San Francisco returns home from a six-game East Coast road trip Friday to host Arizona for the first of three, the last time the NL West teams will play until after the All-Star break. The Giants are -175 MLB odds favorites on BetOnline with a total of 6.5.
Giants Can't Get Healthy
I really have no idea how the Giants are keeping pace with the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the NL West. They have been without starting pitcher Jake Peavy since mid-April as well as fellow starter Matt Cain all season. The good news is both are nearing returns as Cain threw 55 pitches in his minor-league rehab at Double-A on Tuesday, and Peavy will pitch his next Saturday in Triple-A. He probably will have one more after that. One guy keeping the Giants afloat has been rookie right-hander Chris Heston, who had the biggest moment in baseball thus far in 2015 when he threw a no-hitter at the Mets on Tuesday night. He didn't walk anyone but hit three batters (most HBP in a no-hitter) and struck out a career-high 11, including all three guys in the ninth. Heston didn't top 91 mph once in that game so it proves you don't need to be a flame-thrower to be a success.
The Giants offense is just so-so but will be without two outfielders for a while. Gregor Blanco, who is generally the fourth outfielder, was put on the seven-day concussion list Wednesday. He was hurt rather embarrassingly, hit on the head by a throw from first baseman Brandon Belt during those in-between innings infield warm-ups on Sunday in Philadelphia. Blanco is batting .278 with one home run and seven RBIs in 48 games. The bigger loss is Hunter Pence, who is headed back to the DL. He didn't start this season until mid-May after breaking his forearm early in spring training on a HBP. He hasn't played since June 2 because of a sore left wrist. Pence is the Giants' second-best offensive player behind catcher Buster Posey and is hitting .282 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 18 games.
As for Arizona? Expect more trades. The Diamondbacks already kicked off the fire sale by dealing slugger Mark Trumbo to Seattle last week for catcher Welington Castillo and prospects. They didn't need Trumbo as the team shifted Yasmany Tomas to his right-field spot once third baseman Jake Lamb was activated off the disabled list. Probably every Arizona player would be available in a trade other than Tomas, Paul Goldschmidt (having another MVP-caliber season) and young pitcher Archie Bradley (back on the DL). The Diamondbacks had the No. 1 overall pick in this week's amateur draft and took Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson. He won't help this season.
One bright spot for Arizona this season has been the pitching of second-year right-hander Chase Anderson (1-1, 3.12). You see those two decisions and think maybe he was just recently called up, but Anderson had made 11 starts so he has to lead the majors in no-decisions. His only victory came May 20 in Miami. Anderson pitched well enough to win last time out vs. the Mets, allowing a run and striking out six over 5.2 innings. This will be his first career start vs. the Giants. Anderson is 1-0 with a 2.97 ERA in six road starts and batters are hitting .268 off him. The Diamondbacks are just 1-9 at sportsbooks like 5Dimes in his past 10 on the road.
It's ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner (7-2, 3.38) for San Francisco and presumably he will be an All-Star. He had a weird outing last time out, allowing just six hits over eight innings and striking out 11 in Philadelphia, but he allowed five runs and two homers in getting the win. It's the first time he allowed more than four runs since April 16 against these Diamondbacks when Bumgarner allowed four runs and two homers over seven innings in a no-decision at home. He also pitched in Arizona on Opening Day and allowed a run and six hits over seven innings in a win. Goldschmidt is hitting just .194 off him but does have two doubles, two homers and six RBIs. Aaron Hill is 7-for-30 with three doubles, two homers and six RBIs. San Francisco is 6-1 in MLB betting in Bumgarner's past seven against Arizona.
MLB Free Picks: That weakened San Francisco offense is concerning, so certainly go 'under' the total with your MLB picks here. The 'under' is 5-1 in Anderson's past six on the road and 4-0 in Bumgarner's past four vs. the NL West. Clearly lean Bumgarner on the moneyline. The Giants have won six straight on Fridays.