This baseball handicapper analyzes the matchup and gives his MLB Pick as the Dodgers look to push their win streak to 8 games tonight against former Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum & the Giants.
The red hot Los Angeles Dodgers go on the road on Tuesday night in attempt to get their 8th win in a row against the last place team in the National League West, and defending World Series champions San Francisco Giants. The early lines have the visiting Dodgers favored at -116 on the money line, with the O/U set at 7 runs. The weather could have something to do with the O/U line, as the marine layer is supposed to be in place at game time, with the temperature sitting at 53F and over 90% humidity. Bring a jacket.
Tim Lincecum is starting for the Giants, and is a shell of his former self at this point in his career. Last year the Dodgers completely lit him up, hitting Timmy for a .362 AVG and 1.78 WHIP. One of the reasons for this decline in dominance is a correlating decline in velocity for the left hander out of Bellevue.
Take a look at his fastball velocity as his career has progressed
Graphics courtesy of fangraphs.com
I’ve pointed out in prior articles that the velocity difference between a pitcher’s fastball and his off speed offerings are indicative of success. In Lincecum’s case, his precipitous decline in fastball velocity is closing the velocity gap quickly between that pitch and his changeup. For a big league hitter, when that difference is close enough, it is simply a choice between getting a hit to right or left field –they are getting good contact on the ball nonetheless. In an attempt to adjust, Lincecum has stopped throwing his ‘fastball’ as much, and has starting throwing his 80 MPH changeup for over 30% of his pitches. This may not end well for the former Cy Young winner, but at least he got one last ring before it all fell apart.
Brett Anderson gets the start for the Dodgers, and they seem to be coddling him early in the season to avoid injury. Although clearly in command against Seattle in his last start, Anderson was pulled after only 73 pitches. But to the Dodger’s credit, Anderson’s problem has never been throwing good stuff, but the injury bug, so why play with fire? Anderson has had good success against the Giants in limited appearances, with no batter in the expected lineup registering more than one hit or a HR. Anderson has thrown nearly 70% of his pitches for strikes this year, pitching to contact and inducing ground balls at a 2 to 1 ratio over fly balls this early in the season. Even if he does give up a fly ball in AT&T Park on Tuesday night, it will be tough for the ball to carry with the weather. All of these factors favor Anderson versus the Giants lineup on Tuesday.
MLB Betting Verdict
The early MLB odds line movement in favor of the Dodgers is not only indicative of backing the team with the winning streak, it is also the play when looking at the pitching matchup itself. Unfortunately for Giants fans, their former Cy Young is just about toast in his role as a starter, and hopefully he can retain a role as a reliever in the future. Move before the public piles on, because just as obvious as it looks, taking the Dodgers on the money line at -120 is the value MLB pick on Tuesday night.
The MLB Pick: Dodgers -118 at The Greek