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Wednesday MLB Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions for Padres vs. Tigers: Pitching Duel During First 5 Innings?

Wednesday MLB Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions for Padres vs. Tigers: Pitching Duel During First 5 Innings? article feature image
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Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Yu Darvish #11 of the San Diego Padres.

  • The San Diego Padres and Detroit Tigers meet Wednesday for the rubber match in their three-game regular season series.
  • Neither of the first two games in this series have played out as expected, but should we expect a pitcher's duel with Yu Darvish and Tarik Skubal on the mound?
  • MLB betting analyst Doug Ziefel previews today's MLB matchup below, which includes updated odds, picks and predictions.

Padres vs. Tigers Odds

Padres Odds -140
Tigers Odds +115
Over/Under 7.5 (-105 / -115)
Time 1:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds updated as of Wednesday morning via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

It’s the rubber match of this three-game set between the San Diego Padres and Detroit Tigers.

In a series that was anticipated to be low-scoring considering the Padres pitching edge … that’s not what we’ve gotten. Detroit blew open Game 1 against Sean Manaea, but then the Padres stole Game 2 in extras after Detroit mounted a three-run comeback.

So, will the pitching matchup in the finale give us the pitching duel we’ve been waiting for?

Yu Darvish will get the ball for San Diego in search of his tenth win of the year. He has bounced back in a big way from last season and enters this start with a 3.28 ERA.

Opposing Darvish for the Tigers will be Tarik Skubal. The 25-year-old lefty has had a breakout campaign and enters with a 3.88 ERA. However, he’s due to lower that number as his FIP is 2.92.

So, with these two starters combining to allow 6.5 runs on average, what’s the best angle for this matchup?


Look for Skubal to Cruise Early

The San Diego Padres have cooled down tremendously at the plate after a red-hot first few months of the season. They don’t have enough consistency from anyone not named Manny Machado. In fact,  Machado and Voit are the only two active hitters that have above-average xwOBAs.

In addition to San Diego’s overall inconsistency, the team is not built to hit lefties. The Padres are middle of the pack against left-handers. San Diego’s ranks of 18th in batting average, 19th in wOBA, and 17th in wRC+ are not going to get it done against a pitcher of Skubal’s caliber.

Not to mention, Skubal has been tough for anyone to square up. He enters this outing ranking in the top 25% of MLB in barrel rate, along with ranking in the top 40% in strikeout rate and whiff rate.

However, Skubal’s recent downswing stemmed from command issues that have limited his ability to pitch deep into games. Furthermore, he didn’t iron out those problems during his last start as he walked two in six innings.

That focuses our handicap on the first five innings — where we know Skubal will be in the game and effective. Looking at the Padres with that lens, go figure; they are once again in the middle of the pack. San Diego ranks 17th in first-five runs per game.


Expect Darvish to Continue Dominant Stretch

Darvish has been on a roll since mid-May. He’s thrown a quality start in 10 of his last 11 outings, and he’s thrown six innings in nine of the last 11 starts.

His success stems from improved command of his cutter. Darvish’s cutter is an elite pitch with a spin rate in the top 2% of all qualified fastballs. However, his cutter is an average of eight miles per hour slower than his four-seam fastball.

In addition, the cutter tunnels perfectly with Darvish’s fastball and slider, so hitters are constantly off-balance. If they sit cutter, then they won’t catch up to the fastball nor swing on the same plane as the slider.

The Tigers won’t offer much resistance against Darvish, especially if he’s on. Detroit enters this matchup as the worst offense in the majors. The Tigers are second to last in wOBA, wRC+ and batting average, and they rank dead-last in ISO.

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Padres vs. Tigers Pick

These two starters should be cooking early on.

Skubal got back on track in his last start and will have the edge against the Padres lineup on his home mound. As for Darvish, he should overpower this Tigers lineup and generate plenty of swings and misses with his arsenal.

I mentioned how Skubal’s command had focused on the first five of this game, so that is where my pick lies. Take the under during the first five innings, and enjoy the pitching duel.

Pick: F5 Under 3.5 (+100)

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