The San Diego Padres take on the Oakland Athletics in the opening game of their two-game series from the Oakland Coliseum in Northern California on Tuesday night. Both teams come in 5-5 over their last ten games and are really battling for Wild Card positioning. Both teams sit in a pretty safe position in the second Wild Card spot but a win in this week's mini two-game series would go a long way for positioning and confidence. These two teams actually just met last week in San Diego, splitting that series and setting up an intense back and forth affair for this week. Expect Tuesday's opener to be a close matchup that'll test both teams, while the winner will have a massive advantage heading into the series finale on Wednesday.
Padres Watch Gap WidenThe Padres have spent much of the season sitting as a favorite for the World Series, even despite struggling to get beyond third place in their own division. Now sitting over six games behind San Francisco, they've been forced to sit and watch as the division slowly gets stretched out of reach. The big news of late is the status of Fernando Tatis Jr. One of the best hitters in baseball, regardless of age, a shoulder injury that plagued him at the start of the year seems to have worked itself back to him. He's the only positional player of note out, as the pitching staff continues to look to their depth for the answers. San Diego is out nine relievers and four starters, yet the train keeps on running as the Padres aim to take down the Athletics.
The Padres shouldn't have a ton of trouble, even without Tatis Jr., to put up runs. They rank ninth in runs per game, eighth in opponent runs per game, tenth in batting average, and 12th in hits per game. Tatis Jr. leads the team in batting average, home runs, and OBP, but others are ready to step up in his absence. Over the last week, Manny Machado has flipped a switch, hitting .429 with three home runs to pick up the slack lefty from Tatis Jr. Add in Jake Cronenworth hitting .348 and Adam Frazier, who the team picked up from Pirates and is still finding his form, stepping up potentially, and the Padres offense will only continue to strengthen.
According to MLB.com, Blake Snell will get the ball for San Diego. The lefty has been a star ever since his rookie year but has fallen on harder times this season. With a 4-4 record and 5.44 ERA, the 2011 first-rounder is still looking to make a name for himself since coming out to the west coast. Snell did get a chance to pitch in last week's series against Oakland, taking the loss in what was one of his worst performances of the year. He only made it through four innings, allowing seven earned runs and seven hits. He'll need to be much sharper than that to make things happen for the away side on Tuesday night.
Athletics Eye AL Wild CardThe Oakland Athletics started the season incredibly well but have since watched Houston slide past them in the AL West standings and take control of the division. Oakland still has an impressive and complete team and there's no shame in losing space to the Astros but they do need to take advantage of essentially locking in a Wild Card spot over the next few weeks and put some pressure on the rest of the league. Oakland has had some of the best injury luck in baseball, only being without Chad Pinder (hamstring) from a positional player point of view, while being down two starters and a reliever as well.
high fives all around pic.twitter.com/j1ZqMrE31u— Oakland A's (@Athletics) August 2, 2021
Oakland's offense might not be as flashy as many others that are likely headed to the postseason but still rank in the top half of baseball in some categories. While ranking only 24th in batting average and 22nd in hits per game though, the home run potential, 15th in the league in home runs per game, has helped to prop up the offense. Over the last week, Matt Chapman has led the team with two home runs, even with just a .192 batting average. Jed Lowrie and Sean Murphy have the co-lead in hitting, both batting .316 over the last week of games.
According to MLB.com, Oakland is yet to announce a starter for Tuesday's game. Given the timing of the game and the team's lack of injuries, not having a starter named yet seems concerning. As a team, Oakland ranks seventh in baseball in opponent runs per game. Their bullpen remains a huge strength as well, being first in baseball in opponent hits per game. Regardless of who takes the mound, Oakland has the arms to get through Tuesday's opener.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Tuesday's series opener could go either way and is going to be the best game on the docket for baseball. Both teams are in similar positions but the Padres' offense still appears to be in some state of shock with Tatis Jr. hitting the IL again. While Machado has been playing well, Oakland still has one of the best sets of arms in all of baseball, from their starters to their bullpen, and can give San Diego a load of trouble in Tuesday's opener. For the Oakland offense, their big bats know how to play and exploit the interesting dimension of the Oakland Coliseum and expect the Athletics to do just enough to snag the win.
Full-Game Total Pick
With San Diego still dealing with navigating some injuries in the lineup, the offense has to figure out the best way to juggle who is available to find some consistency and win. For Oakland, their offense is built for long runs and with Snell on the mound, that'll be difficult even despite his struggles. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Oakland, the under is 4-0 in their last four home games, is 10-1 in their last 11 games after scoring five runs or more in their previous game, is 10-1 in their last 11 games following a win, and is 10-2 in their last 12 games when their opponent scores five runs or more in their previous game. In meetings between the two teams, the under is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings in Oakland.