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June 28, 2015 (Posted at 12:00 PM ET)

Take San Diego Padres (-114) on the Money Line against Arizona Diamondbacks risking 3% of bankroll.
(Despaigne and Anderson must start for wager to have action)

Even though the Padres have won the first two games of this series with Arizona, this is an extremely important game for them. With last night's 7-2 victory, San Diego was able to move against of the Snakes in the NL West standings by half a game. While they would still win the series with a loss this afternoon, all of their efforts would be futile as the D-Backs would once again overtake them in the standings. While it is tough to sweep a series in three straight games, this is a situation where we believe it is likely. 

This is a team that is finally starting to gel together and know that they must make a serious run before the All-Star break to close the gap against the division leaders. They've regained their offensive swagger and have exhibited a nice mix of both power and speed. Their diversity on the offensive end makes them a tough matchup for any team when they are seeing the ball well and it's been evident from the first 2 games of this series that they are locked in and focused on the offensive end. They can steal bases, hit and run, play small ball or hit homers. San Diego's speed and base-running is starting to become a real weapon for them. They've now stolen 51 bags on the season while being caught only 12 times! Players are stepping up to the plate with confidence and being patient. They're seeing more pitches in their at bats and that has paid dividends on the scoreboard. 

Chase Anderson is a good pitcher but he's struggled mightily against these Friar bats as they are hitting .322 against him with an on-base percentage of .365! This shows that the Friars are not only getting runners on base against him; but they are punishing him! Some of San Diego's biggest offensive weapons in the likes of Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Yonder Alonso have stellar numbers against him and that should be worrisome for Chip Hale and his club. Other players such as Derek Norris and Alexi Amarista have also gotten to Anderson before so there's a potential for anyone in the Padres lineup to get to Anderson this afternoon. There is no doubt that he knows he has struggled against this lineup in the past and those thoughts will be in the back of his mind. We expect his confidence to be a bit shaken on the hill this afternoon, especially since he's coming off his worst outing of the season when he gave up 8 runs in less than 5 innings at Coors Field. In 59 at-bats against the Padres, Anderson has given up 19 hits, walked 5 and only struck out 7! His saving grace in those appearances has been that he's often limited damage once they've reached base and has gotten out of jams. We don’t believe that'll be the case today. With Padres seeing the ball well, they should punish him and make the most of their opportunities.

As for Odrisamer Despaigne, he is actually a better pitcher than most realize. He has seemingly turned his season around and now has a respectable 3.53 ERA in his last 7 starts. He is also the same pitcher who went toe-to-toe with Madison Bumgarner his last time out and has generally pitched much better at Petco Park this season. He should have an advantage on the mound in this contest as very few Diamondbacks have had success against him in the past. He's only given up 2 long balls at home in Petco Park this season and if he is careful and calculated around guys like David Peralta and Paul Goldschmidt, he should have a solid chance at picking up the win. If he can give his team 5 or 6 quality innings, the solid Padres bullpen should take over from there. 

The San Diego bullpen is one of the best in the league after the excellent trio that the Royals have. Maurer, Benoit and Kimbrel have the ability to shutdown most teams from 7th inning on and because San Diego won easily last night and got 7 quality innings out of SP Andrew Cashner, their pen should come into this contest rested and ready for action when called upon. Meanwhile the struggles of the Diamondbacks bullpen has been well documented and we all saw shades of that last night as the Snakes bullpen was directly responsible for giving the Padres the win. 

It is unlikely that Padres will catch the Division leading LA Dodgers or San Francisco Giants for the NL lead but they will certainly have a chance to contend for the Wild Card positions. Currently they're 4.5 games behind a WC spot and will need to continue stringing wins together if they are to match their preseason expectations of securing a spot in the playoffs.

Let's not forget that this is an ambitious ball club that spent big money in the offseason in hopes of making a playoff push this season. This is not a team that is looking to fall short or get complacent. Another motivating factor for this contest will be that with a win, their home record will improve to 19-19 and get back to a once again respectable .500 level. The stadium was electric last night and crowd was buzzing, loving every moment and relishing in the success of their home team. The players feed off of that energy and are likely finally feeling confident that they could go on a nice streak now and build on what they have.

This is one of the final home series for the Padres before the break, so they'll want to take maximum advantage of it. They also have tomorrow off whereas Arizona doesn't so that gives the Friars yet another advantage in this contest. Since they know that they will get a day of rest tomorrow, they will likely push themselves to the limit today to complete the series sweep. San Diego knows that if they lose this one, their good work is for nothing since Arizona will overtake them in the NL Standings so despite having won first 2 games of this series, they're in no position to get complacent since D-Backs are just a half game behind. While the Padres will be enjoying the day off, the Diamondbacks meanwhile will be going back home and hosting division leaders LA Dodgers. The Snakes have not had a lot of success in Petco Park either as they are just 1-4 in their last 5 visits to San Diego. This may be a close game but the Padres have numerous advantages and should ultimately edge it.

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