While this contest does not figure to have any playoff implications, the Diamondbacks have a chance to sweep the Giants and may do so at an underdog price Sunday.
Underdogs are usually a good place to look in games with no playoff bearing during September MLB betting, as such is the case Sunday when Jeremy Hellickson and the underdog Arizona Diamondbacks (71-77, 36-37 away) look to finish off the sweep as they pay a visit to fellow right-hander Tim Hudson and the San Francisco Giants (77-71, 43-30 home) in the finale of a three-game series from AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA at 4:05 ET on FOX Sports - Arizona..
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Arizona as a decided road underdog for this contest at current odds of +129.
Technically Still Alive
Technically these teams have not been mathematically eliminated from the playoff hunt, but that is just a formality as each club should be eliminated soon. In fact, the Diamondbacks would be eliminated today if they are the losing MLB pick here or if the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pirates, as Arizona’s magic number for elimination in the division race is one with the Snakes trailing Los Angeles by 14½ games. They are already out of the wild card race.
The Giants are the defending World Champions, but it appears to the whole world that they will not get a chance to defend that title. The magic number for San Francisco to be eliminated from the division title race is seven with the Giants trailing the Dodgers by 8½ games, and the magic number in the wild card chase is only five as the G-Men are 10 games behind the Chicago Cubs.
Thus, each team can turn its attention to next year as it plays out the string in 2015.
Bust Out the Brooms?
Well, you cannot lose if you do not give up any runs and the Diamondbacks have taken the first two games of this series with back-to-back shutouts, winning 2-0 behind Rubby De La Rosa Friday and then 6-0 behind Patrick Corbin Saturday. They now attempt to go for the sweep with Hellickson on the bump, and while he has been a disappointment at 9-9 with a 4.78 ERA this season, he has demonstrated he can handle this struggling San Francisco lineup.
Hellickson has allowed three runs or less in his two starts vs. the Giants this year including a gem in his only start in this ballpark way back on April 19th, when he surrendered only one run in 6.2 innings. Now he gets to face a Giants’ lineup that may be just going through the motions with this disappointing season over on the heels of last year’s championship, with San Francisco batting .225 vs. right-handed pitchers over the last five games.
Also, if this is a close game late, it is reassuring that the Arizona bullpen has pitched well as of late posting a 2.51 ERA over the last 10 games covering 42 innings.
Roughed Up by Diamondbacks
This is actually a pitching rematch of that game back in April when Hudson was on the losing end of Hellickson’s fine performance. Of course, Hudson did not exactly help his cause as he was roughed up by the Diamondbacks for five earned runs while lasting only five innings. Hudson has had a good Major League career, but that career is now in its twilight as he is only 7-8 with a 4.42 ERA this season with just 60 strikeouts in 114 innings.
Furthermore the Diamondbacks have continued to hit well despite not going anywhere in the playoff race as they are batting .265 and averaging 4.55 runs over the last 10 games. Of course it helps to boast one of the best hitters in all of baseball in the still underrated Paul Goldschmidt, and even though this stadium is usually a pitcher’s paradise, Goldschmidt has had great success here this year with a .382 batting average and 1.129 OPS!
Head-to-Head Dominance on the Bay
Finally, one of the reasons the Giants are in such a perilous position in regards to their playoff standing has been their inability to beat the Diamondbacks, especially here in San Francisco. Arizona has beaten the Giants 11 times so far this year including going 8-1 at AT&T Park, and Diamondbacks’ pitchers currently have a streak of 30 consecutive scoreless innings here after the first two shutouts in this series give them five shutouts in San Francisco in 2015!
While we are not predicating another shutout, we do expect Arizona to keep the San Francisco bats quiet yet again and finish off this three-game road sweep at a nice underdog price on Sunday.
MLB Pick: Diamondbacks +129