Two MLB Picks for Dodgers vs. Giants Game 1

Matthew Jordan

Friday, July 25, 2014 1:54 PM GMT

It's baseball's West Coast version of Yankees-Red Sox whenever the Dodgers and Giants meet. The two NL West contenders start a three-game series Friday at AT&T Park with the Dodgers opening as -110 favorites on MLB odds with a total of 6.5 runs.

Who Wins The West?
San Francisco enters this series with a 1.5-game lead over Los Angeles. However, the Dodgers are -250 favorites at sportsbooks to win the West with San Francisco at -110. The other three division teams are already looking toward next season. That obviously should benefit whichever of the Dodgers or Giants don't win the division because they can beat up on the Diamondbacks, Padres and Rockies to improve their wild-card chances. This could go down to the wire, with San Francisco visiting Los Angeles in the penultimate series of the regular season Sept. 22-24. Both teams have pretty weak September schedules otherwise as they are both NL West heavy.

Somehow the rivals haven't played since May 11. The Giants lead the season series 7-3 and are 2-1 at home. Brandon Belt leads Giants hitters with a .333 average against L.A. this year and has a home run and four knocked in. Hunter Pence is hitting .300 with a dinger and six runs scored. Buster Posey is at .270 with a homer and four RBIs. For the Dodgers, Andre Ethier is hitting .400 against Giants pitching with a homer and four RBIs. Yasiel Puig is batting .333 with two homers. Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez each have three home runs vs. San Francisco in 2014.

 

Injury Report
The Giants remain without two regulars who are on the disabled list: Belt and outfielder Angel Pagan. Belt is on the seven-day concussion list and was eligible to be activated Sunday but clearly will be out longer as he still is dealing with post-concussion symptoms. Pagan is the team's leading hitter at .307 but has been limited to 63 games due to injuries. He's targeting early August in his return from back troubles. The Giants aren't exactly a dominant offense even with them, so they are big losses.

As for the Dodgers, Ramirez is hurt again, this time a hand/wrist injury. He was hit in the left hand Sunday by Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal and hasn't been able to take batting practice since. He's obviously a long shot to play Friday or perhaps this entire series. Puig seems like a decent shot to play Friday. He hasn't started a game since July 19 because of his own hand issue but did pinch-hit on Wednesday. Puig also took batting practice, and with Thursday's day off I'd expect him in there Friday.

 

Probable Pitchers
It's a matchup of former Cy Young winners. Right-hander Zack Greinke gets the call for the Dodgers. Greinke (11-6, 2.90) looked like a legit contender for the Cy Young this season for a while as he got off to a great start, but he has come back to earth a bit. He has lost back-to-back starts for the first time this year, allowing four runs over 5.2 innings, walking five, in a defeat at St. Louis on July 19, and three runs over seven innings at Detroit in his final start before the All-Star Break. This will be Greinke's first home start since June 28, and he's 6-1 with a 2.73 ERA at Dodger Stadium.

Greinke has pretty much had his way with the Giants this season, going 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts. He has struck out 16 and allowed 13 hits over 13 innings. Keep an eye on the first inning here as Greinke has allowed 12 first-inning runs this season, the most of any inning. Pence has two home runs and three RBIs in 16 career at-bats off Greinke. Posey is 4-for-12 with two RBIs against him. Marco Scutaro is 9-for-23 with four doubles and four RBIs.

Tim Lincecum starts for San Francisco. Lincecum (9-6, 3.65) has had a nice bounce-back season after two disappointing ones. Maybe that big offseason extension wasn't quite the mistake it looked to be for the Giants. Lincecum had a career first when he took the mound Tuesday. He pitched two-thirds of an inning in San Francisco's 9-6 14-inning win in Philly. Lincecum got the save, his first ever. He was the team's ninth pitcher of the night. He also has had five straight quality starts, which began with his June 25 no-hitter against the Padres. His season ERA has dropped from 4.90 over that time.

The "Freak" has faced the Dodgers once in 2014, holding them to one run over five innings on April 15. Matt Kemp might take a seat for this one. He is just a career .196 hitter off Lincecum with 18 strikeouts in 46 at-bats. Dee Gordon is only 1-for-16 off him. Ethier does OK, hitting .275 with two home runs, three doubles and seven RBIs in 51 at-bats.

 

Free MLB picks: Dodgers -110 on MLB betting odds and the 'under' 6.5 runs. This is a tough game for the Giants as they had to travel across country after losing in Philadelphia on Thursday, while the Dodgers were resting. So I'm disregarding that the Giants are 7-1 in Lincecum's past eight starts vs. L.A. or that the Dodgers are 1-6 in Greinke's past seven on the road. The Total went 'under' is 4-0 in the past four meetings in San Francisco.

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