Padres vs Tigers Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Friday, July 21
Via Nick Cammett/Getty Images. Pictured: Juan Soto #22 of the San Diego Padres runs off the field after the second inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 29, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Padres vs. Tigers Odds
The San Diego Padres just went into Toronto and took a series from a hot Blue Jays team. Those wins are not only important for gaining momentum, but they have narrowed the gap in the NL Wild Card race.
San Diego enters this series just 6.5 games out of the third Wild-Card spot, and they will have the chance to chip away at that number as they take on the Detroit Tigers.
However, the Tigers may not go down easy as they enter this matchup winners of six of their last 10. We've seen their bats come to life in support of the young pitching staff, but can they contend with San Diego's star power?
Let's find out as we dive into this series opener.
I last covered the Padres on Tuesday as they began their series with the Blue Jays, and I highlighted how they had not received consistent contributions from nearly two-thirds of their lineup. As it went, Juan Soto led the way as they broke out for nine runs in that win, but overall the back half of this lineup is a mystery.
Fortunately, the Padres have another decent matchup today when they face Reese Olson. Olson is a slider-heavy pitcher who relies on creating soft contact.
However, typically someone who has a sinker-slider arsenal would generate ground balls, but Olson actually has an above-average Fly Ball Rate. While that is not a bad idea in spacious Comerica Park, it may lead to line drives, especially against the top of this Padres order.
Olson has excellent command and relies on hitters getting themselves out by swinging at pitches outside the zone. He ranks in the 86th percentile in Chase Rate, but the Padres are the perfect counter as they have the fifth-lowest Team Chase Rate in baseball.
If the Padres can lay off the sliders that bend out of the zone, they will set themselves up for fastballs in hitters' counts. Olson's fastball is due to be hit as it has a .246 xBA, which is a big jump compared to its .174 BAA.
I touched on how the Tigers' bats have begun to heat up of late and how this has led to victories. It may be hard to believe, but Detroit outranks teams like Houston, Milwaukee and Arizona in xwOBACON.
However, power is one separating factor between those lineups and Detroit's. The Tigers have the second-lowest slugging percentage in the majors. However, they are due for some sizable positive regression at the plate, and they will not need power to do damage tonight.
The Tigers will be up against veteran right-hander Seth Lugo. On paper, Lugo has been solid at the back end of the Padres rotation, but a closer look tells a different story.
Lugo has not been missing bats like in years past, which has led to much more hard contact. He enters this start in the bottom 40% of all qualified pitchers in Average Exit Velocity and Hard-hit Rate allowed.
That level of hard contact is also expected to produce more extra-base hits as he ranks in the 20th percentile in xSLG.
So with the Tigers trending up and Lugo trending down, we should see Detroit on the board early tonight.
Padres vs. Tigers Betting Pick
While these aren't the two teams that you would expect a high-scoring matchup from, they are both in favorable spots to jump on the opposing starters.
The Padres should show discipline against Reese Olson and punish him in hitter's counts.
However, the Tigers will fire back as they capitalize on Lugo's excellent command of a diminishing arsenal.
Take the over in the first five innings tonight.