TOM STRYKER’S FREE BASEBALL SELECTION SATURDAY, AUGUST 21ST
#912 SAN DIEGO with Musgrove (-155) over Philadelphia with Nola at 8:40 PM EST
It’s gut-check time for the Friars. Off four consecutive losses and with blemishes in eight of their last nine games, the Padres need this victory like blood. San Diego is currently 12.0-games back in the NL West standings and they need to make a move right now or their season will quickly be over.
In order to stop the bleeding, manager Jayce Tingler will hand the pearl to veteran righty Joe Musgrove. Matched up against the Diamondbacks, Marlins, and A’s in his last three starts, No. 44 was tripped for eight earned runs and 17 hits in 17.0 innings of work. Musgrove fanned 17 and walked six on his way to a 1-1 tally with a 4.24 ERA. At home, Big Joe has been at his best this season. Inside Petco Park, Musgrove has been nipped for only 19 earned runs and 52 hits in 70.1 frames. That shakes down to a 5-4 record and a strong 2.43 ERA.
Hitting the hill for the visitors will be aging right-hander Aaron Nola. In three August outings versus the Reds, Dodgers, and Nationals, No. 27 was slapped for nine earned runs and 12 hits in only 13.1 innings. Nola struck out 18 and issued six free passes on his way to an 0-1 mark and a miserable 6.08 ERA. The road hasn’t been kind to Aaron either. As a guest, Nola has been stuffed for 43 earned runs and 70 hits in 69.2 frames. That adds up to a 3-4 mark with a dismal 5.56 ERA.
A handful of reliable team trends support this Best Bet. San Diego has won 11 of its last 14 when fighting a foe that holds a team won/loss percentage greater than .500, 35 of its last 52 when playing in the comforts of home, and 60 of its last 88 when priced as home chalk. On the visitor’s side of the field, Philadelphia has slipped in 13 of its last 19 as a guest fighting a foe that holds a winning record and seven of its last 10 overall.
If the Padres are going to get back into the division race, then they need to take care of business in their own backyard. That all starts with a dominant performance over the Phillies on Saturday night. Take San Diego with Musgrove. Thanks and best of luck, Tom.
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