This is a difficult matchup to handicap, as the San Francisco Giants seem to be putting the pieces together this season, while the Los Angeles Dodgers are atop the National League West.
The Los Angeles Dodgers Can Win Because…
If you look at Los Angeles starter Carlos Frias, you won’t see a lot of innings pitched, but you’ll see a low ERA of 2.89. You’ll also see a pitcher who doesn’t give up big scoring innings and pitches around hits. Frias has not given up more than three runs in any outing this season. He pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief against the San Francisco Giants on April 27. He’s allowed a total of only four walks in 18 2/3 innings, and he’s never allowed more than one walk in any appearance. He’s been consistent and effective, just not overpowering.
The other reason to pick the Dodgers here is that San Francisco starter Tim Hudson, who is 39 years old and will turn 40 in July, is showing signs of wearing down with age. He has given up at least three runs in each of his last six starts. He gave up at least five runs in two of those starts. On May 7 against Miami, he gave up six runs on a whopping 15 hits in 6 2/3 innings. It’s incredibly rare for any pitcher to stay in a game long enough to give up 15 hits in one outing, but Hudson did. He appears to be the victim of overwork, and in his most recent start on May 13 against the Houston Astros, Hudson lasted only 5 1/3 innings. The Dodgers have a very realistic chance of being able to rough up Hudson in this game, setting the tone they want.
The San Francisco Giants Can Win Because…
They’re gaining momentum and will be going up against a starting pitcher who really hasn’t shown that he can be durable and resilient over the course of a full regular season. First of all, the Giants won three out of four in a weekend series in Cincinnati against the Reds. They won close games and blowouts, and they scored a total of 33 runs in the four games, an average of just over eight runs per game. They scored 10, 11 and 9 runs in their last three games, all wins. They have shown the kind of awakening on offense that could power them through this series and this game in particular.
The other thing to point out about this game is that Los Angeles starter Carlos Frias has pitched more than five innings only one time this season. That’s an awfully small sample size, and it should raise questions about his ability to get through six or seven innings in this game. The Giants, with their hot bats, could knock Frias out of the box.
The Dodgers have an unproven pitcher and the Giants have an aging, weakening pitcher. It’s a coin flip, but the Giants are a hot hitting team and can rough up Frias. That means the over is the best play for your MLB picks in this one.
MLB Pick: Over at The Greek