9:10 PM EST – Line: Dodgers -225, Over/Under: 8.5
With the All-Star Break nearly here, Division Rivals clash as the San Diego Padres make the short trip north to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first entry of a Four-Game Series from Dodger Stadium. After making heavy investments in the Offseason, the Padres (42-41, 3rd in NL West) made their ambition clear, as they look to snap a 12-Year Playoff Drought. While this team is clearly improved over last year’s train wreck (66-96), and is currently on pace to win over Eighty Games for the first time since 2010, it remains to be seen whether or not they’ll be able to break their Postseason Jinx. That’s because the National League West is absolutely stacked, with tonight’s opponent, the Dodgers, owning a comfortable Twelve-Game Lead over the rest of the Division, with the Rockies, Padres, and Diamondbacks separated by just Two Games. s a result, the Wild Card is likely the only pathway to the Playoffs, and at the advent of this Series, Andy Greene’s charges sit 1.5 Games out of the final spot. By far and away, the biggest investment that they made in the Offseason was signing Manny Machado (81 G, .277 BA, 86 H, 51 R, 14 2B, 20 HR, 56 RBI, 34 BB, 72 K) in Free Agency, with the All-Star Third Baseman bringing some sorely-needed star power to the Franchise. Of course, San Diego was able to pry him away from Los Angeles, who deemed him too expensive even by their standards, with the Pads inking the 26-Year Old to a massive 10-Year, $300 Million contract. Despite a slow start to the season, Machado has gradually acclimated himself to his new surroundings, batting .314 with Thirty-Three Hits, Seven Doubles, Eleven Home Runs, and Twenty-Nine Runs Batted In during the month of June. Taking the mound tonight for the Padres will be Chris Paddack (5-4, 3.05 ERA, 14 GS, 76.2 IP, 55 H, 26 ER, 12 HR, 17 BB, 81 K, 0.939 WHIP), their promising Rookie Righthander who has settled into his place in the Rotation. San Diego has one of the youngest Rotations in the Majors, featuring six arms 27-Years Old or younger, with this kid potentially being the best of the bunch. Of the group, Paddack has posted the lowest ERA (3.05) and WHIP (0.939), along with the Strikeout Average (per Nine Innings) (9.5) and Strikeout/Walk Ratio (4.76). After winning just one of his previous Six Starts, the youngster was outstanding in his team’s 12-2 drubbing of the St. Louis Cardinals, permitting One Run on Two Hits over the course of Six Innings, in which he struck out Eight Cards and walked one. This will be his second meeting with the Dodgers, and judging by how that affair went, there’s no doubt that he’d relish another shot at the reigning National League Champions. Back on May 14th, Paddack was run off the Mound after just 4.2 Innings, serving up a pair of Home Runs, leading to Six Runs on Five Hits in what would be a 3-6 Loss.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers (57-29, 1st in NL West) continue to roll through the campaign with ease, having built considerable leads in both the National League West (12.0 Games), and the National League overall (5.5 Games). However, after coming up short in back-to-back trips to the World Series, Los Angeles will not be satisfied with merely another pennant, for their eyes remains fixated on capturing the franchise’s first World Series Title since 1988. Dave Roberts’ charges are currently on pace to win 114 Games, which would shatter the Franchise Record back set back in 1953, when the team was still located in Brooklyn. With the rest of the Majors embroiled in a Home Run Renaissance, this team has gone in the other direction, rolling through the competition thanks in large part to what has become arguably the top Pitching Staff in either league. Los Angeles ranks First in the National League in Team ERA (3.41) while issuing the fewest Walks (191), and Second in Hits (647), Runs (331), and Saves (26). Much of that has had to do with some truly dominant pitching, which brings us to the man heading to the bump tonight, Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-2, 1.83 ERA, 16 GS, 103.0 IP, 86 H, 21 ER, 10 HR, 7 BB, 94 K, 0.903 WHIP), who in this season that has been defined by an onslaught of Home Runs, has been nothing short of a breath of fresh air. After years of Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 3.23 ERA, 14 GS, 92.0 IP, 83 H, 33 ER, 13 HR, 15 BB, 82 K, 1.065 WHIP) carrying the Rotation, Roberts & Co. have found themselves a new ace in the form of the South Korean International, who has put together a striking first half of the season, which could set up a historically dominant campaign overall. In 2019, this guy has nothing short of sensational, leading the Majors in a slew of categories, including ERA (1.83), WHIP (0.903), Walks per Nine Innings (0.6), and Strikeout/Walk Ratio (13.43). We’ll give you an opportunity to let these statistics set in, folks; in 103.0 Innings of labor, Ryu has issued a miniscule SEVEN Walks and Ten Home Runs. While it would be amazing if he were to keep up such a torrid pace, Ryu does have a shot at breaking the modern ERA Record set by Pedro Martinez back in 2000 (1.74). Furthermore, he’s allowed over Two Runs just twice all season, and coincidentally, that came in his last Two Starts, both of which came against the Rockies. Between the two outings, the most recent a 9-13 Loss at Coors Field, Ryu has allowed Eight Earned Runs on Fifteen Hits, including Three Home Runs, in 10.0 Innings with Nine Strikeouts in comparison to Two Walks. To put that into perspective, this guy had gone a DOZEN Games before giving up Eight Runs. While the thin air in Colorado has certainly vexed plenty of aces over the years, there is plenty of reason to believe that he’ll get back on track against the Padres, whom he has enjoyed wealth of success against; in Ten Career Starts versus San Diego, Ryu has logged a 7-1 Record with a 2.26 ERA and 1.073 WHIP, alongside Sixty-Six Strikeouts opposed to just Ten Walks.