Look to Dog with MLB Picks for Nationals vs. Giants Game 3

Joe Gavazzi

Monday, October 6, 2014 2:47 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 6, 2014 2:47 PM UTC

Free MLB picks for tonight's MLB Playoff matchup between the San Francisco Giants and the Washington Nationals. Find out why we are looking to back the dog with our MLB picks in this matchup.

  Washington Nationals (Fister) at SF Giants (Bumgarner)

San Francisco struggled down the stretch of the regular season, finishing at 88-74, just a .543 winning percentage.  That was good, or bad enough, to finish 6 games behind the Dodgers for the AL West crown.  The Giants’ 45-36 home record is only 2 games better than their road record in the regular season.  A trio of road victories at Pittsburgh and Washington means their number of road wins exceeds their home wins.  In fact, following a torrid home start, San Fran finished well below .500 at this site in the last 50 games of the regular season.  Today, however, this veteran ball club enters on a 5 game winning streak, following victories of 3-2 and 2-1 in Washington.  The Giants have plenty of post-season experience, capturing World Series crowns in 2010 and 2012.  In fact, the 2 victories in Washington make it now 10 straight post-season wins for San Fran in which they have posted a 0.90 ERA.

Head to SBR's MLB Picks page for all of our playoff coverage.

Washington cruised to the NL East crown with a 17 game lead over Atlanta and the Mets.  Though they entered the playoffs on an 8-2 run and 2 game winning streak, they now enter this Game 3 with their backs against the wall.  The Game 2 (2-1) loss to San Fran was an 18 inning heartbreaker.  This has been a solid road team all year at 45-36.  I expect a resiliency, albeit more characterized by home than road success, to be a major factor in this afternoon’s game. 

Bumgarner reversed course this season with an inverted home/road dichotomy.  That was reinforced by his brilliant performance in the Wild Card outing at Pittsburgh, when he spun a complete game 4-hitter, with a 10/1 KBB in the 8-0 victory vs. the Bucs.  Furthermore, Bumgarner has a solid history vs. Washington.  In 7 starts, spanning 45 IP, Bumgarner has a 2.60 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.   Most troubling, however, is his performance from this mound.  Fifteen home starts have seen Bumgarner work only 91 2/3 IP with a 4.03 ERA.  He could well experience more problems against a focused Washington team. 

Fister enters with a solid record the entire season at 16-6 with 2.41 ERA and better than 4/1 KBB ratio at 98/24.  The current form for Fister is excellent.  Washington has won 4 consecutive starts by Fister, including his last outing of the year, when he pitched a complete game 4-0 shutout vs. Miami, allowing just 3 hits with a 9/0 KBB.  A solid history vs. the Giants has seen Fister spin 13 IP with a 2.77 ERA.  The work by Fister on the road is far more reliable than that of Bumgarner on this mound.  Fourteen road starts for Fister have seen him twirl a 3.05 ERA in 85 2/3 IP. 

At this underdog price, I favor the resiliency and road ability of Washington to get this bounce back victory, knowing that it is all systems go in meaningful categories for Fister.

MLB Picks: Nationals over Giants

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