San Diego Padres (37-46) AT Seattle Mariners (40-42)
July 2, 2011 at 10:10 PM EST
Opening Line: SEA -125, SDG +105
Current Line: SEA -129, SDG +109
Opening Total: 6.5
Current Total: 6
SP: SDG- Cory Luebke; SEA- Doug Fister
Unlike the Dodgers-Angels game tonight, which has a low total of 6 due to excellent pitchers, this total is set low at 6 due to horrible offense. Games like that give the illusion of pitchers’ duels, but should not be mistaken for actual good pitching. The Padres and Mariners are both poor enough offensively that mediocre late rotation starters end up looking like aces, so it goes.
The Mariners have, however, managed to win their last 4 games, while actually providing Jason Vargas with 6 runs last night, as he did his part, as well, holding the Padres to only 6 hits while not allowing a run. In the series in May, the Mariners outscored the Padres 14 to 2, and from the looks of the opener, this series may be no different. The Padres hit .156 in the May series and struck out 35 times. Vargas recorded 7 strikeouts last night while pitching a complete game. His ERA on the season improved to 3.57, while is record improved to 6-5.
“I can’t say I’ve had a better stretch,” Vargas said. “I’ve felt good like this before but never was able to string it together in such a short period of time.”
Vargas’ shutout of the Padres gave them their league high 13th scoreless game.
San Diego third baseman Chase Headley was the only one to have a decent game, as he picked up 3 of the Padres’ 6 hits and improved his batting average to .305 on the season. He’s also scored 32 runs thus far and stolen 8 bases, at what is now about the mid way point of the 2011 season.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge had this to say of San Diego’s only effective batter:
“He was hitting his spots all night long…He did a good job of mixing it up, left, right, up, down, adding and subtracting with his velocity. He just did a great job.”
For the Mariners, utility infielder Brendan Ryan picked up 2 hits (improving his average to .256) while Adam Kennedy also picked up 2 hits, and 2 RBIs.
Dustin Moseley gave up 5 runs in 4 2/3rds innings, though his ERA didn’t balloon at all due to the fact that only 2 of the 5 runs were actual earned runs. Moseley attributed it to poor pitch control.
“At this level you can’t fall behind in counts,” he commented, stating the obvious. “And for me to pitch effectively I definitely can’t fall behind in counts.” As most baseball fans, especially ex-pitchers realize, starting out a count on a positive note is much better as it frames pitches that might not otherwise be swung at. Giving a batter a couple balls to start a count only enables him to be more patient and wait for the right pitch. It was walking Jack Cust with the bases loaded that he was referring to, while in the fifth inning Cust hit a double and drove in a run, to give the Mariners a 5-0 lead.
“The offense was very, very good tonight, consistent up and down the lineup,” Wedge said. “They squared up on the fastball and were aggressive at times and looked at a lot of pitches at times.”
Tonight will give the chance for the Mariners to improve to 5-0 against the Padres this season, aided mostly by their strong pitching and the fact that the Padres don’t even hit well against bad pitchers, much less strong ones like they faced last night in Vargas.
Some betting trends:
San Diego is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games and the total has gone UNDER in 4 of San Diego’s last 5 games. The Padres are 2-7 SU in their last 9 road games and they are also 5-0 SU in their last 5 against the Seattle Mariners. The Padres are 2-4 SU In their last 6 games on the road against the Mariners, as well.
The Seattle Mariners are 3-7 SU in their last 10 games while the total has gone UNDER in 12 of Seattle’s last 15 games. The total has also gone UNDER in 7 of their last 9 at home while the Mariners are 2-4 SU in their last 6 games at home. The Mariners are also 5-0 SU in their last 5 against the San Diego Padres, while going 4-2 SU in their last 6 home games against the Padres.
Given the fact that last night’s offensive outburst by the Mariners was mostly an anomaly, it’s easy to see the total of 6 as too high, actually. Doug Fister will be pitching for the Mariners and while his record doesn’t substantiate it (how common is that?), his 3.18 ERA speaks to the solidity of his pitching. Meanwhile, Cory Luebke will take the mound for San Diego, and he’s been very good wit ha 2.86 ERA thus far and 49 Ks in 47 innings. These two pitchers are sufficiently good enough to stop two bad offenses and the ‘under’ is a very decent proposition in this matchup.