San Diego comes into this weekend series winners of eight of its last 11 games, including a successful 6-3 homestand. “We just want to keep plugging away,” Padres OF Tony Gwynn said. The Padres dropped five of the seven games against the Phillies last season and look to gain revenge of being swept at Petco Park over that span. This is certainly a different San Diego team, a unit that has posted a 29-15 record over its last 44 games. The Padres have been especially good against winning ball clubs, compiling a 16-6 (+1,200) mark that’s far-different from the 74-97 (-590) record over the last three seasons. When looking to play a total on Friday night, it’s interesting to note that the Padres have gone 7-14-2 O/U away from its pitcher friendly ballpark.
Padres SP Mat Latos will face the Phillies for the first time in his career, lucky enough to draw a matchup with their ace to boot. The right-hander has been rock solid during the 2010 season, posting a 5-3 record and 3.08 ERA in 10 starts (+310). He’s been especially good of late, compiling seven consecutive quality starts. Latos can only hope to carry over his May success into June, as his .160 opponents batting average against was the lowest in club history for the month. He was 4-1 with a 1.54 ERA in six May starts, with the Padres posting a 4-2 mark. San Diego’s 3.67 runs of support this season while he’s in the game, ranks 10th lowest in the National League. Limiting the long ball is important when facing the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, which is strength of Latos this season, not allowing a home run in his past five starts.
Philadelphia hopes the start of its current homestand will turn things around and also pick up its first victory of the month (0-2). Since starting the month of May with a National League-best 12-3 record, the Phillies have dropped 11 of their last 15 contests. Over their last 15 games, Philadelphia has been outscored, 61-26, having been held to one run or fewer eight times and shut out five times. Fans can only hope that Thursday’s off day will help turn things around, with the Phillies being 32-22 (+720) when having time off the last three years. In order for this to happen, the club’s 3-4-5 hitters must produce. The middle of the lineup has managed a total of just five RBIs in the last 11 games. Total bettors will make note of the Phillies coming off three consecutive losses, with the under cashing 23 out of the last 29 opportunities.
Phillies SP Roy Halladay gets set finally make a start against the Padres, the only team he’s never faced in his MLB career. The last time Halladay took the mound, the Phillies ace became just the 20th pitcher to toss a perfect game. That start came after the right-hander suffered through his worst start of the year, surrendering seven runs (six earned) to the Red Sox. He comes in with a 3-2 record and 2.56 ERA in five home starts this season (-210), but the Phillies have dropped his last two. Under the lights this season, he has produced some incredible numbers that include 33 strikeouts and just two walks over 42 innings of work.
The casual bettor is banking on the Phillies breaking out in this particular spot, but there’s serious value in finding a first place team as such an underdog. Philadelphia is just an even 2-2 (-160) when placed as a home favorite of -175 to -200 and 9-13 (-1,460) over the last three years. San Diego finds itself as this type of underdog for the first time in 2010, but has managed a profit over the last three seasons (+510).