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MLB Picks: Braves Looking to End Curse of Petco Park

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On Tuesday, June 5, Oskeim Sports preview the MLB game between the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres.  Oskeim recommends taking the home underdog as one of his free MLB picks for tonight.

After last night’s loss, the Braves are a money-burning 7-19 in their last 26 games inside Petco Park.  Meanwhile, San Diego is quietly playing solid baseball, winning six of its previous 7 games.

Jordan Lyles is Undervalued

San Diego right-hander Jordan Lyles toes the rubber with a 3.65 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 4.09 FIP, 4.02 xFIP and 3.81 SIERA in eighteen appearances in 2018 (5 starts).

Lyles has improved upon his strikeout numbers (8.57 K/9 this season vs. 7.11 K/9 in 2017) and has reduced his hard contact rate (32.8% Hard% this season vs. 37.0% Hard% in 2017).

I also like the fact that the 27-year-old has always done a nice job in keeping the ball on the ground as evidenced by his career 49.3% ground ball rate.

Jordan Lyles Dominates Inside Petco Park

Lyles has been nearly unhittable at home this season where he owns a 2.01 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 2.57 FIP and 3.14 xFIP.  The righty boasts a 9.19 K/9 rate and a 1.72 BB/9 rate inside the spacious confines of Petco Park, together with a minuscule 0.57 HR/9 rate.

The San Diego hurler owns a 2.92 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in two career starts against the Braves, although his most recent outing was back in May of 2104.  The Padres have won four straight with Lyles on the mound and are 5-1 in their last six affairs during game 2 of a series.

San Diego’s Bullpen is Elite

The Padres’ bullpen continues to perform well, posting a 3.22 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 235 innings of work this season.  San Diego relievers also own a 3.00 ERA and 1.13 WHIP at night and a 3.13 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in their last seven games.

Atlanta’s Bullpen Has Underperformed

In contrast, the Braves’ relief staff enters tonight’s game with a pedestrian 4.46 ERA and 1.34 WHIP on the road, a 4.06 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in evening affairs and a 5.48 ERA and 1.39 WHIP over their last seven games.

Sean Newcomb: A Top Southpaw Pitching Prospect?

Atlanta starter Sean Newcomb takes the mound with a 2.73 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 3.13 FIP and 3.96 xFIP in eleven starts.  The talented southpaw has struggled with his control (4.31 BB/9) and has been aided by an unsustainable .264 BABIP.

Newcomb reached the Majors last year wherein he posted a 4.32 ERA and 1.57 WHIP over nineteen starts, a span covering 100 innings.  His F-Strike% (59%) and BB/9 (5.1) will continue to be legitimate issues for him in 2018, and likely for the duration of his professional career.

One positive for Atlanta backers is Newcomb’s 2.06 ERA and 2.84 FIP across 39.1 innings of work on the road this season.  The young hurler also posted a 1.54 ERA and 2.77 FIP in the month of May, although a 4.26 xFIP, .204 BABIP and 82.9% strand rate project regression in June and beyond.

The Braves are 1-4 in their last five road tilts, 0-4 in their last four clashes with National League West foes and 9-19 in game 2 of a series (3-8 with Newcomb on the hill).

San Diego is Wielding Hot Bats

Finally, these team’s respective offenses are heading in opposite directions.  Atlanta is averaging 4.0 runs (.298 OBP, .698 OPS) over its last seven games, whereas the Padres are averaging 5.4 runs (.721 OPS) in their last seven contests.

With San Diego winning four of its previous 5 home games with umpire Gerry Davis behind home plate, take the Padres at plus-money as one of Oskeim Sports’ MLB Picks for Tuesday, June 5.

Oskeim Sports’ MLB Picks for Tuesday, June 5:

  • San Diego Padres (+129) over Atlanta Braves
  • Detroit Tigers (+170) over Boston Red Sox 

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