MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Diamondbacks vs. Padres Preview (April 1)
Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Fernando Tatis and Manny Machado
Diamondbacks vs. Padres Odds
|Time||Thursday, 4:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday and via DraftKings|
There aren’t many better feelings as a sports fan than waking up on Opening Day. The dawn of the new season fills every team with hope. Even a team like the Arizona Diamondbacks will feel they have a chance to be competitive — that is, of course, until the season gets underway.
For the second straight season, the Diamondbacks will begin their season on the road against the Padres. Madison Bumgarner will get the nod again, this time against new San Diego ace Yu Darvish.
The Diamondbacks had a relatively quiet offseason with only $8.5 million in free-agent signings. Given the lack of ambition with their front office for this season, I don’t see any reason to give them much of a chance on Opening Day against a Padres team that got stronger by adding multiple pieces, including Darvish, who finished second NL Cy Young race.
Can MadBum Regain Form for D’Backs?
The Diamondbacks’ offseason essentially consisted of three players: Relievers Tyler Clippard and Joakim Soria and infielder Asdrubal Cabrera.
Arizona didn’t do much in the offseason to address the lack of runs it created last season. The Diamondbacks finished 26th in the MLB with a wRC+ of 88. They were also ranked 25th with a .306 wOBA.
There’s no doubt that the Diamondbacks can generate power, starting with David Peralta at the top of their lineup; the reality is that they’re not necessarily a team that you want to back away from the hitter-friendly Chase Field. Arizona’s numbers were even worse on the road as it finished 28th with a .281 wOBA and a wRC+ of 72.
As far as the starting pitching is concerned, the San Francisco Giants may have parted ways with Bumgarner at the right time. The North Carolina native made only nine starts last season, but his 7.18 FIP was the worst of his career.
One cause for concern with Bumgarner is that his four-seam fastball dropped from an average of 91.4 in 2019 to 88.4 in 2020. This has made him more reluctant to throw his changeup because there is less separation in speed between both pitches.
In 2019, Bumgarner threw his changeup 174 times, but in 2020 he only threw it nine times. The loss in velocity has also affected his cutter, which was relatively the same speed as his changeup last year, whereas, in 2019, he had a difference of three miles per hour between both pitches.
The changeup used to be Bumgarner’s putaway pitch at a rate of 25%. He could struggle again this season if he can find a pitch he’s comfortable using to put batters away.
Padres Ready for Another Big Year
Last season, the San Diego Padres got their first taste of the playoffs in 14 years, and they don’t have any plan to wait another 14 years to return. To do so, the Padres made a flurry of moves in the offseason:
- Signed shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. to a 14-year extension.
- Traded for Yu Darvish.
- Traded for former Cy Young winner Blake Snell.
- Signed Ha-Seong Kim, the most sought-after infielder in Korea.
- Traded for Joe Musgrove to provide depth in the rotation.
- Solidified the bullpen by signing Mark Melancon and Keone Kela.
The Padres also return all their starters from last season, so there’s plenty of continuity within the team. This roster will be a flat-out nightmare for opposing teams.
Last year against left-handed pitching, San Diego was above average with a wRC+ of 106 and a .327 wOBA. They’re also likely to see plenty of the Arizona bullpen as starting pitchers are generally on strict pitch counts early in the season.
Arizona’s bullpen could be exposed if they’re asked to pitch additional innings of relief. Keep in mind that their bullpen was ranked 25th with a 4.83 FIP. Arizona didn’t adequately address that in the offseason, and it could leave them vulnerable in the ballgame.
One of my favorite angles to play on opening day is to back home teams in a divisional series. Dating back to 2015, home teams in this situational spot are 36-23 on the run line for +22.43 units. I also like San Diego’s head-to-head numbers against Bumgarner as they’ve also gone 23-14 (62.2%) on the run line in this spot.
These trends support my decision to fade Bumgarner on Opening Day. I think the Diamondbacks could be in for a rough season this year.
The loss in velocity is a major concern as I think he’s no longer able to consistently miss bats since he’s been reluctant to throw his changeup.
I don’t put much stock in spring training stats, but Bumgarner did allow eight runs in his last nine innings of work in March.
With San Diego as high as +250 on the money line, I’ll look to get involved by backing them on the DraftKings run line at -110.
Pick: Padres -1.5 (-110)