The Giants walked away with a 3-2 victory last night but where does the value lie in our MLB odds for Wednesday afternoon?
Wednesday's Game Three
By: Swinging Johnson
Boston Red Sox (74-54, +8.3 units)
Boston kept the Giants at bay until late in the game when San Francisco tied it up in the 8th and loaded the bases in the 9th with a single, a walk and a hit batsman. That's when Brayan Villarreal, acquired from the Tigers last month, made his debut for the Red Sox and proceeded to throw four straight balls, walking in the winning run.
Now I know I'm bitter because I backed the Sox - on the run line so I guess cashing the game was a bit of a longshot anyway - but seriously, how do you walk in the winning run if you're a big league pitcher? If the count gets to 3-0, throw it down the middle for the luvva gawd and see what happens. You've got nothing to lose.
Okay enough about Brayan Villarreal making my night miserable. Tonight the Sox will send Felix Doubront (8-6, 3.95) to the hill where he hopes to recover after a disastrous outing against the Yankees last Friday. Doubront was blitzed for seven runs and eight hits over just four innings en route to a 10-3 loss to the Bombers. His previous start against Kansas City was almost an omen of things to come when he gave up three runs including four walks in a little over four innings of work.
Check out our Wednesday Morning MLB Odds & Betting Lines Report.
San Francisco Giants (56-69, -24.5 units)
The Giants won in spite of themselves last night as they stumbled and bumbled their way to a 3-2 win despite stranding 10 runners in scoring position. The Giants have to rely on a mediocre pitching staff to contain the opposition because this offense simply doesn't hit, particularly in the clutch.
Tonight the Giants will give the ball to Barry Zito (4-8, 5.34 ERA) who has been plugged in for Chad Gaudin, now on the DL with Carpal tunnel syndrome. A bit too many Facebook postings, eh Chad? Rest up you little warrior. Zito was banished to the bullpen after a few hellacious performances but he's back now after pitching solid relief in his last two appearances. He last faced the Red Sox over six years ago and wound up on the losing end of that decision.
The question here is who will blow up first, Doubront or Zito? Doubront was cruising through this 2012 season, turning in ERA's of 2.75 and 2.56 in the months of June and July respectively. He even roared into August with a superb five-hit blanking of the Diamondbacks, leading Boston to a 4-0 victory.
But reports were that he left the game against the D-Backs with minor oblique pain on August 4th and nothing more was mentioned about it until he tossed back-to-back stinkers. Are those poor performances a manifestation of the oblique injury or is Doubront merely returning to Earth after a brilliant summer?
Barry Zito is one of those guys that you're never really sure what you're going to get. He was once a star in the league but that was a long time ago for the 35-year-old southpaw. Right now he's a back of the rotation kind of guy but capable of digging down and pulling out some of his old magic every now and again.
Well, when faced with a choice of two struggling pitchers, my choice is to turn to the total. If Doubront finds his groove then I am not encouraged about my chances of this game going over in my MLB picks. The Giants have an anemic attack but Boston bangs with the very best of them. Let's hope the struggles continue for both of these pitchers and the Giants bats come alive.
In our MLB odds we see this total sitting at a solid 7 ½ which looks fine to me.
Free Picks: Play Over 7 ½ (-110) at Bet365.com in your MLB picks.
Tuesday's Game Two
By: Swinging Johnson
Boston Red Sox (74-53, +9.9 units)
The Red Sox did as I hoped they would last night and proved they were the better team in a 7-0 victory despite a hellacious cross-country travel schedule. Jon Lester mowed down the Giants lineup just as he did three years ago when last he toed the slab at AT&T Park. Misgivings about their ability to rebound from a wild Sunday night loss to the Yankees and making the trip as soon as the game ended well after midnight drove the MLB odds down from -130 to the closing number of -120. However that did not deter us and we cashed another winning ticket in our MLB picks.
Jake Peavy is 1-1 with a 5.00 ERA since being acquired from the White Sox last month and he will get his crack at an anemic Giants lineup this evening. Aside from a miserable outing against the Royals where he was torched for 10 hits and six earned runs in a 9-6 loss two weeks ago, Peavy has had solid appearances against both the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays. He is 12-9 with a 3.51 in his career versus San Francisco.
Check out our Tuesday Morning MLB Odds & Betting Lines Report.
San Francisco Giants (55-69, -25.9 units)
The Giants have now dropped their last two and have lost 12 of their last 16 at home, will send Ryan Vogelsong (2-4, 6.75 ERA) to the mound. Vogelsong was chased after going only three plus innings in his last appearance when the Nationals touched him up for three runs on six hits but his team rallied in the ninth and won the game 4-3.
