Marlins vs. Giants Game 4
By: Willie Bee
Just like that, the Miami Marlins are back in the thick of the NL East race. Two straight wins over the San Francisco Giants have lifted Miami to within a half-game of the division-leading Atlanta Braves, and the Fish have a chance to return home from an 11-game road trip in first place.
To do so, the Marlins will need to end their 4-game set in San Francisco with a victory on Sunday (4:05 PM ET). Jacob Turner gets the call for Miami while the Giants trot Ryan Vogelsong out to the mound as -150 to -160 chalk. An 8 run total, highest so far in the series, is listed on SBR's live MLB odds.
Miami got stellar pitching from Tom Koehler on Saturday in a 5-0 whitewashing of the Giants. Koehler struck out seven and allowed only five hits while his lineup spread out nine hits of their own to beat Tim Lincecum and the G-Men.
SF Looks To Extend
Turner's Winless Road Streak
Turner is not only seeking his first win of 2014, but also looking for his first career dubya in a road start. Dating back to his two cups of coffee with the Tigers in 2011-12, the 22-year-old righthander is 0-10 in 17 road starts, the Marlins 4-3 in his seven no-decisions. The irony is that Turner has always pitched better away on the road where his ERA is under 4.00 as opposed to a 4.99 mark in home starts for both Miami and Detroit.
He has pitched once at AT&T Park, tossing seven innings and allowing just one run in a June 2013 contest that Miami lost 2-1 in 11 innings.
A string of three consecutive SF wins with Vogelsong on the hill was snapped his last time out, a 5-0 setback on Tuesday to the Braves in which the righthander allowed four runs during his six innings. The 36-year-old did strike out eight to establish a season-high and brings a 26+ inning homerless streak into Sunday's matchup.
Vogelsong has faced the Marlins four times as a starter the past three seasons, splitting those decisions with a nice 2.17 ERA in nearly 30 innings. Garrett Jones and Giancarlo Stanton are a combined 9-for-26 (.346) with 3 HR against him.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Kerwin Danley is expected to call balls and strikes to complete the umpire rotation for this series. He checks in 3-4-1 O/U/P so far in 2014, with his last plate assignment at AT&T Park skipping past the total.
A mix of sun and clouds with temps in the low-to-mid 60s is what's on tap this afternoon in Golden Gate City. The forecast also calls for the wind to continue, 18-20 mph out of the WNW (out to right-center).
I'm liking the Giants to earn the 2-2 split in this set, and like them so much that I'm going to play San Francisco on the run line for my free baseball pick.
My pick: Giants -1.5 (+140)
Season: 41-39 (+0.7)
Marlins vs. Giants Game 3
By: Willie Bee
Bruce Bochy's bullpen has been among the most reliable in the majors so far in 2014. San Francisco Giants relievers rank second among all 30 teams with a 2.15 ERA and first holding hitters to a .209 batting average.
Things didn't go so well for the relief corps Friday, however, as the Miami Marlins plated two in the ninth to take a 7-5 decision in the second of a 4-game series in San Francisco. The victory was Miami's 11th in the last 13 games played at AT&T Park, and the Fish look to keep that trend rolling once again as underdogs on Saturday (9:05 PM ET).
Bochy will send Tim Lincecum to the bump in hopes of at least slowing Miami's recent dominance in San Francisco, and Giants backers will pay $1.35 to $1.50 on the moneyline. Mike Redmond counters with Tom Koehler for the Marlins, SBR's live MLB odds showing 7.5 across the board for the total.
ERA Is Up, But
Lincecum Still Producing Winners In 2014
Koehler heads to the hill looking to rebound from his worst start of the season, and one of only two among his initial eight assignments not to go into the quality effort column. The righthander failed to survive the fourth inning in Los Angeles this past Monday, having already walked five and allowed six hits, the big blow coming on Yasiel Puig's 3-run blast.
The former Stony Book standout will be facing the Giants for the third time in his young career, and second appearance at AT&T Park. Miami won his previous two assignments, including a 2-1 victory in San Francisco last June, Koehler's first MLB dubya.
Lincecum's 4.78 ERA wouldn't appear to be the mark of a winning pitcher, but the Giants are 6-2 in his eight previous starts and The Freak is coming off his best outing of the season. The little righty struck out 11 and allowed just two hits into the eighth inning of San Fran's 4-2 win over the Braves on Monday.
The Giants have dropped his last two starts vs. Miami, however, after winning the first three times Lincecum faced the Fish.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Gary Cederstrom hasn't provided baseball bettors with any totals trends in his eight plate assignments this season, posting a 4-4 O/U in 2014 after a 14-12 record a year ago. He has been a boon to home favorites, however, with chalk cashing five of six times, including 3-1 in the -120 to -140 range.
There's no threat of rain interrupting Game 2, but wind is still a potential factor with a 15-20 mph blow from the west, and gusts up to 25 (out to center).
Runs have been fairly easy to come by in this series with 10 in the series opener on Thursday followed by a dozen last night. There's always the threat of a low-scoring affair breaking out at AT&T Park, but I'll get behind the bats with my free MLB pick for Game 3.
My pick: Marlins-Giants Over 7.5
Season: 40-39 (+0.75)
Marlins vs. Giants Game 2
By: Willie Bee
It wasn't vintage Matt Cain, but it was good enough for a San Francisco Giants victory in their series opener against the Miami Marlins.
Cain spotted the Fish an early 3-run lead, then stifled Miami the rest of the way with some help from his bullpen in the 6-4 victory. Michael Morse and Hunter Pence fueled San Francisco's rally with three hits each, Morse driving in three runs with a homer and a double as the Giants increased their NL West lead to four games over the Colorado Rockies.
