The Arizona Diamondbacks (61-60) and San Diego Padres (58-63) will kickstart a four-game, weekend series this evening. First pitch between these two NL West rivals is scheduled for 9:40 p.m. ET at Petco Park in San Diego. Righty ace Zac Gallen (12-5, 3.24 ERA) will step on the hill for the D-Backs and go up against lefty Rich Hill (7-12, 5.17 ERA) for the Friars.
Arizona has had a good week after opening the month on a nine-game losing streak by rattling off four victories in its last five games. After taking two from this same Padres team last weekend, the Diamondbacks turned around to take two off last-place Colorado on the road. Meanwhile, San Diego was able to somewhat tamp down its recent struggles by taking two of three off Baltimore this week. Both of these teams are trying to keep pace in the NL Wild Card race and not fall too far behind.
This game is nearly a pick’em on the moneyline over at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the Padres at -112 and the Diamondbacks at -108. The total is set at 8.5.
Diamondbacks-Padres picks: Thursday, August 17
Day-To-Day: OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (hip)
Out: SP Zack Davies (back), RP Mark Melancon (shoulder), 3B Evan Longoria (back), RP Austin Adams (ankle), SP Tommy Henry (elbow), RP Drey Jameson (elbow)
Out: SP Joe Musgrove (shoulder), SP Drew Pomeranz (elbow), RP Alek Jacob (elbow), RP Drew Carlton (elbow), RP Tim Hill (finger), RP Adrian Morejon (knee), 1B Ji-Man Choi (rib)
Gallen was able to pick up the win against this same Padres team last Saturday, his first victory since the All-Star break. His 6.0 innings of work was excellent as he put down eight batters on strikes while yielding just four hits in an eventual 3-0 shutout victory for the Diamondbacks. His road splits are wildly different than his home splits as he is sporting a 4.72 ERA with a .255 opposing batting average away from Chase Field vs. a superb line of 1.82/.204 at home. That’s something to keep in mind when he takes the bump at Petco Park this evening.
Hill was on the other side of that shutout loss for the Padres last Saturday, giving up all three earned runs and lasting just 3.1 innings. The 43-year-old lefty has struggled since arriving to San Diego at the trade deadline, yielding nine earned runs off 11 hits through just 6.1 combined innings of work for his new team. He’s had a tough time against righties this year as they are collectively batting .284 with 17 home runs against him.
Both teams have done well for themselves at the plate in the last week. Diamondbacks batters are hitting .281 with 34 runs scored over their last six games while Padres batters are hitting .270 with 30 runs in that same span. Given Gallen’s vulnerabilities away from home and Hill’s struggles in general, I’d take the over in this series opener tonight.
Pick: Over 8.5
Arizona is gradually breaking out of its funk and does not want to fall back to .500 this evening. The D-Backs have the pitching advantage in this matchup and I trust their bats to out-slug the Padres tonight in what could be a fun contest.