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  • Writer's pictureMason Dalley

Best Bet 7/28/2023

The Texas Rangers @ San Diego Padres(-1.5)

DK +110

FD +122

BSB +120

Best Bet Season Record: 8-8

Now, you'd be correct in thinking I must be on some sort of bender for my Best Bet to be on the Mets and Padres on back to back days. Anti-histamines go craaaaazzzyyyyy. HOWEVER, both bets are founded in some logic and reason. In the case of both, I love the starting pitchers. Joe Musgrove joined the party late this season due to injury, but he's been as advertised. In 16 starts he's tossed 91.1 innings of 3.25 ERA/3.61 FIP/1.15 WHIP/24.5 K%/5.1 BB% ball. The Padres are 10-6 in games started by Musgrove and the raw numbers are good enough to believe in to begin with. The Baseball Savant page makes it even easier.

His opposition, The Texas Rangers, bang. They have a fantastic offense. HOWEVER, they are a put the ball in play type of offense. Of the 147 qualified batters in MLB, there are 6 Rangers in that mix. Nathaniel Lowe is 12th in MLB with a .380 , which is great. He is there only bat above .350 OBP, and their only qualified bat with at least a 10% walk rate. They get on base the old fashioned way: See ball, hit ball, hit ball hard.

This approach will be lesser in the immediate future. Jonah Heim is day to day and Corey Seager is out a least another week. Meaning their best hitter and arguably their best overall player are out for this game against a great starting pitcher. I'm also not in love with the Rangers, despite their success this season. They got pummeled by the Dodgers, losing 2 out 3 at home, and followed that up by letting Houston gain a game in a tight division race. The lack of experience shows against teams who have been there, done that. The Padres have yet to win anything, but 2017 World Series Champion Joe Musgrove, 2019 World Series Champion Juan Soto, and 2013 & 2018 World Series Champion Xander Bogaerts have. The team still believes they have a run in them that can catapult them into the playoff mix.

These aspirations are going to be helped by the fact they are going up against Dane Dunning. Dane Dunning is the perfect example of how ERA is a team, and a somewhat luck based stat. Dunning is is a borderline 5th arm in the rotation on a good team. To give credit where credit's due, he fills the zone up and rarely allows walks, coming in at a 6.5% BB rate. On the surface, 102.1 IP and 3.18 ERA looks good. He's got an 8-3 record! He's lucky. He has a career low 5.34 K/9/4.18 FIP/4.97 xERA/4.72 xFIP. The year the shift was banned his induced BABIP dropped from .313 to to .269. In the year where under the hood looks atrocious, he's having his best on the surface season.

A pitcher that fills the zone, and puts his faith in the defense behind him is pretty common. They get violence enacted upon them when they run into teams that can do damage. Since I last wrote about the Padres lineup, they've improved considerably. And by improved considerably I mean Manny Machado has finally arrived to the 2023 season. In the last 14 days he's slashing .229/.362/.563, and in the past 28 days he's slashing .267/.365/.656. He's raking right now, and that finally gives the Padres 5 players an opposing team has to think about in the lineup. Expect Kim, Soto, Tatis Jr, Macahdo, and Bogaerts to do some damage against Dunning, and who knows, maybe the Padres will finally look like the team the experts thought they were, and the team the computers still tell us they are.

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