The San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers are locked in quite a tense battle for first place in the NL West Division. With two games already in the books for this four-game series, this appears to be a key swing game, as the Giants will send Logan Webb to the mound and the Dodgers will counter with Julio Urias with the series tied 1-1.
The two teams play a three-game set at Oracle Park next week and then will only have one series left in the month of September, so these are all huge games and ones that could have a playoff-like atmosphere with the intensity level cranked up for both teams. The Dodgers are a big favorite in the -160 range here with Urias on the hill and a total of 8 at BetUS Sportsbook.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants have been the target of a lot of disrespect in the sports betting markets this season. They aren’t loaded with superstars like the other first-place teams and World Series contenders, so a lot of bettors seem to be looking for the other shoe to drop. To this point, it has not happened yet. Maybe it won’t. If you consider the statistical profile of the Giants, you can make a strong case that it shouldn’t.
San Francisco has a top-five offense and that is no fluke. A lot of veterans are putting together strong seasons and the depth guys have been able to contribute as well, but the Giants make a ton of hard contact and really try to focus on hitting for power. They aren’t letting their park be a handicap or an excuse. They are thriving in spite of it and you have to give them a ton of credit for that.
The Giants entered Tuesday’s matchup against the Dodgers fifth in wOBA, in a virtual tie with the Boston Red Sox. Their 108 wRC+ also ranked fifth in baseball. The Dodgers were just two points ahead of them at .331 and then a little bit better in the wRC+ department.
The Giants hit for more power, but the Dodgers have walked a little bit more. That is the only discernible difference between the two offenses, yet the Dodgers are the odds-on favorite to win the division, while the Giants get disrespected with big lines such as this one for Wednesday night.
Logan Webb has dealt with some injuries this season and has been limited to 56 innings, but he has pitched extremely well while he’s been out there. Webb has a 3.54 ERA with a 3.14 FIP in his 11 starts and one relief appearance. He’s struck out well over a batter per inning and has some very nice peripherals, including a 59.2% GB%. He was out from May 29 to July 9, but has only allowed one run on six hits in his last seven innings.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers do boast a top-five offense and do have one of the highest walk rates in baseball. Entering play on Tuesday, the Dodgers were one-tenth of a percentage point behind the Yankees for the highest BB% in the league. They entered Tuesday’s game six home runs behind the Giants for second place in the HR department, but were 10 points behind in SLG.
It is kind of amazing to see Los Angeles as such a big favorite in these head-to-head meetings when the two teams have so many similarities. Even the bullpens are pretty similar now, as the Giants pen has improved as the season has gone along. The Dodgers have a 3.55 ERA with a 3.84 FIP and the Giants have a 3.27 ERA with a 3.92 FIP. The Giants have the lowest BB% in baseball as bullpen, whereas the Dodgers are in the bottom half of the league.
Maybe Julio Urias is what seems to be swinging the balance for this line. Urias has a 3.78 ERA with a 3.63 FIP in his 112 innings of work. It looked like the southpaw was getting a little bit fatigued before the All-Star Break, as he had a 4.50 ERA with a 4.40 FIP over his last eight starts.
Urias picked up right where he left off and allowed four runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings in Denver on July 16. It was a tough first assignment to have to go and play at Coors Field right away, but them’s the breaks and Urias struggled a bit in that outing. We’ll see if he fares better at home here, where he has a higher ERA and wOBA than on the road.
Giants vs. Dodgers Free Pick
The Giants keep getting disrespected in this head-to-head series. We saw a huge line move against them on Monday in a winning effort and then the Dodgers were a big favorite with Josiah Gray making his MLB debut on Tuesday. Logan Webb’s numbers, albeit in a smaller sample, are on par with those of Julio Urias. Urias struggled late in the first half. The Giants bullpen is right there with the Dodgers bullpen. It has to be San Francisco at this price point.
Pick: San Francisco Giants