When teams like San Francisco go on long winning or losing streaks, this can be a confounding time for those placing sports picks as to when to – ride the tide - or go against the grain.
Last night in the D'Backs-Giants Game 3 in the Bay Area if there was a large gust of wind around 10:00 pm local time, it was over 41,000 Giants fans going ‘Whew’, after their team broke their eight-game losing streak and won at home for the first time this season after losing their first five. Yesterday here at Sportsbook Review, I stated it was time to back San Francisco and they came through with a 4-1 triumph.
Can manager Bruce Boche’s club salvage at least a split in their four-game series with Arizona or will those combing through the MLB odds be thinking San Fran is not out of the woods just yet? Time to seek some answers.
Arizona Playing Better Than Expected
The Diamondbacks are 6-6 (+2 units) which is better than what most MLB baseball handicappers (including this one) would have surmised after their first dozen games. What has keyed Arizona’s good start has been the depth of the offense.
Anyone constructing fantasy lineups or MLB picks knew what to expect from Paul Goldschmidt, who might be the best all-around first baseman in the game and he’s delivered with a .311 batting average, .415 OBP and four shots over the wall.
However, nobody would have thought Mark Trumbo would be batting .300, CF Ender Inciarte would be an ideal leadoff hitter with a .400 OPB (.362 BA) and centerfielder A.J. Pollock would be effective enough to hit .325 and post a .413 on-base percentage. And let’s not forget 3B Jake Lamb, who is scalding at .414 and is second to Goldschmidt in rbi’s with nine.
It is April and this squad was projected by sportsbooks to win 71 games, thus no reason to go overboard, but with Patrick Corbin returning to the rotation later this year, at least this team has promise and chance to take this four-game series.
San Francisco Needs to Keep Hitting
The Giants are 27th in runs scored at 2.8 per game, but a good sign for them is in two of their past three outings they have reached double digits for hits, after going seven contests in which seven hits was the high water mark. Last night 2B Joe Panik, Buster Posey and OF Nori Aoki all had multiple hit games, which fueled the San Francisco offense.
Without Hunter Pence, other their Posey, there are not many deep threats on Boche’s lineup card (24th in baseball with 8 home runs) and they need production by getting runners on base and moving them around.
Because the starting pitching is depleted, San Francisco has to generate offense. If they do, this team has shown over the last five years they have the bullpen to win with a lead and they can defeat the betting odds continually because they are very comfortable and relaxed in playing in one-run games. Now they have to perform.
Pitching Matchup – Hellickson vs. Hudson
Jeremy Hellickson is seeking his first win in a Diamondbacks uniform (0-2) and his location has been a problem conceding 16 hits in 11 innings, leading to 6.55 ERA. He’s a typical Tampa Bay pitcher who looks to establish his low-90’s fastball. Off that pitch he has a sharp curve and roughly 25 percent of the time he uses an excellent changeup. If he cannot throw his hard stuff for strikes, opposing teams sit on the change. He lost 5-2 to San Francisco 11 days ago in his only start against them.
Tim Hudson (0-1, 2.03 ERA) might be creeping up on his 40th birthday in July, but he still knows how to pitch. Like most ball-chuckers his age, his fastball rarely reaches 90 MPH anymore but commands both sides of the plate and knows how to keep opposing hitters off-balance with his excellent usage of secondary pitches. At this juncture of his career he’s going to be more effective before the All-Star break until the innings pile up and he’s not afraid of snakes, having a lifetime record of 9-1 versus the Diamondbacks with an ERA of 2.06 and an incredible WHIP of 0.989.
D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is 5-for-18 in his career against Hudson with four of the five hits being doubles.
The Giants Brandon Crawford is batting .421 with 11 RBIs in his last 10 meetings versus Arizona and has three homers already this season against them.
Odds and Outcome
Given Hudson dominance over Arizona, it is little wonder the Giants were made -140 favorites, with a total of 7. No question San Francisco has played like a shadow of their championship teams to date, but the 2011 AL Rookie Pitcher of the Year Hellickson is 1-9 versus teams whose hitters strike out seven or more times a game since last season. Plus, Hudson throughout his distinguished career knows how to finish a home series with a 29-7 mark when pitching on Sunday’s. Take the Giants to win for your MLB picks.
MLB Free Pick – San Francisco -134 at Pinnacle