The unofficial first half of the MLB season ends with a Sunday matinee between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres. At home, the Padres are favored with a moneyline of -160 compared to Arizona’s moneyline of +135. The game also has an over/under of 7.5 runs.
While they’ve struggled recently, the Padres have a chance to complete a sweep of the D’Backs on Sunday. Before this series, San Diego was just 4-9 in July and moving in the wrong direction, so a sweep would be huge for the Padres. Given their recent struggles, the Padres have fallen 9.5 games back in the NL West, although they remain in control of a Wild Card spot.
The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, have lost four in a row and have fallen into last place in the NL West. They have just two wins in their last ten games and are at risk of heading into the all-star break on a five-game losing streak. The D’Backs are currently 13 games under .500 and 9.5 games out of a playoff spot.
The Arizona Ace
The Diamondbacks are hoping that ace Merrill Kelly can help them stop their losing streak before the break. Kelly is 8-5 with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP over his first 18 starts of the season. He’s allowed two runs or less in six of his last eight starts and has given Arizona at least six innings in each of his last seven starts.
Of course, the Arizona offense has not been cooperating lately. The Diamondbacks are averaging just 2.5 runs per game over their last six games and have scored three runs or less in six of their last nine games. Outside of Ketel Marte and Carson Kelly, most of Arizona’s lineup has been ice cold over the last week.
Clever on the Mound
Mike Clevinger will make his 10th appearance of the season for the Padres to wrap up the first half. In his eight starts and one relief outing, Clevinger is 2-2 with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. However, he’s been beaten up in his last two starts, allowing eight runs over 11.1 innings and taking the loss in games against both the Mariners and Rockies.
The silver lining for San Diego is the Padres are finally starting to give their pitchers run support. The Padres have scored at least four runs in five of their last six games, averaging 4.8 runs per game during that stretch, breaking out of a team-wide slump in the process. While Manny Machado has carried the lineup for most of the season, Ha-Seong Kim, Jorge Alfaro, and Nomar Mazara are all coming on strong lately to add depth to San Diego’s lineup.
With the Padres finally turning things around after their slump and the D’Backs spiraling right before the break, it’s hard to bet against San Diego’s newfound momentum. While Clevinger’s recent struggles are a little bit of a concern, the Diamondbacks may not be able to take advantage of that. Put little faith in the Padres and bet on San Diego to complete the sweep on Sunday.
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