MLB Regular Season

Matchup: San Diego Padres at Texas Rangers

Date/Time: July 11, 4:05 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: James Shields (7-3, 3.88) vs. Colby Lewis (8-4, 4.83)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: Texas -115

Total: 8.5

As the Trade Deadline looms, a lot of San Diego Padres are playing on pins and needles. After AJ Preller’s transaction spree this past offseason, the Padres entered the season with high expectations and have fallen flat on their faces. The Padres lost on Friday night to drop to 39-49 and the writing is clearly on the wall that Preller took a chance and failed. The Texas Rangers were the latest team to add another one to the loss column for the Padres as they improved to 42-44.

Manager Bud Black became the fall guy for the Padres last month after they got off to a mediocre start. Black’s firing did little to change the flaws of the team, including their reliance on right-handed batters and their complete disregard for playing defense. When Black was fired, the Padres were 32-33. They are 7-16 since. Managerial issues are not a problem for the Rangers, who are overachieving this season under rookie skipper Jeff Bannister. For a while, it looked like the Rangers were really going to shock people, as they were 37-31 after 68 games, but the Rangers have lost 13 of their last 18 to fall well off the pace in the AL West.

James Shields wanted to return to the West Coast when he was on the free agent market this past offseason. The Newhall, CA native picked the San Diego Padres out of all of the suitors and signed a four-year, $75M contract. In some respects, Shields has been well worth the money. He has a 7-3 record with a 3.88 ERA, a 3.96 FIP, and a 3.21 FIP. He’s having the best strikeout season of his career with over 10 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s also had some of the worst command of his career with 17 home runs allowed in 111.1 innings of work. Eight straight seasons of 203.1 or more innings pitched may have something to do with that. Shields, who is on the wrong side of 30, has seen a little bit of a velocity drop this season and hitters are having the most successful season against Shields’s changeup in quite some time with a .228/.317/.435 slash.

The Rangers may need to do some damage against Shields to give Colby Lewis the support that he needs. Lewis, who is lucky to be pitching after all of the injury problems that he has endured, has a 4.83 ERA with a 3.91 FIP and a 4.50 xFIP on the season. To be fair, Lewis had a 4.13 ERA prior to his last start, when the Angels blew him up for 10 runs on 12 hits over four innings of work. Prior to that, Lewis had allowed three earned runs or less in his previous six starts. What could work in Lewis’s favor in this start is that the Padres are horrible against righties. They rank 28th in wOBA at .290 and have one of the league’s highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching. On the season, 78 percent of San Diego’s plate appearances have been by a right-handed batter. As a team, righties are batting just .232/.276/.377 against same-side pitching this season.

Pick: San Diego Padres

Given James Shields’s command issues this season, Globe Life Park may not be all that favorable for him, but Shields has only allowed two home runs over his last seven starts. Shields has been one of the few Padres pitchers to get run support this season, with over five runs per game. The concern here is that the Padres may have one eye, or both eyes, on the All-Star Break and some much needed time away from the field. But, they hold a pitching edge in this one and are more likely to mail it in on Sunday than they are in this game.