Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres
Moneyline: PHI -135/SD +125
Series: PHI -115/SD -115
First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Aaron Nola (6-0, 4.18 ERA) vs. Eric Lauer (4-4, 4.45 ERA)
With the Mets and Yankees off on Draft Monday, let's take a look at an interesting matchup between the NL East leader and another team the Mets will surely be jockeying for position with in the NL Wild Card race.
That would be the Phillies and Padres, who actually just both pulled off inauspicious feats this past weekend similar to what Mets fans experienced all too recently -- Philadelphia was swept out of LA by the Dodgers, while San Diego dropped a series with the league-worst Marlins.
The Phils have their ace Nola on the hill in this series opener. He's appeared to hit his stride again after uncharacteristically posting a 7.45 ERA through his first four starts. Since that point, though, the former No. 7 overall draft pick has allowed three runs or fewer in all eight of his outings while pitching into the sixth inning or deeper in seven of them.
In his last three starts spanning 18.1 innings, Nola has compiled a whopping 26 strikeouts, which can indicate he's locked in entering tonight's assignment. Nola's also served up only one long ball within that stretch as well, something that was definitely an issue early in the campaign.
Like his counterpart, Lauer also enters this assignment in a groove, having yielded just a single earned run in each of his past three starts. Going beyond that, the second-year southpaw has given up two earned runs or fewer in six of the last seven.
But most importantly for Lauer's outlook is that he'll be working from cozy Petco Park. Since first coming up a season ago, Lauer has registered a much better ERA at his pitcher-friendly home (3.51) than on the road (5.40).
Arguably the main reason for that is he's walking nearly half the amount of batters at Petco (2.24 BB/9) compared to his away assignments (4.25 BB/9), so it seems he's just more comfortable in San Diego.
How I Would Bet This Game
Both teams are in a little bit of a funk, making this tougher to predict in terms of which club can snap out of it first. Instead, I'd go the way of the over/under with hopes that maybe one or both lineups will be pressing. Factor that in with a meeting between two surging starters and the under looks like the bet here. Before placing a wager, though, I'd wait to see if the total ticks up to 8 first.
Should You Bet The Series?
Understandably, each of these contenders carries the same -115 odds to win the series. If it were in Philadelphia, you could expect the Phillies to be slight favorites, at least. Either way, I'd say to lay off this series because it really could go either way.