A pitching change for the Giants in Game 2 put the brakes on any baseball betting action for the contest. Yusmeiro Petit is swinging from the San Fran bullpen into the rotation, and he'll be facing Miami's Henderson Alvarez in the 10:15 PM (ET) start.
Petit Called On Once
Again For Injured SF Starter
Inconsistency has plagued Alvarez throughout his brief career, and we're seeing that again this season. The Venezuelan has two complete game shutouts among his eight starts to date, and four more starts in which he barely totaled 18 innings with 18 runs crossing the plate (13 earned).
This will be his second career assignment vs. the Giants, the first taking place last August in Miami where he suffered the loss with four runs charged to his linescore in seven innings.
Tim Hudson was scratched from this start due to a strained hip he suffered last Sunday in Los Angeles. Petit is being pushed into duty for of an injured Giants starter for the third time this year, the most recent occurrence happening in Pittsburgh nearly two weeks ago in the opener of the Giants-Pirates series. The Bucs put the wood to him in that outing (4.1 IP, 8 ER), but he tossed six scoreless frames at home in his other start. It has been nearly five years since Petit last faced the Marlins, and he's 1-1 with a 3.17 ERA in two career starts against them.
Umpire Notes, Mother
Nature & A Free Pick
California native Mark Ripperger is set to work the plate for just the 16th time in his MLB umpiring career. He has primarily been a fill-in from the minors the past few seasons, and is working games in San Francisco for the first time this weekend. Ripperger is 2-5-1 (O/U/P) on the 2014 season, and coming off an 'over' winner Monday in Seattle after five consecutive plate assignments that feel short of the total.
A few clouds and wind will once again be on hand for Game 2; look for temps in the low-60s at first pitch with a 12-16 mph west blow (out to center).
Bettors will need to keep an eye on SBR's live baseball odds for the moneyline and total to be released. I'm liking the home team, but will wait until the numbers come out to make my free pick.
My pick: Lean Giants
Season: 40-39 (+0.75)
Marlins vs. Giants Game 1
By: Willie Bee
Suffice to say, it hasn't been an enjoyable week for the Miami Marlins. Along with enduring 5-straight losses on a long West Coast trip, the Marlins also learned that young ace Jose Fernandez has ligament damage in his right elbow and will likely be out of action for at least 12 months due to Tommy John surgery.
If there's any good news for the Fish, it's that they stopped that losing skid Wednesday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. Keeping the wins coming will now be difficult, however, with the next four games in San Francisco against a Giants club that owns the best record in the NL. Game 1 of the series is set for a 10:15 PM (ET) start on Thursday when Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Cain make up the initial mound duel. The Giants are favored in the -135 to -140 range on the moneyline, and SBR's live MLB odds show 7 for the total with a lean to the 'under.'
San Francisco has the 95-66 advantage against the Marlins all-time, but Miami has been cutting into that record by winning the last three season series, and the Fish are starting to call AT&T Park their home away from home. The Giants have won 24 of the 45 games played on this diamond, though that was a more robust 23-11 before the Marlins took 10 of the last 11 played by McCovey Cove.
Totals bettors split the four contests played in San Francisco last season, all of the scoreboard tallies in the 7-7.5 range. 'Under' wagers cashed in six of the previous seven tilts at AT&T Park.
Can Marlins Survive
Losing Fernandez is definitely a huge blow for Miami (21-20, +1.2 units, 25-13-3 O/U/P), adding pressure to the rest of the rotation to step up and deliver.
A 2-1 record is all Eovaldi has to show for an otherwise solid campaign up to now. The Houston native has six quality starts among his first eight trips to the hill, recording a 2.86 ERA and fine 48/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in a little more than 50 innings, but the Marlins have only managed to split those assignments 4-4, three of the losses taking place away from home.
Eovaldi also hasn't fared too well on the mound in San Fran, or against the Giants overall. He took on the G-Men once while with the Dodgers, and got pounded on this field. The righthander pitched much better here a year ago (6 IP, 2 ER) to earn his only dubya vs. San Francisco, but was belted around by the Giants in Miami to leave him with a 12.21 ERA in three appearances.
Giants Take 2 Of 3
From Braves To Start Homestand
San Francisco (26-15, +11.5 units, 18-21-2 O/U/P) moved to a 3.5-game lead in the NL West after Wednesday's 10-4 triumph over the Braves. Bruce Bochy's boys rank third in the Senior Circuit in scoring (4.22 rpg), and show off their balance with the same ranking in ERA (3.16).
The worst of Cain's six starts this season turned out to be the only game the Giants have won with him on the hill. Five of his six assignments have been on the road, including last Saturday when he came off the DL with five innings of 2-run, 3-hit baseball only to see his squad fall to the Dodgers in LA, 6-2.
Cain has recorded a nice 3.18 ERA against the Marlins over his last six starts, but only two of those appearances went into the win column for either him or the Giants. He split his two efforts a year ago, losing at home and winning in Miami, and has had all sorts of trouble with Garrett Jones and Giancarlo Stanton over the years, that pair combining for five homers in 42 plate appearances vs. Cain.
There isn't any rain mentioned in San Fran for the series, but bettors will want to keep an eye on the forecasts due to some hefty winds in the mix. Game time should find the thermometer in the upper-60s under cloudy skies along with a 12-15 mph breeze from the west (out to center).
Even with their recent success in San Francisco, the Marlins' current road record (4-15) is the deciding factor for my free MLB pick in the opener; home chalk is how I'll roll tonight.
My pick: Giants -135
Season: 39-38 (+0.75)