MLB Regular Season
Matchup: San Francisco Giants at Texas Rangers
Date/Time: August 2, 3:05 p.m. ET
Pitching Matchup: Mike Leake (9-5, 3.56) vs. Martin Perez (0-2, 10.50)
MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook
Moneyline: San Francisco -135
Mike Leake will make his San Francisco Giants debut on Sunday afternoon against the Texas Rangers. Leake’s addition sent Tim Hudson to the disabled list and those two moves worked in tandem to upgrade the Giants starting rotation. The Rangers will counter with Martin Perez, who will be making his fourth start back in his return from Tommy John surgery. The Giants are pretty significant road chalk in this game as Leake looks to start his Giants tenure off on the right foot.
The San Francisco Giants didn’t do much at the trade deadline, choosing to keep their team mostly in tact. Mike Leake was the only addition that the Giants made, though they certainly made it known that they were interested in catching bigger fish. The Giants tried to make a play for Cole Hamels, as well as David Price, but they lacked the necessary prospect depth to get a deal done. Prospect depth was not an issue for the Rangers in their trade for Cole Hamels. Hamels made his Rangers debut on Saturday. Texas is on the fringes of the wild card chase in the American League, but nobody is taking them seriously.
Mike Leake is an interesting story. The former Arizona State Sun Devil did not spend a single day in the minor leagues before making his MLB debut in 2010. Leake made five starts and one relief appearance in the Arizona Fall League in 2009 when he was drafted and then started right away with the Reds on April 11, 2010. Leake has never been a dominant pitcher, but he’s a very reliable middle of the rotation starter and that’s all that the Giants were looking for. Leake goes from a good hitter’s park to a good pitcher’s park, though his first start will come in Arlington against an American League team.
Leake upped his trade value by pitching extremely well prior to the deadline. He finished the month of June with a 4.38 ERA after the Minnesota Twins touched him up for seven runs. In five July starts, Leake posted a 1.25 ERA with five runs allowed on 23 hits in 36 innings of work. He held opposing batters to a .183/.226/.238 slash. As an impending free agent, the Reds made him available and the Giants jumped on board. Leake’s command has improved in each of the last three seasons and has posted ground ball rates above 51 percent in each of the last two seasons. He should be a reliable addition for the Giants.
Martin Perez had an impressive 2013 season, going 10-6 with a 3.62 ERA. The lefty with a plus changeup made eight starts in 2014 before being sidelined with a UCL injury. UCL means Tommy John and that meant a year of development lost for Perez. Perez has not looked good since returning from his rehab. In three starts covering 12 innings, Perez has allowed 22 hits and has walked more batters than he has struck out. Oftentimes, control and command are the last two things to show up for a pitcher off of Tommy John. It’s safe to say that those things have not shown up for Perez.
The velocity is back and improved, but he has yet to get a feel for his changeup and hitters have feasted on his bad location. Perez has allowed a .440 BABIP in the small sample size and hitters are taking some very good swings. Perez’s injury was talked about as a big blow to the Rangers, but he wasn’t all that great pre-injury anyway. His minor league numbers won’t blow you away and his 3.62 ERA in 2013 was accompanied by a 3.62 ERA, 4.23 FIP, and a 4.04 xFIP. He’s a reliable back-end of the rotation lefty, but I wouldn’t expect anything more than that any time soon.
MLB Prediction: San Francisco Giants
There are some concerns about Leake against an American League lineup in a hitter’s park, but those concerns are dwarfed by the concerns about Perez. He’s fighting to find his command right now and a trip to the minor leagues would not be a big surprise. The Giants have one of the best offenses in the National League and adding an extra bat to the mix certainly won’t hurt.