MLB Regular Season
Matchup: San Diego Padres at Milwaukee Brewers
Date/Time: August 5, 8:10 p.m. ET
Pitching Matchup: Ian Kennedy (6-9, 4.44) vs. Taylor Jungmann (5-3, 2.23)
MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook
Moneyline: Milwaukee -120
The most conspicuous line on the board for Wednesday night is this one between the San Diego Padres and the Milwaukee Brewers. You’re about to find out why from reading this preview. The Padres will send Ian Kennedy to the bump and the Brewers will respond with Taylor Jungmann. The Padres have been one of baseball’s biggest disappointments this season, spending most of the last three months below the .500 mark. Do they have one last push in them, as AJ Preller suggested when he didn’t make any significant trades at the deadline? It better start soon.
The Padres had a transaction spree that made a lot of waves in the offseason. They added a lot of talent to a team that desperately needed it after years of developmental failures due to injuries or poor performance. Those moves included players like Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Craig Kimbrel, Matt Kemp, and Will Middlebrooks. With what seemed like a quality starting rotation and bullpen, the Padres were a trendy pick entering the season. Nobody had high hopes for the Brewers, who fired Ron Roenicke earlier this season to replace him with manager-in-waiting Craig Counsell. To Counsell’s credit, the Brewers entered play on Tuesday 37-45 under his watch.
Ian Kennedy stayed with the Padres and nobody seemed interested in him at the trade deadline, even though he will be a free agent at the end of the season. Kennedy has had some major command problems this season with 23 home runs allowed in 103.1 innings of work, but there are some reasons for his struggles. Kennedy was hurt in his first start of the season, so he pitched once from the end of Spring Training to April 25. It’s hard for a pitcher to build up his arm and then suddenly have to miss a couple of weeks.
Nobody has really noticed, but Kennedy has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start since May 28. He hasn’t worked deep into all of those games necessarily, but he has a decent strikeout rate on the season and his 4.44 ERA and 5.21 FIP are a little bit out of whack. His 3.88 xFIP and 3.78 SIERA are probably better indicators of how he has actually pitched. Command has been a problem for Kennedy in each of the last five seasons, with HR/FB% rates between 15.8 percent and 25 percent, but he’s always been a reliable arm in spite of that. Surprisingly, even with pitching his home games in Petco Park, Kennedy has a .258/.332/.546 slash against at home and a .256/.313/.497 slash against on the road, with a road ERA that is 1.63 runs better than his home mark.
Taylor Jungmann has been great out of the gate for the Milwaukee Brewers. Jungmann came out of Texas in 2011 and still took a bit of a long, circuitous route to the big leagues, but he has shown a lot in his 10 Major League starts. Jungmann is 5-3 with a 2.23 ERA, a 3.10 FIP, and a 3.86 xFIP. He has a good sinker and has shown better control in the big leagues than he ever showed in the minors. In his first season at High-A (7.0 percent) and his second season at Double-A (6.8 percent), Jungmann posted better BB% than he has posted in the Majors (8.1 percent). That’s not how it usually works.
As a result, Jungmann is a guy that you should look for regression from throughout the rest of the season. Ground ball pitchers are rarely able to sustain .271 BABIPs against. Jungmann’s strikeout rate is in line with his minor league numbers, but his 7.7 percent swinging strike rate suggests immediate regression in that category. With predominantly a three-pitch mix with occasional two-seam action, there’s not a whole lot of depth to his arsenal right now. His home run rate is pretty low given the park factor. On the other hand, Jungmann has held righties to a .195/.277/.296 slash and the Padres are right-handed heavy.
MLB Prediction: San Diego Padres
Regression is coming for Taylor Jungmann. It may not happen on Wednesday, but that’s why they call it gambling. I would look for it to happen very soon, since that strikeout rate is not sustainable and some BABIP regression is likely as well. Kennedy has been very good outside of the command troubles and the Brewers don’t hit a lot of home runs, even with a great home park. As mentioned above, this line smelled funny, and now you know why.