The Arizona Diamondbacks have slithered their way into a tie for first place in the NL West; The defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants have lost five games in a row.
So it's two teams headed in different directions at the moment meeting as Arizona and San Francisco get together for a three-game series at Chase Field starting Monday night (9:40 pm ET).
Might this series serve as a preview of big games to come in this year's NL West race, and where might the profits be found with our MLB picks in these games?
Wednesday Game Three
By: Ron Patrick
San Francisco stole Game 2 of this series Tuesday night, getting a two-run bomb from the Panda in the top of the ninth for a 2-1 victory. Madison Bumgarner was his usual self, throwing seven innings of shut-out ball, before Arizona's Josh Wilson led off the bottom of the eight with a solo dinger. But Sandoval connected off D'Backs closer JJ Putz to give the Giants the lead, and Sergio Romo threw a perfect ninth, as San Fran won as -115 favorites on the MLB betting odds.
So the Giants and Diamondbacks are tied at 15-12, one game back of first-place Colorado in the NL West, as San Francisco shoots for the series sweep Wednesday night (9:40 pm ET).
Wednesday's Betting Odds
As of Wednesday AM the best price we could find on Arizona with Brandon McCarthy was the -105 offered at GoBov.lv, while San Francisco with Tim Linecum could be gotten at +102 at Pinbet.
Need the inside scoop on baseball today? Check out Jeff Grant's MLB Insider report.
Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Lincecum (2-1, 3.64) has allowed two or fewer runs in three of his five starts this season, and San Francisco is 4-1 in games he's started. His last two outings both came against San Diego, and the Freak shut 'em down, allowing two runs and 10 hits through 13 2/3 innings, walking five and striking out 17.
For the season Lincecum has allowed fewer hits, 23, than innings pitched, 29 2/3, walked 17 but whiffed 32.
Last year Lincecum went one-for-three in quality starts against Arizona, allowing a total of 13 ER and 15 hits in 16 1/3 innings. The Giants lost all three of those games.
McCarthy (0-3, 7.48) is off to an ugly start for his new team this season. The former Oakland A is 0-for-five on quality starts, getting tagged for 23 ER and 45 hits in 27 2/3 innings. McCarthy's last two starts both came against Colorado, in which he gave up 10 runs and 17 hits in 12 innings.
McCarthy should consider himself lucky the Diamondbacks have won two of his five starts.
This will be McCarthy's first-ever appearance vs. the Giants.
Our Take on Wednesday's Game
Can San Francisco complete the sweep, or can Arizona avoid it? That's what today's game comes down to.
Despite our qualms about McCarthy we think the home team can salvage one game. So we'll add the Diamondbacks to our list of free MLB picks for Wednesday.
Tuesday's Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
San Francisco took the opener of this series Monday night 6-4, grabbing an early 3-0 lead, falling behind 4-3, tying the game in the top of the fifth, then winning it with two runs in the eighth. Starter Matt Cain gave up four runs in six innings of work, but the Giants bullpen threw three shut-out innings.
The win broke a five-game losing streak for the Giants, and provided their financial backers with a betting victory at an underdog price of around +110.
Monday's game also played OVER its total of 8.5 runs.
So the Diamondbacks, at 15-11, trail first-place Colorado by one game in the National League West, while San Francisco, at 14-12, sits two games back as the teams head into Game 3 of this series Tuesday night
(9:40 pm ET).
Tuesday's MLB Betting Odds
As of a Tuesday morning perusal of various online sportsbooks the best MLB odds we could find on San Francisco with Madison Bumgarner was the -110 offered at Pinbet.com, while Arizona with Trevor Cahill could be gotten at +107 at 5Dimes.
Tuesday's Pitching Match-Up
Cahill (1-3, 3.00) may have only one win to his credit so far, but he probably deserves better. Last time out, five days ago against the Rockies, Cahill gave up just one unearned run on four hits through six innings, and over his last three starts he's allowed three ER through 19 1/3 innings. On the season Cahill has permitted 10 ER and 37 baserunners (hits + walks) in 30 innings.
Arizona is 2-3 in Cahill's starts this season, with the OVER/UNDERS going a perfect 0-5.
Last year, while going 13-12, Cahill started three times against San Francisco, allowing 10 ER and 16 hits through 18 innings. The Diamondbacks went 1-2 in those games.
