At long last, Fernando Tatis Jr. is back. The superstar will make his long-awaited return from suspension as the San Diego Padres travel to the desert to take on the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Thursday night in the start of a four-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 9:40 p.m. ET. Michael Wacha (2-1, 6.06 ERA) will take the mound for the Friars, while Arizona counters with righty Ryne Nelson (1-0, 3.71).
The Padres are -145 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Diamondbacks are +125 underdogs. The total is set at 10.
Padres-Diamondbacks picks: Thursday, April 20
Out: C Luis Campusano (left thumb sprain), SP Joe Musgrove (fractured left big toe), RP Drew Pomeranz (flexor tendon surgery), OF Adam Engel (left hamstring strain), OF David Dahl (right quad strain), RP Robert Suarez (right elbow inflammation), RP Nabil Crismatt
Out: SP Zach Davies (strained left oblique), C Carson Kelly (right distal ulna fracture), OF Kyle Lewis (illness), RP Mark Melancon (right shoulder)
Michael Wacha vs. Ryne Nelson
Last time out, Wacha turned in one of the worst starts of his career, as he gave up 11 hits and seven runs in four innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. While hitters are only averaging .200 against Wacha’s changeup, they’re hitting .375 against his fastball and .455 against his cutter. That said, Wacha still has proven that he has some left in the tank, as he tallied 10 strikeouts in six scoreless innings on April 8 against the Atlanta Braves.
After impressing in three starts last season, Nelson has continued that form in his three starts this season, as he’s gone 5+ innings in all of his outings. The last time out, Nelson allowed only one run in six innings against the Miami Marlins. While he’s not a huge strikeout pitcher (he’s only averaging 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings), he’s able to generate a lot of soft contact, as evidenced by him being in the 83rd percentile in barrel rate.
This is a bit of an inflated total. While I get that Wacha is coming off a bad start and Tatis Jr. is back for San Diego, I still don’t see these teams clearing 10 runs. This under has hit in the Padres’ last four games and in four of the Diamondbacks’ last six games. That trend should continue today.
Pick: Under 10
I like the Diamondbacks to continue the strong start to their season. Arizona is on a hot streak (they averaged more than six runs a game in their last series against the St. Louis Cardinals) and are getting a good matchup against Wacha and the Pads. I like Arizona at plus money.