San Diego Padres (-115, 8.5 o/u) at Arizona Diamondbacks (+105)
After 14 starts on the season, James Shields (7-0, 3.59 ERA) remains unbeaten for his new squad, the San Diego Padres (33-36, 17-17 Away). Tonight, “Big Game” James will put his undefeated record on the line against early NL MVP frontrunner Paul Goldschmidt and the Arizona Diamondbacks (32-34, 16-17 Home) at Chase Field in Phoenix (9:40 PM Eastern).
Shields, who was an integral part of Kansas City’s run to the World Series last season, signed a four-year, $75 million deal with the Padres in the offseason, a move which has paid dividends so far. He is the only undefeated pitcher in baseball to boast at least seven wins, and he’s the only Padres starter over .500.
The main concern for Shields in his short tenure with the Padres has been the longball; the righty has given up 16 home runs this year, second-most in the Majors. He has also posted back-to-back no-decisions in games which the Padres ultimately lost. On Sunday against the Dodgers, Shields left the mound after seven innings with a 2-1 lead, but the bullpen gave up a game-tying double to Adrien Gonzalez in the eighth and then a go-ahead, two-run single to the former No. 1 overall pick in the 12th.
“We have to win,” Shields said to the Associated Press after watching his lead evaporate. “We have to win that game. The game was ours to lose and we have to do a better job of bearing down and getting that win right there.”
Shields has a 2-1 record in his career against Arizona, but an inflated 6.50 ERA.
Arizona is a half of game above San Diego in the NL West standings, and has won five of their last seven games, including a sweep against the defending champion San Francisco Giants.
The offense has carried the Diamondbacks all season, sitting seventh in the majors in runs and sixth in batting average. Goldschmidt, in particular, has been on a tear all year, leading the league in batting average (.357) while sitting second in both OBP (.476) and slugging (.668).
Tonight, the D-Backs will look to Rubby De La Rosa (5-3. 5.27 ERA) to keep them atop the Padres in the division. Last time out, the righty pitched eight innings of scoreless ball in a 4-0 win over the Giants, though he did allow eight hits in the process.
Looking at the tends, Arizona is 4-2 SU in its last six at home against San Diego. While Shields’ record is impressive, he can be gotten to and it’s only a matter of time before he takes his first loss. Goldschmidt and the D-Backs (+105) look like better value at home.
Pick: Diamondbacks (+105).
(Photo credit: Mwinog2777 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo may appear cropped.)