One of the game’s best rivalries that span two coasts and more than 130 years is renewed for the first time in 2021, and we couldn’t help but include the series opener between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in our MLB picks lineup.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants
Friday, May 21, 2021 – 9:45 PM ET at Oracle Park
If anyone is wondering whether or not the Giants are for real, ask the Cincinnati Reds. San Francisco flew home from Cincinnati last night following a 19-4 pasting of the Reds to end a 6-2 road trip, and begins this short homestand with the best record in the majors. Lurking just 2-games back in the NL West (National League West) standings are the surging Dodgers, who are beginning to look every bit like the team picked to successfully defend their 2020 World Series crown.
A nice matchup on the mound gets the series underway, Trevor Bauer (4-2, 2.20) on tap for LA against San Francisco’s Alex Wood (5-0, 1.75). Most of the best online betting sites are selling the Dodgers around -150 on the moneyline with seven for the scoreboard target.
Pitching Behind Dodgers Resurgence
Los Angeles just completed a four-game sweep of Arizona, outscoring the Diamondbacks 19-6 in the process. With the big bats belonging to Cody Bellinger (calf) and Corey Seager (hand) missing from the lineup, the pitching staff has hoisted the team on its shoulders by limiting opponents to 22 runs over the last 10 games.
With no-hitters all the rage, it’s easy to imagine Trevor Bauer joining the club at some point this season. The right-hander has dominated opposing hitters with 77 strikeouts and just 29 hits allowed in 57+ innings, holding batters to a puny .146 average. He’s coming off seven shutout innings against Miami last Saturday as -270 chalk on the betting odds, limiting the Marlins to two hits while whiffing 10.
As strange as this may sound, Bauer is facing the Giants for the first time in his career. Even with so much of his service time being in the American League with the Cleveland Indians, one would have thought Bauer pitched against San Francisco at least once while with Arizona and Cincinnati. The only Giants hitters to have faced him are Evan Longoria, Darrin Ruf and Curt Casali, the trio a combined 1-for-12 against Bauer.
G-Men Exceeding All Expectations
The 2021 season began with the Giants a 70/1 pick to win the NL on baseball futures boards. To say they’ve exceeded expectations so far is an understatement, and making a statement against the Dodgers at home this weekend would go a long way to showing if this team is a contender or a pretender.
An early candidate for NL Comeback Player of the Year, Alex Wood has been a big factor in the Giants’ early success. San Francisco has won five of his six assignments with Wood yet to allow more than 2 runs in any start. He went a full eight frames last Sunday in Pittsburgh, holding the Pirates to a single tally in a 4-1 win as -180 chalk at Bovada. Opponents are hitting under .200 against the southpaw, and more importantly, slugging at a wimpy .276 clip.
Wood was a teammate of Bauer’s briefly in 2019, but otherwise spent five of his last six seasons on the Dodger staff. He last faced the Dodgers in 2015, shortly before being traded by the Atlanta Braves to Los Angeles. The fact Wood had beaten the Dodgers in all three of his career starts was a big reason why Los Angeles traded for him.
LA Looks to Continue Recent Success in San Francisco
Discounting the matchups waved off with tie scores because of darkness or rain back in the old days, Friday’s contest is the 2,498th in the history of the Dodgers-Giants rivalry. It has been a close series over the years, with each team winning at about a 54% clip in their home ballparks, be those back in the Big Apple or out on the West Coast.
Los Angeles came out on top in six of the 10 meetings a season ago and has won 22 of the last 33 collisions. Of the 15 matchups in San Francisco in that span, the Dodgers have won 11 times with the totals splitting 6-6 O/U in the last dozen at Oracle Park.
Nobody expects the Giants to keep up their current pace, and this series with the Dodgers might just be the beginning of a downswing for San Francisco, where a brisk 20-25 mph WNW wind (out to right) is part of Friday’s forecast. My expectations tonight, however, are for the pitchers to live up to their billing with an MLB pick on the final falling short of the total.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.