But before that ignominious start, Vogelsong looked sharp after being activated from the disabled list. His two starts against Washington and Baltimore were a success from his point of view though his team did lose to the Orioles 5-2. Most importantly Vogelsong looked healthy and despite his last start, should be good for five plus innings before he turns it over to his bullpen. However, the tale of this game will be told by how effective Vogelsong can be against a daunting lineup like Boston's.
I said in yesterdays preview that Tim Lincecum should be good for six innings and four earned runs which would probably put the Red Sox in the driver's seat to win the game as long as Jon Lester had a quality start. Well, Lincecum lasted only five innings and gave up five earned runs while Lester had one of his finest performances of the season which worked out fine for Sox backers like me.
I see this game pretty much the same way but I am actually leaning more towards the Sox in this one because they don't have to lick their wounds after a gut wrenching loss, pack their bags and fly 3000 miles to play the next day. Jake Peavy was once an elite pitcher but now he is superb only on occasion. Vogelsong was a wounded warrior throughout most of this season but his last appearance may indicate that all is not well. Either way, we know he won't be pitching into the ninth inning and mowing down the number one offense in all of baseball.
As we peruse the MLB odds, it's easy to see why the oddsmakers have installed the Sox as heavy road favorites but either the sharps, the public or maybe a combination of both have pushed Boston as an even heavier favorite in our MLB odds. Most online baseball betting shops opened with Boston at -145 but that has risen to as high as -160 so make sure you shop around.
I believe the Sox should tag Vogelsong early and often but in case the Giants wake up and batter Peavy (which is unlikely but possible) I am going to avoid paying all that juice and lay 1 ½ runs and pick up a dime in vig for my trouble.Free Pick: Play the Red Sox -1 ½ (+110) in your MLB picks tonight.
Monday's Series Opener
By: Swinging Johnson
Boston Red Sox (73-53, +8.9 units)
The Red Sox were in control last night until the 7th inning when the Yankees surged ahead with four runs, ultimately leading to a 9-6 victory by the visitors and trimmed Boston’s AL East lead to one game over the Rays. Tonight they are looking to John Lester to get the team back on track as they begin their six-game West Coast road trip.
Jon Lester wouldn’t mind at all if his outing tonight mirrored his last appearance against the Giants at AT&T Park. On that June afternoon in 2010, Lester pitched his way to a 5-1 victory over the same pitcher who he will be dueling this evening in Tim Lincecum. Lester allowed only five hits, struck out nine and even drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly but that’s ancient history now as Boston tries to maintain their slim lead over Tampa Bay.
Jon Lester has been solid in his last two starts, both on the road, as he surrendered only three earned runs combined to both Arizona and Toronto. However the Red Sox lost both of those games despite getting effective pitching from their southpaw. Boston has dropped five of their last seven road contests and open their three-game set tonight with the Giants before traveling to LA to face the white hot Dodgers.
San Francisco Giants (55-68, -24.9 units)
There has been no bigger fall from grace in the major leagues than the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants. All you have to do is take a look at their record to know that anyone blindly backing them this season has bet their way right into the poor house. They are down almost 25 units in MLB odds this season and hopelessly out of contention for a postseason berth.
They burned their backers again yesterday, installed as -170 road favorites by MLB odds makers, and dropped a 6-5 decision to the lowly Marlins. Hunter Pence got back on track after going 111 at-bats without a homerun. Pence blasted a two-run shot in the opening frame of yesterday’s game but the Giants could not hold the lead as they see-sawed their way to another defeat. Speaking of Hunter Pence, the Giants’ outfielder has been bashing Red Sox pitching, hitting at a .467 clip over his last eight games against the Red Sox.
Tim Lincecum takes the hill tonight for the home team and his season has been erratic to say the least. After a solid one run, six hit performance against the Rays he dazzled the Brewers, allowing only one hit over the course of eight innings of work in a Giants 4-1 victory. But just when Giants fans thought Lincecum was getting his groove back, he was torched by the Nationals in his last appearance, surrendering six runs over six innings of work in a 6-5 loss.
Both teams are coming off road losses and had to spend the day flying to San Francisco but the jet lag is worse for the Sox whose game didn’t get over until after midnight. But will that translate into a lethargic effort from Boston? It’s hard to predict but the key to this one will be John Lester. If Lester begins to cruise against a weak scoring Giants team then Boston should have no worries as they currently boast the top offense in all of major league baseball.
Free MLB Pick: Play Boston -125 at Bet365.com in your MLB picks
SBR's Jeff Grant has already posted a free pick on this game's total, but I believe that this series opener also offers value on the moneyline. I will predict that Lincecum has a middling performance tonight because he has had two excellent starts followed by a stinker against Washington in his last appearance. Lincecum is neither that good nor that bad and the line on him should be six plus innings and four earned runs. That may be all Boston needs to secure a victory for our MLB picks tonight.