The Giants beat the Cardinals in the NLCS last year, and took Game 1 of this series Friday night. Do we bet San Francisco for Saturday's Game 2? Or side with St. Louis?
Cardinals-Giants Saturday Odds
As of early Saturday morning the best line we could find on St. Louis with Lance Lynn was the -108 offered at Pinnacle, while San Francisco and Ryan Vogelsong were getting +105 at 5Dimes. And every book on our MLB odds board listed a total on today's game of seven runs.
San Francisco took the opener of this series Friday night 5-4 on a walk-off base hit by rookie Kelby Tomlinson in the bottom of the ninth. So the Giants have won three games in a row, while the loss broke a five-game winning streak for St. Louis.
At 69-59 San Francisco trails the division-leading Dodgers by 2.5 games in the NL West.
At 82-46 St. Louis leads the NL Central by 3.5 games over second-place Pittsburgh.
These teams have split four games this season. Last October, as we recall, the Giants beat the Cardinals in five games in the NL Championship Series.
Today's pitching match-up is a rematch of a game from 11 days ago, a 2-0 San Francisco victory back at Busch Stadium.
Vogelsong (9-9, 4.05), by our strict standards, is eight-for-20 on quality starts this season. Last Sunday he had a rough outing, giving up three runs on seven hits and four walks in less that four innings against Pittsburgh, but over his two starts previous to that he held Washington and these Cardinals to one run through 11 innings. For the season Vogelsong has allowed 115 hits through 120 innings, walked 53 and struck out 96.
San Francisco is 11-9 in Vogelsong's starts, with the totals leaning UNDER by a 10-8 margin.
Over the last two seasons Vogelsong has started four times against St. Louis, including once in last year's NLCS, allowing 10 runs through 22 1/3 innings; the Giants won three of those games.
Lynn (10-8, 2.94) is 16-for-24 on quality starts, and two for his last two. Monday he held Arizona to two runs through six innings, and just before that he held San Francisco to two runs through 6 2/3 innings. On the season Lynn has allowed 137 hits through 141 innings, walked 51 and struck out 146.
The Cardinals are 14-10 in Lynn's starts, with the totals skewing UNDER by a 17-6 margin.
Over the last two seasons Lynn has started three times against Frisco, including once in that NLCS, allowing 11 runs – eight earned – through 15 2/3 innings; St. Louis lost two of those games, while two of those games played OVER.
Saturday's Batting Splits
St. Louis ranks ninth in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .259 team batting average, and 11th with a .321 team on-base percentage.
San Francisco, meanwhile, ranks fourth against righties with a .268 team BA and first with a .326 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at AT&T Park this season are 36-24 on the UNDERS, averaging 7.3 runs per.
St. Louis is still playing without OF Matt Holliday, who's on the DL with a pulled quad. Also, Cards closer Trevor Rosenthal is on the paternity list, and will miss this series.
On the other side of the scorecard San Francisco is playing without OF Hunter Pence and IF Joe Panik, who are both on the DL, and SS Brandon Crawford has missed recent action with a sore back. So the Giants are a little shorthanded at the moment.
Cards-Giants Saturday Free Picks
We give Lynn the edge in the pitching match-up, despite his track record against San Francisco, and Pence's absence weighs heavy on our handicapping of this game. We like St. Louis today. Also, we rank both these bullpens among the top seven or so in baseball at the moment, so we're thinking UNDER.
MLB Picks: Cardinals and UNDER seven runs (+102) at Pinnacle.