San Diego Padres @ Washington Nationals Game Preview and Pick

After an off day for both teams, the Padres will be in Washinton tonight for the start of a three-game series. We’ll preview tonight’s game before going over my play for the first five innings.

Game Preview

The Padres snapped a four-game losing streak on Sunday with a 7-0 win over the Red Sox. Even with that win, San Diego is still 2-8 over their last ten games, and Sunday was just the third time in that span they managed to score more than three runs. Matt Carpenter was able to pick up a needed home run in Sunday’s contest, but the Padres still were outhit in the game despite the shutout win.

With San Diego looking to win back-to-back games since May 5th, they will send Yu Darvish to the mound for his ninth start of the year. In 48 innings, Darvish has pitched to a 3.56 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 16 walks. The veteran righty picked up his third loss in his most recent outing as he went 5 ⅓ innings with six strikeouts but allowed four earned runs, which with the current state of the Padres lineup, is too many runs to overcome.

Tonight Darvish will face a Nationals lineup that is off a series win over the Tigers in which they scored 17 runs across three games. In Sunday’s win, Jeimer Candelario picked up his sixth multi-hit game over the past ten games, while catcher Riley Adams left the yard for the second time this season. Up to this point in the year, the Nationals are hitting .261 at home with a .696 OPS.

Getting the ball for the Nationals will be young left-hander MacKenzie Gore. In nine starts and 46.3 innings, Gore has a 3.69 ERA with 58 strikeouts and 23 walks. The lefty has his strikeout stuff in his most recent start but still picked up the loss as he threw 5 ⅓ innings with seven strikeouts but allowed four earned runs on five hits.

Pick for the Game

The total for the first five innings is currently set at 4.5, and I’ll be taking the under for my play in this one. Washington is 20th in average runs scored per game in the first five innings, while San Diego is 23rd. Both teams are also sending out strong starting pitchers tonight, so I think both sides' F5 scoring struggles will continue.

Washington has the lowest wRC+ at home against right-handed pitching in the league this season, and they will take on a starter in Yu Darvish, that is in the 73rd percentile in barrel percentage, 75th percentile in strikeout percentage, and 86th percentile in expected batting average. Darvish also has a 3.38 ERA or lower in four of the first five innings this season.

MacKenzie Gore comes into tonight in the 63rd percentile in barrel percentage, 72nd percentile in expected slugging percentage, and has a 3.00 ERA or lower in four of the first five innings. San Diego is hitting .202 on the road up to this point and ranks 27th in wRC+ against lefties on the road in May. Between the matchup and the state of the Padres lineup, I like this game to be low scoring, at least while the starters are in.


  • F5 Under 4.5

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