 games, scoring 12 runs, but has just one home run and three RBI. Bell has yet to get on track, hitting .135 with two RBI and no home runs.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
While Darvish struggled in his last outing against Washington, the matchup of the San Diego offense against the Washington pitching staff clearly favors the Padres. This is a club that has been putting up big offensive numbers in August, averaging nearly six runs per game while Washington is allowing over six runs per contest.
The last time these teams met San Diego put up 19 runs in the three-game series, but still only came away with victories in two of those three games. In fact, Darvish suffered one loss in that series, despite striking out nine in six innings. Sanchez pitched well enough, allowing three runs in five innings in that contest. Sanchez has made two starts on the road this season, giving up seven earned runs in 10.0 innings, including giving up three home runs, and he has yielded 10 home runs in just 30 innings. Look for San Diego to rebound against Washington in a big way.
Full-Game Total Pick
You have a pitching staff giving up a lot of runs verse an offense that is producing a lot. That seems made for a big score. However, oddsmakers do not seem to believe that all, placing the total at 7.5. That clearly appears to be too low. The last time these two pitchers squared off they only gave up seven earned runs total and two of the three games and that series went under 7.5 runs. However, Washington has gone over 7.5 runs in 11 of their 16 games this month, while San Diego has gone over that number in nine of their 17 games.
San Diego could easily score 6 runs on their own in this contest, putting the onus on Washington to get at least two. That seems likely in this contest. Take San Diego to win, 6-2.