Expected the unexpected when the San Diego Padres visit the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. On the surface, run-scoring seems unlikely. Neither team is an offensive juggernaut (the Padres are second-to-last in runs scored in the National League and the Mariners are twelfth out of fourteen in the American League) and Safeco Field is ranked twenty-eighth out of thirty stadiums in terms of run-scoring ballparks.
But there are a few reasons why these squads will come in over the 8.0-run line (the over is on at 1.85). The first is the Padres’ Carlos Quentin: the slugger has been dominant since coming off the disabled list. Through this past weekend he was hitting .429 with five home runs and 10 runs batted in 10 games. Not surprisingly, scoring has gone up for San Diego: they tallied exactly five runs in each of their contests over the weekend against some sturdy Milwaukee Brewers pitchers.
Also increasing the chances for scoring are the two starting pitchers. The Padres’ Jason Marquis is 2-5 with a 7.65 ERA and the Mariners’ Hector Noesi is 2-6 with a 5.99 ERA. Go against conventional wisdom and take the over and pass on the under at 1.95.
The Washington Nationals are poised for success when they play the Blue Jays in Toronto. Washington’s ace Stephen Strasburg takes the starting assignment with some momentum. In his last outing he struck out 13 batters at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox, and in doing so became the youngest pitcher to register that many punch outs at Boston since 1986. Overall, he’s faltered very rarely in 2012: he’s 7-1 with a 2.41 ERA.
His opponent, Kyle Drabek, has been far more unreliable. While his 4-6 record with a 4.43 ERA isn’t awful, his walk rate is – he averages 6.5 walks per nine innings. That’s bad news against Washington who are above the league average in coaxing walks. Take on the Nationals at 1.70 instead of the Blue Jays at 2.15.