The Giants have struggled at home of late and the Mariners are coming off of a weird series in Houston that saw their bullpen taxed to the limit. Our MLB Handicapper finds value on the total for his MLB Pick.
The San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners begin an odd interleague 4-game home-and-home series on Monday night at AT&T Park. They will play in San Francisco Monday and Tuesday night before finishing up Wednesday and Thursday in Safeco Field in Seattle. Monday’s slated starters are veteran Tim Hudson for the Giants and sophomore Taijuan Walker for the Mariners. The lines opened with the home team Giants as slight favorites on the money line, -125 at Pinnacle. The initial MLB odds O/U total was listed at 7 at the same book. The weather will be pleasant but the marine layer could be a factor, with the temp around 60F at game time.
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Defending Champions Looking Average
The Giants had lost seven games in a row at home before Sunday’s contest against the D-Backs, as opposing pitchers have found success in the spacious confines of AT&T Park. The Giants are dealing with the injury bug right now, as Hunter Pence is back on the DL with tendinitis in the same left wrist he broke this spring. Center fielder Angel Pagan is also dealing with minor back issues that have him hitting at a .213 clip in his last 127 at-bats coming into Sunday afternoon’s game. Pagan has been struggling as much but is still batting third in the Giant’s patched up lineup. This is not ideal. The defending champions looked quite average with Pence out of the lineup for the first six weeks of the season, going .500 up until Pence’s return on May 15th. The Giants are 16-11 since then and most of those wins came the first two weeks Pence was injected back in the lineup as the Giants went 12-4 in the last two weeks of May (The Giants are 4-7 through Saturday in June). With Pablo Sandoval gone, Pence is a needed disrupter in the lineup and the Giants are a much different team without him as they lack offensive depth.
San Francisco starter Tim Hudson has been decidedly average this year, and is carrying a BAA of .284, which is much higher than his career average of .250. To relate how steady Hudson has been over his career, in just two of his 15 seasons has he finished with an ERA of over four. That it is 4.60 now in his 16th season is due to him striking out batters at the lowest rate in his career, at 4.48 K/9, and carrying the highest HR/FB% in his career, at 16.7%. Hudson’s fastball is now averaging just 88 MPH so if it is not located well it will leave the yard, even at AT&T Park.
Can Walker Save Taxed Bullpen?
Taijuan Walker pitched well in his last time out, twirling 6 innings of one-run ball on the road against the Cleveland Indians. It marked the seventh start in a row that Walker has been able to lower his ERA since May 2nd and it now sits at 5.40. Like Hudson, Walker was stung by the long ball early this season and holds a 12.8% HR/FB rate through his last start. Walker ends up giving up a home run every 6.1 IP or so and although he’s had games where he hasn’t been touched up, they seem to come in bunches.
Baseball Betting Verdict
Although Tim Hudson could junk toss his way through the Mariners undisciplined lineup and come out ok, there is a high chance that Taijuan Walker is going to be asked to pitch deep into this game regardless of how he is doing because the Mariners bullpen has been wiped out over the weekend. Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon will have to adjust for the national league park as well and his options in the bullpen, should they be needed, will be ill-rested. Seattle starter Felix Hernandez was pulled in the first inning in Friday night’s game and starter Roenis Elias was pulled in the 4th inning of Sunday’s game, both versus the Houston Astros, so the bullpen saw extended innings pitched. I’m taking the over for my MLB pick in this game as I’m expecting someone on the M’s pitching staff to be the lamb lead to slaughter on Monday night to give the bullpen needed rest. Even a shorthanded Giants lineup should be able to put up 4 runs or more in this situation. Take the over of 7 early at a site such as Heritage as it could move to 7.5 or 8 near game time.
MLB Picks: Over 7 at Bovada