Bumgarner (3-0, 1.87) has yet to allow more than two runs in any of his starts this season. Last time out, last Wednesday vs. these Diamondbacks, Bumsie gave up one run and five hits through seven innings, with one walk and seven whiffs, in a game the Giants lost 3-2. And for the season Bums has allowed seven runs and 30 baserunners in 33 2/3 innings.
San Francisco is 4-1 in his starts, and each of his starts so far has played UNDER on the totals.
But last year, on his way toward going 16-11, Bumgarner had a tough time in his three starts against Arizona, getting clipped for 12 ER and 22 hits through 16 1/3 innings. The Giants lost all three of those games.
On an injury note San Francisco 3B Pablo Sandoval, who's hitting .327 this season with 20 RBI, tweaked an elbow Monday night, had to leave the game and is uncertain for at least Tuesday.
Our Take on Tuesday's Game
These Giants-D'Backs games have become basically toss-ups, and make for tough handicapping. Arizona took two of three games in San Francisco last week, and we won't be surprised whatsoever if the Giants return the favor this week.
Bumgarner owns the edge in Tuesday's pitching match-up, but Sandoval's absence (if he is out) would leave a hole in San Francisco’s line-up. So in expecting the home team to even this series with a victory we'll add the underdog Diamondbacks to our list of sports picks for Tuesday.
Free MLB Pick: Take Arizona at the +107 offered at 5Dimes.
Monday's Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
This Year's MLB Picks Record: 24-24
Giants-Diamondbacks Monday MLB Betting Odds
After checking many of the best baseball betting sites Monday morning, the best line we could find on Arizona with Ian Kennedy was the -104 offered at TheGreek, while San Francisco with Matt Cain could be gotten at +101 at Pinnacle.
Also, the MLB odds at TheGreek listed the Diamondbacks as -115 favorites to win this series, with the Giants “getting” -105.
Giants-Diamondbacks Series Set-Up
San Francisco just got swept three games at San Diego, losing Sunday's series finale 6-4.
Arizona just took three of four games at home from the Rockies over the weekend, winning Sunday 4-2.
So the D'Backs, at 15-10, are tied for first place in the National League West with Colorado, two games up on the 13-12 Giants.
Monday's Pitching Match-Up
Here's how we size up Kennedy/Cain;
Ian Kennedy, by our tough standards, is two-for-five on quality starts this season. Two weeks ago Kennedy got nicked for six runs in less than six innings by the Dodgers, but since then he's held the Rockies to three runs in six innings, then last Wednesday limited these Diamondbacks to one run and four hits through six innings of a 3-2 Giants victory.
For the season Kennedy has allowed 40 baserunners (hits + walks) in 30 2/3 innings, walked 11 and struck out 26.
Last year Kennedy started three times against San Francisco, giving up nine ER and 21 hits through 19 2/3 innings. Arizona managed to win all three of those games.
Cain, meanwhile, has done the Jekyll-and-Hyde thing so far this season. First, he threw six scoreless innings vs. the Dodgers; then got bombed for nine runs in three-plus innings vs. the Cardinals; he followed that with a good performance, holding the Cubs to two runs through seven innings, but then got bopped for seven runs in six innings by the Brewers.
Last time out, last Tuesday vs. these Diamondbacks, Cain gave up three ER in six innings, walking one while striking out six, in a game the Giants eventually lost 6-4.
For the season Cain has permitted 36 baserunners through 28 2/3 innings, and while his K/BB ratio is solid, at 26/6, he's also given up six homers already.
Last year Cain started four times against the Padres, allowing seven ER and 17 hits through 24 innings; San Francisco won three of those games.
Giants-Diamondbacks Recent History
These two teams split the season series last year, each winning nine games, with the OVER/UNDERS going 10-8.
Arizona then began this year's series by taking two of three games in San Francisco last week. Two of those games played OVER on the totals.
Giants-Diamondbacks Betting Trends
The OVER/UNDERS have gone 4-8-1 in Chase Field games this season, which have averaged 8.2 runs per.
Our Take on Monday's Game
This game is basically a toss-up; if there's an edge in the pitching match-up we'd give it to Cain, but Arizona's bats rank slightly better than San Francisco's. And the bullpens are both pretty good. But the Giants come in cold, while the D'Backs are riding a little momentum. So we'll add the home team to our sports picks at a decent price.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Diamondbacks at the -104 offered at TheGreek.Bettors should check back at this page for updates, new pitching match-ups and fresh picks for Games 2 and 3 Tuesday and Wednesday.