MLB handicapper, LT Profits, shares his free MLB picks for the World Series Game 5 between Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants.
Even though this a battle of aces rematch from Game 1, we still expect another ‘over’ on Sunday when right-hander James Shields and the Kansas City Royals (99-75, 52-35 away) pay a visit to red-hot southpaw Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants (98-78, 50-38 home) in Game 5 of the World Series from AT&T Stadium in San Francisco, CA at 8:07 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX with the series now tied 2-2.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 6½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at a positive +111.
Giants Bats Explode
The Giants’ evened up this series at 2-2 by being the winning Game 4 MLB picks last night, erasing an early 4-1 deficit before erupting for the 11-4 win while belting out 16 hits. Bettors that have been attempting to scalp this series as it has been going along are probably very happy right now, as the Giants had a consensus line of around +210 to win this World Series before Game 4, and they are now around a -125 favorite with the Royals now around +105.
And what was most disconcerting about Saturday’s game from a Royals’ perspective was that the Giants teed off on the great Kansas City bullpen that was pitching lights out and leading all playoff teams in post-season pen ERA entering the game. That Royals’ bullpen was charged with eight earned runs in only four innings of work with rookie Brandon Finnegan taking the loss. This dropped Kansas City from first to fourth in playoff bullpen ERA at 2.91.
Not Pitching Like and Ace
While there is really no evidence that the meltdown of the KC pen last night was anything more than a one-time anomaly, the continued struggles of the man thry call “Big Game Shields” during this post-season is starting to become a bigger concern. And those struggles began again immediately when Shields allowed three runs in the first inning of Game 1, ultimately leaving after being charged with five earned runs on seven hits in just three innings.
Shields was a bona fide ace during the regular season as he would have had much better than a 14-8 record if the Kansas City offense was not almost non-existent before the All-Star break. He finished with a 3.21 ERA and a very good ratio of 180 strikeouts vs. 44 walks. However, he did allow 23 home runs with 16 of those dingers coming on the road.
Unfortunately, Shields has yet to pitch as well as he did during the season yet during these playoffs, as he is rather fortunate to be 1-1 considering his 7.11 ERA and 1.79 WHIP over four starts covering 19 innings. Perhaps the worst part of Shields’s post-season was that he took the Game 1 start on 10 days rest and still showed no improvement after it was believed that his struggles in his first three playoff starts could have been attributed to overwork.
Mad Bum Blazing
Bumgarner has probably been the Giants’ MVP during this post-season and he is already making his sixth start. Things began when Bumgarner tossed a Complete Game four-hit shutout in the National League Wild Card Playoff Game vs. the Pirates in Pittsburgh, and he has not slowed down since while going 3-1 with a spiffy 1.40 ERA and 33 strikeouts vs. six walks in 38.2 innings over the five starts.
However, take not of the low posted total for this game, and if Shields continues to struggle for the Royals, then Bumgarner may not even need to allow more than a few runs to push this game ‘over’. Yes he allowed just one run on three hits in seven innings in Game 1 with the run coming on a solo home run by Salvador Perez, but remember that the Royals were mostly unfamiliar with him and might be able to make the necessary adjustments facing him the second time.
Also, Bumgarner has to start showing signs of fatigue soon with this being his sixth highly pressurized start in such a short span, doesn’t he?
Going ‘over’ in Post-Season Home Games
Despite AT&T Park being a pronounced pitcher’s stadium, the result last night now makes the ‘over’ 16-5 in the Giants’ last 21 home post-season games. Furthermore the ‘over’ is also 13-6 in Bumgarner’s last 19 starts overall with the total set at 6½ or lower regardless of the time of year.
With another low total and given Shields’s recent struggles, look for those Bumgarner and San Francisco ‘over’ trends to both continue at home in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday.
Free MLB Pick: Royals, Giants ‘over’ 6½ (+111)