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The Diamondbacks' Robbie Ray is one of the game's best strikeout artists - can he stymie the Padres on Saturday?
Welcome back to the LazyBets Free MLB picks column for Saturday, July 7th. The Fightin’ Phils showed up for us on Friday, breaking loose for 17 runs in a trouncing of the cross-town Pirates and taking a share of the NL East lead in the process. We took the 14-1 longshot odds on Philadelphia to win the East in our preseason preview, so needless to say we’re pleased about just how live that bet is as we’ve passed the halfway mark.
For Saturday’s selection, we’ll turn to another one of our preseason favorites - the NL West leading Arizona Diamondbacks, who have gotten one of their best arms back from the DL in Robbie Ray. He’ll face Tyson Ross and the Padres in the third game of a four game set. Let’s get into it.
San Diego Padres (Ross) at Arizona Diamondbacks (Ray)
With the Dodgers nipping at their heels, the Diamondbacks should be very excited to have 26 year old lefty Robbie Ray back from a two-month stint on the DL. Ross broke out in a big way in 2017, posting a 2.89 ERA over 28 starts with an absolutely obscene strikeout rate that was good for second in baseball amongst qualified starters.
Whether it was the DL stint, or the poor start he made on Monday in his second start since returning from the oblique injury, we think the oddsmakers have underestimated Ray’s potential with the odds being offered in Saturday’s contest. We’re believers in the power of the strikeout, and Ray is one of the best in the business in that particular skill.
We bet against the Padres in Tyson Ross’ last start on Sunday, so we were happy to watch Ross’ worst start of the year in that game as he allowed 7 earned runs in a San Diego loss. While we aren’t banking on another 7 spot on Saturday, we maintain our stance that Ross’ 3.78 ERA should continue to rise as the year goes on. Ross’ inflated walk rate (3.42 per nine) doesn’t come with a K rate anywhere in the vicinity of Ray’s stellar mark, so we can’t see Ross producing nearly as much in the second half as he did in the first.
We’ve bashed the Padres offense a couple times lately, and they made us pay for it on Thursday in a 6-3 win that cost us that day’s pick. However, we’re not changing our tune - the Padres should remain near the bottom of the offensive ranks for the remainder of the season. Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers are solid players, but neither ranks among the top 50 offensive players for the rest of the season by Steamer projections. The Diamondbacks have one - Paul Goldschmidt, who has really turned it on (142 wRC+) since starting slowly this season. He, along with AJ Pollock (just outside the top 50), should be able to lead the Snakes’ offense out of the bottom 10 by year’s end.
While there are bigger favorites on the board for Saturday (WAS, HOU, CLE), we feel that this one is about as big of as a mismatch as any. Robbie Ray should put his strikeout ability on full display against the weak Padres offense, and we trust that Tyson Ross will get himself into trouble against the heart of the D’Backs order. We’re pleased to take Arizona at -168 in what should be an easy Diamondbacks victory.
That’ll do it for our MLB pick - before you leave, have you been following our World Cup selections of late? We’re 7-1 in our last 8 picks, and you’d better get in the action soon - there are only five games left in what has been a phenomenal tournament thus far.
Good luck and enjoy the weekend y’all, let’s get a win!
Bet the Diamondbacks -168
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