San Francisco Giants
MLB betting action simply doesn't get much better than this. After three fantastic games, the San Francisco Giants will have their chance to close out the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Game 4 of the NLDS on Monday night. The winner of this series now knows that the Philadelphia Phillies await in the NLCS after they absolutely dismantled the Cincinnati Reds in the first round of the postseason.
It's amazing to think that Game 3 might have been lost by the Braves in Game 2 when LHP Billy Wagner was deemed out for the rest of the series and the NLCS with a strained oblique. After getting no hit for five innings and shutout once again for seven, the Atlanta offense finally got a jolt from postseason veteran 3B Eric Hinske, who blasted a two run homer off of RHP Sergio Romo in the eighth inning to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead.
Normally, that would be where Wagner would've stepped in and shut the door. Not so fast.
Four pitchers ended up being used in the final inning of play for the Braves. RHP Craig Kimbrel got the first batter, issued a walk, and then got a strike out, and was just one out away from ending the game. He gave up a single before getting pulled for LHP Mike Dunn, who allowed the game tying single. RHP Peter Moylan appeared to have the inning over with on a play that should've been a can of corn, but instead, 2B Brooks Conrad committed his third error of the game to let the winning run score.
Atlanta did get one aboard in the ninth, but RHP Brian Wilson shut the door on the most improbable of victories.
With the extra game to now play with, San Fran has no worries about throwing LHP Madison Bumgarner instead of using RHP Tim Lincecum on three days of rest. Bumgarner won his final two starts of the year, allowing just one run in the process, and he hasn't been lit up for more than two runs in a game since August 25th. He went 7-6 this year with a 3.00 ERA. This will be his first career appearance against Atlanta.
The Braves, knowing that this is a do or die, have no choice but to turn back to RHP Derek Lowe for the second time in this series. He pitched well four days ago, allowing just four hits, four walks, and a run in 5.1 innings of work, but on this day, there was no stopping Lincecum, who struck out 14 and pitched a complete game shutout. Lowe did win his final five starts of the regular season to wrap up the year at 16-12, and he only conceded a total of four earned runs in those five starts.
Lowe has pitched well, and we tend to think that this is going to be too much for a rook to handle. Manager Bruce Bouchy knows that he can close this series out with his ace on the mound in a game in which he'll be a significant favorite in on Wednesday night if need be, and though he'd love to close the book on the Braves now, Atlanta will fight for its 57th home win of the year to keep manager Bobby Cox from going out a loser at home to end his career.
Selection: Atlanta Braves -140