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Friday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Astros vs. Padres: Fade Struggling Arrieta Again (Sept. 3)

Friday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Astros vs. Padres: Fade Struggling Arrieta Again (Sept. 3) article feature image

Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Arrieta

  • The San Diego Padres host the Houston Astros in Friday's Major League Baseball action.
  • Jake Arrieta, who takes the mound for the Padres, has been awful of late entering this matchup.
  • Kenny Ducey breaks down the game below and explains why he's backing Houston to triumph.

Astros vs. Padres Odds

Astros Odds -144
Padres Odds +122
Over/Under 9 (-110 / -110)
Time 10:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Friday morning and via FanDuel.

Bettors everywhere will take notice as Jake Arrieta returns to the hill for the San Diego Padres on Friday evening in a home matchup with the Houston Astros. The bearded one has been a popular fade this year — be it on the over or on his opponent — but will that be the correct play on Friday night’s matchup? Can this Astros offense be trusted?

Let’s have a look at the matchup below.

Astros Offense Has Gone Quiet

Things had just begun to turn around for the Astros when, out of nowhere, they dropped three of four games to the Mariners in a mid-week series. Houston now hasn’t scored a run in the last 19 innings it’s played, though its offensive production to that point was so good that in the grand scheme of things it still looks rather dominant.

The Astros rank fourth in baseball over the last two weeks with a 118 wRC+, striking out in just 18.1% of plate appearances. That high-contact approach mirrors what this team’s been about all year long, and a .156 ISO makes is quite remarkable that this level of production has been able to be found. Houston has just 12 home runs over the last two weeks, which ranks 23rd in that span. It has gotten by on singles and walks.

Jose Urquidy will take to the mound for the Astros for the first time since June, when he was shelved due to injury. He’s made two rehab starts since recovering, which saw him go three scoreless frames in Double-A and pitch four innings of one-run ball in Triple-A.

It seems he’s more than ready for the challenge ahead, which is good news considering the year he’s been having. Urquidy had allowed just a run in 14 innings across two starts before he had to exit his last start against the Orioles. He’s allowed just a .355 xwOBA on contact this year, which is mighty impressive.

Padres’ Going With Arrieta Again?

The Padres are a team that’s used to tough nights at the plate, scoring just six runs over their last two games in Arizona. It’s been an absolutely brutal run offensively for San Diego, which has hit just nine homers in the past two weeks, second to only Miami (6) for the worst mark in baseball over that span. The Fathers’ 60 wRC+ ranks dead last over that span, which seems very difficult considering their walk rate is one of the best in baseball.

Aside from walking, this team isn’t doing anything of value right now at the dish. They’re second in contact rate over that span, so there could be some hope things could turn, but they’re also second-to-last in hard-hit rate. The contact isn’t good enough to make any sort of difference.

Jake Arrieta will also return here, and he’s been pretty bad this year. His first start with the Padres saw him allow five earned runs in 3 1/3 innings at Coors Field, and his second could very well be worse, considering how good the Astros have been at the dish this year. His expected ERA of 6.10 rates as one of the very worst in baseball, and his 44.1% hard-hit rate is not only out of character but objectively bad.

Astros-Padres Pick

Against a high-contact team like Houston, Arrieta’s issues with quality contact should once again shine through. It’s not as if he’s seen good results despite bad peripherals, but this should just be a continuation of what we’ve seen from him this year.

While there’s no indication as to an innings limit for these two, Urquidy should at least go four or five here judging by his rehab outings. If that’s the case, I have full confidence he and the Astros staff can shut down a Padres team that is absolutely lost at the plate and deprived of any power.

This is a lopsided matchup on paper and I recommend getting in before the price becomes steeper.

Pick: Astros ML (-144)

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