Braves vs. Padres Odds, Pick & Preview: Why Both Lineups Should Have Early Success on Sunday Night Baseball (April 17)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Austin Riley
- The Padres are slight home favorites against the Braves on Sunday Night Baseball.
- Yu Darvish will face off against rookie Bryce Elder on the mound in a game where the bats should have the advantage early on.
- Check out Brad Cunningham's analysis and pick below.
Braves vs. Padres Odds
|Time||7:08 p.m. ET|
World Series contenders Atlanta and San Diego close out a three-game series on Sunday Night Baseball.
The Braves have come out of the gates a little slow, with a 5-5 record through their first 10 games. They have had the better of the Padres this series, beating them by identical 5-2 scores in the first two games. They’ll send one of their highly touted prospects, Bryce Elder, to the mound to try and complete the sweep.
San Diego is in the same boat as Atlanta, starting out 5-5 after some big preseason expectations. The offense has been lacking this series and overall in 2021. The early season struggles of their ace Yu Darvish haven’t helped things either. So, he will try to right the ship tonight and get a quality start.
The Braves have been very average early on this season, putting up a .320 wOBA and 101 wRC+. However, if we go back to last year, this was one of the best offenses in the National League, especially against right-handed pitching, as Atlanta led the National League in both home runs and runs.
The Braves are bringing back the exact same lineup that won the World Series, except replacing Freddie Freeman with Matt Olson, which might actually be an upgrade.
The matchup against Darvish should be a good one for the Braves on Sunday night. Darvish mainly utilizes a cutter, slider, and fastball combination. The only pitch they had a negative run value against last year was sliders, but against cutters and fastballs, they combined for a +20.6 Run Value in 2021.
San Diego Padres
San Diego is in the same boat as Atlanta through the first 10 games of the season with its offense being very average, sitting with a .319 wOBA. With Fernando Tatis Jr. still on the sidelines, the rest of the lineup hasn’t really stepped up, especially in this series versus Atlanta.
However, the matchup against Bryce Elder is a good one because San Diego was above average against righties last season (12th in wOBA). The only pitches they had a positive run value against a season ago were fastballs and curveballs, which are two of Elder’s top-three pitches.
Starting Pitching Matchup
Bryce Elder vs. Yu Darvish (2022 Projected Stats via Fangraphs)
Braves Starting Pitcher
Bryce Elder, RHP
This will be Elder’s second start in the big leagues after getting the call up at the beginning the season.
He’s a righty out of the University of Texas with a a four-pitch mix of fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup. He has two different kinds of fastballs that average around 92 mph, one with a ton of sinking action and one with a cutting action. His slider is by far his best off-speed pitch, which he showed in his first start, throwing it 13 times and producing a 42.9% Whiff Rate, per Baseball Savant.
He threw his changeup more than any other pitch in his first start, but he really can mix and match his four-pitch arsenal to the lineup he is facing.
The main question mark in his second start is if he can be more effective with his sinker and cutter. He allowed a combined five hits on both and over a .400 xwOBA. It is obviously a small sample size, but facing a lineup that hits sinkers and cutters well might be bad news for Elder.
Padres Starting Pitcher
Yu Darvish, RHP
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Yu Darvish has had a rough start to the season, giving up nine earned runs in only seven and two-thirds innings of work. In his last start against San Francisco, he couldn’t make it out of the second inning.
The problem is his fastball and cutter are getting absolutely shelled, as they’re both allowing an xwOBA over .400 through two starts. The problems with his cutter are a carryover from last season when he allowed a .362 xwOBA on it. His spin rates on both pitches are also down from last year, so we could be starting to see some decline at 35-years-old from Darvish.
The bullpen matchup should be very even in the later innings, as both were in the top 10 in ERA, LOB%, and BB/9 rate.
Both teams made a splash in the offseason, with the Braves adding Kenley Jansen and the Padres trading for Taylor Rogers. So, both bullpens should only improve in 2022.
With the inexperience of Elder and the struggles of Darvish early on in 2021, I think we are going to see runs early on Sunday Night Baseball. Additionally, both offenses have a decent matchup against the opposing pitch arsenal, along with being above average against right handed pitching.
I have 4.89 runs projected for the first five innings, so I like the value on Over 4 runs at -110 (DraftKings).
Pick: First Five Innings Over 4 Runs (-110)