The San Diego Padres are finally showing signs of life after a sluggish start to the season, and now they’ll look to make a major statement this weekend when they welcome the MLB-leading Tampa Bay Rays to town for a three-game set. First pitch of Friday’s opener from Petco Park is set for 9:40 p.m. ET. It’ll be a star-studded matchup on the mound, as Tampa hands the ball to Cy Young candidate Shane McClanahan (10-1, 2.18 ERA) against Padres ace Yu Darvish (5-4, 4.30).
This one is a true pick ‘em on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with both teams listed at -110. The run total is set at 8.
Rays-Padres picks: Friday, June 16
Out: 2B Brandon Lowe (back), RP Calvin Faucher (elbow), SP/RP Josh Fleming (elbow), RP Andrew Kittredge (elbow), SP Drew Rasmussen (forearm)
Out: SP Seth Lugo (calf), RP Nabil Crismatt (hip), RP Robert Suarez (elbow), INF Eguy Rosario (ankle), C Luis Campusano (thumb), RP Drew Pomeranz (forearm)
Shane McClanahan vs. Yu Darvish
McClanahan just keeps on chugging, becoming MLB’s first to 10 wins after seven more strong innings against the Texas Rangers last weekend. The lefty surrendered just three runs over those seven frames, and that actually ranks among his worst efforts of the season — he’s allowed more than two runs just twice in 14 starts. Armed with a blistering high-90s fastball, a knee-buckling curveball and arguably the best changeup of any starter in baseball (with a whopping 52.7% whiff rate), McClanahan doesn’t really have any weaknesses in his game. He can get a little bit wild from time to time, but when you miss bats as often as he does, it seldom matters.
Darvish looked to have turned the corner earlier this month when he spun seven shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs, but he took another step back last time out, coughing up four runs on five hits and four walks in just 5.1 innings at Coors Field. The righty now has a 6.15 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 26.1 innings over the last month, and while he’s long had a reputation for toggling between dominance and looking lost, this is a bit extreme. Still, his strikeout rate and hard-hit rate are in line with past years, and his 3.55 expected ERA points to some positive regression soon.
Counterintuitive as this may seem given the names on the mound tonight, I’m taking the over. This Padres lineup has finally come alive of late, averaging over six runs a game in their last seven (and 5.2 runs a game over their last 20), and they’ve particularly feasted on left-handed pitching — with the league’s fifth-highest wRC+ against southpaws since mid-May. With Darvish struggling on the other side, I think San Diego’s bats do enough against McClanahan to push us over this number.
Pick: Over 8
Tampa is scuffling a bit of late, especially at the plate, and they barely eked out a split of a four-game series against the Oakland Athletics this week. Darvish is due to bounce back soon, and I think this is the spot to do it — I’ll take the Padres starting off this series with a big home win over McClanahan.