MLB Betting: Rockies To Prolong Domination Over San Francisco

Rainman M.

Saturday, June 17, 2017 4:39 PM UTC

Saturday, Jun. 17, 2017 4:39 PM UTC

The Rockies have taken the first two games of the series against the Giants, although the Giants’ bats haven’t gone away quietly. The Rockies will look to become 9-1 on the season against the Giants when they square off Saturday.


The Giants are finally producing runs. The problem is one of‚ too little, too late.‘ In the first two games of the series, the Rockies have outscored the Giants 14-5 in the first five innings, while the Giants have mounted a comeback in each game, only to fall short 10-9 and 10-8. Giants’ second baseman Joe Panik continues to enjoy playing at Coors Field. He was 3-for-5 with two RBI’s last night, to boost his BA To .362 in 20 lifetime games played at Coors. For the Rockies, second baseman DJ LeMahieu is 8-for-9 with 4 RBI’s in the series. He is also batting 9-for-22 (.409) lifetime against Matt Cain, with two doubles and a home run.

The Starters

Matt Cain (3-5 5.22 ERA) continues to struggle on the road for the Giants, where his FIP (this is like ERA, but factors out luck) is 6.53 on the season. He has always been worse on the road, as his career FIP is 4.08 on the road compared to 3.70 at home in San Francisco. But he hasn’t been doing well at home either—as his FIP was 10.75 vs Minnesota and 5.13 vs Washington in his past two home starts. He has given up four home runs in his past three outings overall. Last week was also tied for his worst outing in terms of K:BB ratio. Cain is struggling to locate his pitches effectively, which is the chief task of a finesse pitcher.

Kyle Freeland (7-4 3.57 ERA) counters for the Rockies. When he faced the Giants on April 23rd in Coors Field, he gave up just six hits and zero runs in seven innings. Except for one outing on April 12th, he has been rock solid at home all season. In his last outing vs Cleveland he gave up just one run in 6.1 innings. His FIP at home is 3.77, compared to 5.60 on the road. Despite the difficulties of pitching in Coors Field, his K/9 rate goes up from 4.76 on the road to 6.50 at home, his BB/9 improves from 4.08 on the road to 3.00 at home and his HR/9 rate drops from 1.13 on the road to 0.75 at home.

Pick Reasoning

Kyle Freeland matches up well against the Giants as a left-handed power/finesse ground ball pitcher. He throws a variety of pitches at above-average velocity, but especially a sinker, with which he induces a high amount of ground balls. The Giants’ OPS (on-base % plus slugging %; average is .730) is only .612 against ground ball pitchers. They especially struggle against groundball pitchers because they have difficulty hitting the sinker, Freeland’s most frequent pitch. They are, in fact, by far the worst team at hitting the sinker, with a wOBA (this is like OPS, but factors in run-scoring potential; 15th place, in this case, is .356) of .266 against this pitch. They are likewise at their worst against power/finesse pitchers, against which their OPS is just .641. Against left-handed pitching, the Giants’ OPS is .654. I expect a strong performance from Freeland who already has a history of success against the Giants because he matches up well against them. He is especially strong in Coors Field. 

Matt Cain, meanwhile, is a finesse pitcher who, because he is throwing a sinker much more frequently, now induces a mixture of fly balls and ground balls. The key is that he has been struggling to be effective especially away from home. I think that this road trend continues because his current struggles on the road are consistent with his career splits. He will do well against the same team at home and yet get tagged for many runs by the same lineup on the road, even if he matches up well with them on paper. An example of this is the Padres, who, like the Rockies, match up well against Cain as a finesse pitcher but not as a fly ball/ground ball pitcher. In Cain’s outing in San Diego, his FIP was 9.83, while it was 0.33 at home.

I am backing Freelandfor our free MLB picks, he is in a better spot than Cain because he is playing in his favorite ballpark, and the Rockies’ lineup, which has been more consistent than that of the Giants and enjoys a stronger match-up advantage against Cain in the MLB Odds.

Free MLB Pick: Rockies First 5 -1/2 
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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