Our success streak ended at seven Sunday after the Giants and Cubs erupted for 11 runs, blowing blow any hopes cashing of the first five and full game unders. While most people are certainly focused on the first Monday Night Football matchup of the year, I’m still out here in the trenches trying to grind away some MLB profits before the season ends.
We have a pretty small eight-game slate for Monday, but that’s never stopped us before from finding value and cashing bets. Let’s turn the page quickly on Sunday’s losses and look to start another winning streak.
After sweeping their six-game road trip, San Francisco will head back home to kick off a three-game divisional series with San Diego. Big right-hander Yu Darvish will get the start from San Diego to take on San Francisco’s Dominic Leone in what appears to be a bullpen game for the home squad.
On the whole, Yu Darvish has had a fairly successful first year in San Diego, although slightly disappointing for his standards. Through 26 starts and 146 innings, he checks in with an ERA and FIP just slightly under 4.00, at 3.95 and 3.67, respectively. While these numbers may seem competent on the surface, what they don’t tell you is that he’s been quite Jekyll-and-Hyde-esque in terms of both his home/road splits and his performance over the first half of the season compared to the second half. Unfortunately for Darvish, he’ll be on the bad end of both of his splits in this one as, naturally, it’s the second half of the season and he’ll be pitching at Oracle Park. In his 41 innings since the All-Star break, Darvish has looked like a completely different pitcher, getting hit around to the tune of a 4.68 FIP while allowing a .333 wOBA against. Away from the friendly confines of Petco Park, he has near identical numbers with a 4.66 FIP and a .334 wOBA against. It’s hard to put your finger on what exactly is causing these results, as his BABIP and HR/FB ratio are in the range of where you would expect them to be so it isn’t due to bad luck, but Darvish just simply hasn’t had that it factor lately. He pitched well against the Angels in his last start, but they are the Angels and the game was at Petco. Over his last 10 starts combined, including his 6-inning, 1-ER gem against Los Angeles, he’s gone 1-7 with a 6.84 ERA and a 4.84 FIP. For comparison’s sake, over his first 16 starts of the season he had a sparkling 2.44 ERA and 3.06 FIP and was in the early running to be an NL Cy Young contender. Any hopes of winning that award are surely gone for Darvish at this point as he’s merely focusing on trying to sneak San Diego into the last wild card spot in the NL. San Diego as a squad has been severely disappointing over the last few months and Darvish may be one of the bigger second-half disappointments they’ve had.
For an offense that seems to be loaded on paper with the likes of Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Jake Cronenworth, the Padres have drastically fallen short of expectations this year. They rank in the middle of the pack in the majors with slightly below-average marks in both wOBA (.312) and wRC+ (97). Facing what is most likely a bullpen game for San Francisco, it’s tough to zone in on exactly which right/left split will be more dominant here, but unfortunately for San Diego it doesn’t matter all that much since they’re subpar facing both. Out of the two, they’ve fared better facing righties, although even at that they’ve only managed a .315 wOBA and 99 wRC+, while against southpaws they rank in the bottom-5 of the majors with just a .303 wOBA and 91 wRC+, marks worse than some of the most putrid offenses like Kansas City and Cleveland. In terms of home/away, even though Petco is one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in the majors, that’s been their better split, again scratching out just above an average .314 wOBA and 101 wRC+, but on the road they’ve been a near bottom-10 offense in the majors with a .310 wOBA and 93 wRC+. Sure, injuries have hurt them this season, but that makes no difference to bettors when sifting through the slate to find value. This San Diego team is not who anyone expected them to be at the beginning of the season and I have a feeling they haven’t hit rock bottom just yet.
Dominic Leone will get his second straight start here, but is almost surely going to be used as an opener. He’s made two other starts this season, with 45 total appearances, but has only thrown more than a single inning twice so it doesn’t seem like San Francisco is looking to stretch him out much. He’s been a very effective reliever this season, with just a 1.48 ERA and a 3.37 FIP while showing the ability to keep the ball in the park with just .42 HR/9 allowed, and has actually been great in his two opening appearances not allowing a single base runner. Usually you’ll try to stay away from teams with bullpen days, but when the teams has as good of a bullpen as San Francisco it becomes a very different story. Whether or not Leone goes one or two innings, behind him San Francisco has the luxury of deploying a bullpen with the second-lowest ERA (2.48) and fifth-lowest FIP (3.57) over the last 30 days. They’ve had a bottom-10 barrel rate and BB% during that span, so they’ve been very effective at limiting free baserunners while also having the innate ability to miss opposing hitters’ sweet spots. San Francisco was able to hold a pesky Chicago lineup to just one run over nine innings during their last bullpen game Friday and before that they were able to secure the win against Walker Buehler and a fantastic Los Angeles team Sept. 5. This is one bullpen game where I’m actually leaning toward the team throwing out their pen.
Moving to San Francisco’s offensive side, they’ve been one of the best units in the majors through the entire season. Overall, they’ve been a top-five team with a .328 wOBA and 107 wRC+, while having what is possibly the most balanced lineup in all of baseball. I mentioned this Sunday, but the fact that a National League team has 10 different players with 10 or more home runs is absolutely ridiculous and points to how deep their lineup truly is. Oracle Park may be more known for being a pitcher’s paradise, but hitting here has been San Francisco’s stronger split on the year with a .334 wOBA and a 114 wRC+, again both good for top-five marks. No matter which way you slice it, San Francisco seems to be a top-five offensive team in virtually every split with a .329 wOBA and 108 wRC+ facing right-handers as well as ranking as the second-best offense overall over the last 14 and seven days. People may have thought that this bunch was overproducing for a while and waiting for them to fall back down to Earth, but at this point you have to accept the fact that San Francisco is the real deal.
I can only assume this game is priced the way it is because of the name recognition Yu Darvish has and because it’s a bullpen game from the San Francisco side. None of that really matters to me at all since not only has Darvish been bad lately, but he’s been equally as bad on the road. On the flip side, Leone has been great in his limited appearances as an opener and happens to have one of the best bullpens in the majors coming in behind him. Offensively, San Diego can’t hold a candle to San Francisco as both offenses have been trending in extremely different directions over the past week. At almost even money, I’m absolutely taking my chances on the best team in baseball at home in this one. San Francisco -105 Caesars Sportsbook