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Fresh off his win yesterday, Matt Zylbert has another total play for Friday's MLB slate

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Diego Padres

Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres

Over/Under: 8.5

First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

Probable pitchers: Merrill Kelly (0-0, -.-- ERA) vs. Blake Snell (0-0, -.-- ERA)

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Diego Padres Predictons

One of San Diego’s two prized aces acquired this offseason did not get out to such a hot start, as Yu Darvish was tagged for four runs and unable to escape the fifth inning of yesterday’s opener.

However, look for an opposite result to play out this evening when the other half of that cargo delivered from the club’s pair of major trades made in late-December makes his Padres debut this evening.

Snell, of course, will be taking the hill for his first start since Game 6 of last year’s World Series, when the left-hander was infamously pulled early despite a completely dominant performance up to that point. This decision by Rays manager Kevin Cash unsurprisingly led to Tampa’s demise and will always be scrutinized.

As it turned out, that would be the final pitch for Snell as a Ray after spending all five of his major league seasons with the franchise. Thus, you know there’s going to be a lot of emotion surrounding this start.

Snell is clearly locked in regardless. He looked outstanding in spring training, not even allowing a single run across his 14.1 innings of work. Additionally, opposing hitters could only muster a whopping five hits off him — or a .106 batting average.

And Snell has a favorable opponent to begin his tenure in San Diego just right.

Though the D-backs did score seven runs on opening day, the majority of that came in one inning with two outs — and a pair of those runs were unearned as well. They didn’t do much outside of that outburst and I don’t see them generating success opposite Snell. Arizona had the second-lowest team OPS (.667) against left-handed pitching in the NL a season ago.

With, hopefully, one of Snell’s trademark gems, that will allot some extra room for error related to the other starter in this affair, Kelly, who many may forget last year was probably Arizona’s best pitcher the first few turns through the rotation.

After a terrific five starts to begin the campaign that saw Kelly craft a 2.59 ERA and 0.99 WHIP to go along with 29 K’s in 31.1 innings, the 32-year-old landed on the injured list for the rest of the season, having to undergo thoracic outlet surgery.

While that injury can be fatal to pitching careers, Kelly actually appears to already be around his normal form that he was wielding in 2020. After an encouraging last spring training outing in which Kelly went five strong and limited the opposition to one run while scattering five base runners, I can take the right-hander at his word when he specifically said this is “definitely the best [he’s] felt all spring.”

The Padres have a potent lineup for sure with a few of the most talented bats around, but so long as Kelly can avoid getting shellacked, that will be the difference in keeping this a low final score.

Pick: UNDER 8.5 @ -120

Friday's MLB Leans

Giants-Mariners Under 8.5

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 1-0, +1 unit

Yesterday’s Result: Rays-Marlins Under 7.5 (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit


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