MLB Betting: Back The Giants As Matt Moore Debuts Against The Phillies

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, August 4, 2016 1:02 PM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016 1:02 PM UTC

San Francisco was one of the winners of Monday's trade deadline and the Giants are MLB Odds favorites as new starting pitcher Matt Moore debuts in series finale vs Phillies.

San Francisco Giants vs Philadelphia Phillies

What You Need To Know
The Giants had the best record in baseball entering the All-Star break but have not played well at all since then in winning consecutive games just once and losing series in San Diego (an inexcusable sweep), at Boston, at the Yankees and home to Cincinnati (also inexcusable). The pitching staff looked like one of the majors' best for most of the first half of the season and the Giants' starting rotation's ERA of 3.48 in the first half was fourth in baseball.

But through Tuesday, that number is 5.53 in the second half, which is 29th in the majors. Even ace and Cy Young contender Madison Bumgarner hasn't been immune to those struggles. He was roughed up for eight runs (four earned) and 10 hits (two homers) in just five innings in Tuesday's series-opening 13-8 loss in Philly. The Phillies entered that game 29th in the majors in scoring and set a season high in runs. The top three in the Phillies' order -- Cesar Hernandez, Aaron Altherr and Maikel Franco -- were 11-for-14 with nine RBIs and seven runs scored. The Giants have now lost Bumgarner's past four outings. 

So the Giants had two reasons to make deals before Monday's deadline: pump some new blood into the roster and also keep guys away from the NL West arch-rival Los Angeles Dodgers. The two teams were interested in a lot of the same players. Last week, the Giants added Twins All-Star infielder Eduardo Nunez, and then on Monday traded for Moore and Milwaukee Brewers lefty reliever Will Smith. San Francisco had to gut its farm system to get all those guys. The Dodgers were definitely looking at Moore.

As for the Phillies, they were strangely quiet ahead of the deadline even though they are clearly rebuilding. Just about everyone, me included, thought they would trade surprising right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, but apparently, the Phillies' asking price was too high. Hellickson is now likely to receive a qualifying offer from Philadelphia, meaning he could either accept that one-year deal this offseason or the Phillies would get a draft pick for him when he signs elsewhere.

The Giants are 51-53-2 'over/under' this season entering Wednesday and the Phillies are 51-55-2. San Francisco is still a +500 second-favorite (to the Cubs) on MLB odds to win the World Series.


Probable Pitchers
Moore makes his first National League start and thus will also get a rare chance to hit. Which Moore are the Giants getting? He had Tommy John surgery in 2014 and misses most of that season and the first half or so of last year. Pre-surgery, Moore had a career 3.53 ERA, allowed a homer every 37.9 at-bats and had a strikeout percentage of 23. Post-surgery, Moore's ERA is 4.52, he allows a homer every 25.8 at-bats and his strikeout percentage is 19.

But Moore (7-7, 4.08) has been pitching much better lately and now gets to play his home games in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park. In his final start with Tampa Bay, Moore beat the Dodgers in Los Angeles, allowing one unearned run and four hits over 6.2 innings. It was his fifth straight quality start and he has an ERA of 1.60 over that stretch. The southpaw hasn't faced the Phillies this season but has a 5.90 ERA in 29 innings against National League teams in 2016.

The Phillies go with young right-hander Vince Velasquez, who was rumored on the trading block as well. The Texas Rangers really wanted him. But Velasquez looks like a good piece going forward as the 24-year-old, acquired from Houston this past offseason, is 8-3 with a 3.32 ERA in 18 starts. The team plans to shut him down for the year after about 40 more innings pitched, so probably about seven starts. The Phils are 1-4 on MLB picks in Velasquez's past five vs. teams with a winning record. San Francisco has won five of its past six Thursday games. The 'under' is 6-0 in their past six in Game 3 of a series. The 'under' is 3-1 in Velasquez's past four. 

Philadelphia has lost  Velasquez's past three because it hasn't been scoring for him. Velasquez allowed two runs over six innings last time out in Atlanta. He has gone at least six innings in five straight starts. This will be his first-ever outing against the Giants. He's 4-2 with a 4.69 ERA in 10 road starts this year.

Free MLB Picks: Giants and Under 8-115 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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