As the weather warms up, so does the action on the new MLB season.
This weekend’s slate features intriguing games between the Padres and Rangers as well as the Nationals and Dodgers. We break down all the wagering angles you need to know.
Also, we spotlight an NBA matchup between the championship-favorite Nets and the injury-ridden Lakers. Will it be blowout central in Brooklyn?
San Diego Padres vs. Texas Rangers
Saturday, April 10 | TV: ESPN+
The Padres were dealt a big blow this week when young phenom Fernando Tatis Jr. dislocated his shoulder and was placed on the injured list. Without Tatis, the Padres lineup looks a bit less imposing for Texas right-hander Jordan Lyles. The journeyman sported an unsightly 7.02 ERA last season but held up OK in his first start this year, holding the Royals to 2 runs over 5 2/3 innings with 8 strikeouts. These Padres are a very patient bunch, ranking near the bottom of the league in strikeouts with only 52, so they will definitely make Lyles work hard.
Opposing Lyles will be Padres right-hander Chris Paddack, who has shown great promise in his young career, yet struggled with his fastball command and didn’t make it past the 4th inning in his first start. The Rangers are hitting .321 vs. right-handers in a limited sample size, with lefty slugger Nate Lowe already having tallied 3 homers and 11 RBI on righties. Both squads rank in the top half of the league in home runs and batting average, and with their respective starting pitchers still finding their way, this game could turn out to be an Arlington slugfest.
Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Sunday, April 11 | TV: MASN or MLB.TV
We haven’t seen much of the Nationals, as four of their games were postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer will pitch for Washington, while young righty Dustin May takes the mound for Los Angeles. May opened some eyes as the Dodgers’ fifth starter when he only allowed 2 hits and struck out 8 in a win over Oakland. Scherzer, on the other hand, made some costly mistakes in his first start vs. Atlanta and gave up 4 solo home runs, but otherwise dominated with 9 strikeouts and zero walks.
Both teams were fairly pedestrian against right-handed pitching last season (batting in the .250s), so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a lower-scoring contest. The Dodgers’ offense has looked very sharp in the early going, however, and should do enough to capitalize on any of Scherzer’s mistakes, much like the Braves did. Los Angeles ranks in the top five in RBI and walks, and that combination of run-scoring and plate discipline should pay dividends in spite of the tough matchup.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Brooklyn Nets
Saturday, April 10 | TV: ABC
The Lakers have been eminently more beatable with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the shelf. That’s pretty bad news heading into a game against the Nets, who just got Kevin Durant back in the lineup after his two-month absence. KD didn’t miss a beat in his return – literally, he didn’t miss. Durant came off the bench to score 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field, and it’s possible he starts and plays heavier minutes vs. L.A., since Brooklyn will have two days of rest in between games.
If the Clippers were able to blow out the Lakers last weekend by 18 points, imagine what a rested Nets club will do to them at home. The only thing working in L.A.’s favor is James Harden will be sidelined with a hamstring strain. Brooklyn is coming off a 139-111 drubbing of New Orleans, and even without Harden on the court, it’s not likely the Lakers will be able to contain Durant or keep up with Kyrie Irving’s frenetic pace in this nationally televised showdown. Expect the Nets to make a big statement.