MLB Picks: Dodgers-Giants Matchup Screams 'Over' Despite Big Names on the Mound

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 5:35 PM GMT

These pitchers will meet for the third time in a month in San Francisco Wednesday night. Our handicapper recaps the first two meetings and gives his MLB pick for the rubber match.

In a minor scheduling miracle, Brett Anderson of the Los Angeles Dodgers meets Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants head-to-head for the third time in a one-month span. Each team won one of the first two games with Lincecum the only starter to be able to garner a winning decision. In each game the starters where pulled relatively early and the bullpens for both teams saw considerable action. The shorter length that Anderson is staying in games is understandable, given that the Dodgers are trying to coax as many innings as they can out of the oft injured veteran. The opening money line on the MLB odds had the visiting Dodgers favored at -113, with the O/U set at 7. The weather tonight is supposed to be in the low 50’s F, so that Bay area marine layer could keep a few balls on the warning track.

In the first game of these two pitcher’s matchups this season, Lincecum ended a Dodgers 7-game winning streak at home by pitching six innings of one run ball while striking out five and walking three. Anderson got banged around for nine hits in four innings and gave up 4 earned runs to boot. The Giants went on to win the game 6-2 as the Dodger bullpen didn’t allow them to pile on that much, just offering up a 2 run HR to Justin Maxwell in the 8th inning. Almost the entire Giants batting order had a multi-hit game – not hard when you get 9 hits in the first four innings.

The second matchup between these two pitchers swapped the results of the first. In this game at Dodger Stadium it was Lincecum giving up 4 earned runs in four innings, while giving up 8 hits and again walking three. Brett Anderson wasn’t much better, giving up three earned runs in 4.2 innings, but his bullpen came in to save the day and pitched another 4.1 innings of shut out, two-hit ball. Both of these pitchers gave up all of their earned runs in this game in one big inning apiece. The Dodgers ended up getting a few long balls off of the Giants bullpen late in the game, including a three-run pinch hit home run by Justin Turner, and ended up with an easy 8-3 victory.

With each starting pitcher not getting deep into games lately, I’d like to make sure we take a look at the bullpens, and in this area the Los Angeles Dodgers have the clear advantage over the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers are 1st in overall bullpen pitching in the MLB, as measured by WAR, compared the Giants who are sitting at 22nd. Some specifics, the Dodgers have the ERA edge at 2.64 to 3.03 and also are striking out more than four more batters per 9 innings – 11.18 K/9 versus 7.06 K/9.

The MLB Pick: I think with each of the first two games between these pitchers totaling 8 runs and 11 runs respectively, the current total of 7 runs is a gift. With Lincecum walking three batters in each of those first two games, and walking five in his last game, the Dodgers figure to have some bonus base runners. His FIP is also almost an entire run higher than his ERA, so Lincecum has benefitted from stellar defense and double plays to keep his ERA down.  Anderson’s ERA is also a little suspect at 3.50 given that his BAA is currently sitting at .298. That BAA goes over .400 when Anderson exceeds 60 pitches. So again, expect one team to need some long relief. I expect more of the same for scoring trends in this pitching matchup and suggest taking the total of over 7 runs as my MLB pick.

MLB Pick: Over 7 at BetOnline