San Francisco needs baserunners to go along with homers
The Giants offense has sputtered more since the end of April, tallying four or less runs in seven of their last eight contests. San Francisco has been supplying ample power, ranking third in the big leagues with 1.2 home runs a game.
While the Black and Orange are +9 units for those making MLB picks, they rank 10th in batting average and 9th in on-base percentage in the National League. With the power they have exhibited from the likes of Brandon Belt, Michael Morse and Buster Posey, just think how much more lethal this team would be with more ducks on the pond.
Let’s also remember Hunter Pence has been below average, and Pablo Sandoval’s batting average is at least 50 points lower than his weight. San Fran would like nothing better than to break out the rest of the week.
Dodgers Finding out Division is Tougher than Expected
The MLB odds had Los Angeles as the team to beat in the NL, with arguably the most talented frontline roster in The Majors, and as good a top of the rotation as there is in the game. As ESPN’s Chris Berman is known to say, “That’s why they play the games.”
Starting the season in Australia did nothing for the Dodgers except for picking up two wins. The play under manager Don Mattingly has been like and like old lawnmower which needs replacing, starting and stopping. Dodger Blue has not been bad, yet it is impossible to consider them great. This is not to say they cannot be, like last season when they speed away from the competition like a Ferrari with a 41-9 spurt.
The Dodger skipper understands San Francisco is back. "They're just a tough group for me," Mattingly said. "They play hard every day, they seem to be mentally tough, they've got good pitching. They play the game right. You've got to go beat them. They don't usually beat themselves." L.A. will be challenged to play the game at the same level.
Pitching Matchup for Friday
Madison Bumgarner has been more inconsistent than presumed in the early season with a 3-3 record. His ERA of 3.18 is certainly acceptable, but as those who review the betting odds are aware, his WHIP is 1.56, which is much higher than career number of 1.17. Thus far he allowed more hits than innings pitched (48 in 39.2), and his 14 walks in April is well above his figures of the past three years, which have been 8.7 per month.
Paul Maholm (1-2, 4.70 ERA, 1.57 WHIP) is strictly a back of the rotation guy. Never a hard thrower, he has just 12 strikeouts in over 30 innings of work, and has conceded 11 walks, hardly what Mattingly is looking for. Opposing teams are batting .306, but at least his groundball to fly-ball ratios are nearly two to one.
Though the Giants save percentage of 71 percent is merely ordinary, their 1.81 ERA is not, and opposing teams have only a .258 on-base percentage against them. They have allowed only 76 hits in 112 innings and the second-fewest walks in the National League.
The Dodgers also have a 71 percent save rate; however, why they make shaky sports picks when a starting pitch like Maholm (unlikely to make the seventh inning), because of the extra base runners they allow. Los Angeles relievers have conceded 16 more free passes than Arizona (who is next to last in this category in the NL) in the same number of innings and are far and away the worst in the senior circuit.
Head to Head Combat and Betting Odds
These bitter rivals meet for the eighth time already this season, with San Francisco 5-2 overall and is 3-1 at Dodger Stadium the past. The Giants have take 13 of 23 at Chavez Ravine the past three years, with the 'under' 13-9.
Sportsbooks made the visiting Giants favorites and the wagering public has bumped them up 10 cents on the money line to -130. The total has gone in the opposite direction, lowered from 7.5 to 7.
The Winner Is….
Over the past three seasons, San Francisco has taken advantage of soft-tossers like Maholm and are a galvanic 14-1 vs. a starting pitcher who strikes out three or less batters per start. With Bumgarner a bedrock solid 9-4 against the arch-enemies, I’ll put my cash on the Giants.
MLB Free Picks: San Francisco wins