Houston and San Diego conclude their four-game series this afternoon at Petco Park in California with Mat Latos taking to the bump for the Padres opposite of Houston Astros rookie Jordan Lyles.

Jordan LylesMLB lines opened with Latos and the Friars at -168 with the total at 7.  Game time is slated for 3:35 PM PT. In what was expected to be a tight, low-scoring set, two of the first three games have topped the total.

San Diego is coming off a 6-3 victory on Saturday, just their 11th home victory of the season. Aaron Harang worked into the sixth-inning for the victory while Heath Bell struggled but hung on for his 16th save in 17 chances. Brad Hawpe and Rob Johnson each drove in two runs for SD which has won six of eight. Clint Barmes homered for the Astros. Who is going to take the series closer?

Low is a no go

Heading into this series neither team figured to do much scoring and as a result the MLB betting outlets have set some low totals. Thursday’s number was 6, Friday 6.5 and Saturday the total was 7. 

If you are a baseball bettor who took the ‘under’ in any or all of the games, my condolences and know I was right there with you. I didn’t think these two teams would score much and while 24 combined runs in three games isn’t a bunch even the slightest offensive outburst is enough to do you in, if you’re on the ‘under’. In Thursday night’s opener, the Padres usually solid starting pitching faltered with the Astros winning 7-4. The ‘under’ was a distant memory by the third inning.

Friday’s game stayed below the total (3-1) but Saturday, thanks to the 27th ranked Astros bullpen, the ‘under’ vanished with three 8th inning runs. So here’s the question. Which holds more value when you are considering a totals play particularly on the ‘under’? Is it starting pitching? If so, then you can put Thursday’s loss squarely on the Padres. If it’s about the relievers than we can pin Saturday night’s loss on the Astros 27th rated bullpen. If you played the ‘over’ in all three games than you’re likely bored to tears with all of this so I’ll move on.

Latest on Latos

Mat Latos Padres MLBMatt Latos hasn’t had near the season he had in 2010. A year ago he was 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA and was in the Cy Young conversation up until he ran out of gas and/or was limited by a pitch count in early September. Either way he hasn’t been the same guy since hurting his shoulder in training camp.

His numbers are way down especially at home but it hasn’t been entirely of his doing. Latos is 1-4 but he’s been the victim of non-support with the Padres scoring a total of 10 runs in his five Petco Park outings. Latos is 0-1 against the Astros this season after getting touched up for five runs in 6 1/3 innings in a 5-3 loss on April 16 and is 2-1 lifetime.

Jordan Lyles will be making his second big league start for the Astros and if the first one is any indication, he’ll be pitching in the big leagues for a longtime. He allowed one earned run in seven innings in a 7-3 win over the Cubs on May 31 but had to settle for a no-decision.

Trends

San Diego is 6-2 in its last eight games overall while the ‘under’ (don’t get me started) is 7-3 in the last 10 home games. 

Houston is 3-7 in the last 10 series meetings but the Padres have taken four of their first seven meetings this year.

Another gorgeous day is on tap in San Diego with clear skies, temperatures near 70 and a light wind of 11 miles per hour.

Harvey’s Take: Call me a glutton for punishment but I’m sticking with the ‘under’. I realize Latos is due for some run support but is today the day? Lyles looked impressive in Chicago and he shouldn’t face much of a challenge against the anemic Padres offense.