Both starters in tinight's action had very different outings their last time out. Our handicapper analyzes the matchup to find where the betting value lies in making your MLB Totals picks.
The offensively challenged San Francisco Giants visit the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night in this matchup of the NL West cellar dwellers. With ace Madison Bumgarner on the mound for the Giants, they opened on MLB odds board as heavy money line favorites at -173, with the O/U currently listed at a low 6 runs. Again, no rain for California, as the weather is supposed to be sunny and 62F at game time.
After Tuesday night’s game vs the Colorado Rockies, one sports analysts picked out the following stats for the Giants offense:
In 2014, the Giants had six games in which they scored one run or fewer, despite getting 10 runners or more.
In the last five games (including Tuesday), the Giants had three games in which they scored one run or fewer, despite getting 10 runners or more.
The Giants were 3-for-40 in their last 40 at bats with runners in scoring position!
Now, not all of that ineptitude was due solely to the Giants, as the Rockies made some spectacular plays of their own, such as this catch by 3B Nolan Arenado. Grant goes on to write that these nine game slumps happen all of the time, but we tend to blow them out of proportion because it is the beginning of the year. I happen to agree with that, but a slumping offense that is filled with replacement players for injured starters (see: Hunter Pence) is patently different. Players are getting at-bats that they normally wouldn’t, and in spots in the lineup that they should never see. I was wrong in thinking that they could bust out of that slump Tuesday against Colorado’s spot starter with an ERA of over 6, Christian Bergman, but let’s learn from that information and move on.
Arizona’s offense comes into this game with a shiny new toy without a spot under the tree. Will they choose to silence Jake Lamb and his hot start to give Yasmany Tomas starts at third base, or will they rotate Tomas into the outfield? Whatever they do, they should probably limit Tomas’ spot at the table, because he looks like he’s eaten quite well since defecting from Cuba. Tomas was batting only .190 in limited action in AAA before being called up, so it is an interesting move to bring him up now by the Diamondbacks.
Bumgarner was shelled his last time out against San Diego, and the only positive I can write is that he only threw 79 pitches while giving up 5 runs over three innings, so he should be well rested for this matchup. Bumgarner was 2-0 versus Arizona last year in four starts with a 2.22 ERA before pitching seven innings of one run ball against them in the 2015 season opener. I would expect that Bumgarner is itching to put that San Diego game behind him and return to form against a much less formidable lineup. Arizona Rookie Archie Bradley pitched a great game in his opener of the season versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bradley pitched six innings of shutout ball and added six strikeouts in the winning effort. Bradley has no regular season stats against the San Francisco Giants.
What would be the definition of the Giants getting out of their offensive slump? 3 runs, perhaps? I’m expecting a very low scoring affair in this game and I think the odds makers are begging you to take the Over by opening the O/U line at 6. Shop around and find it at 6 ½ if you can and pick the Under in this game as part of your MLB picks.
Free MLB Pick: Under 6 ½ at 5Dimes