The San Francisco Giants have a lot more staying power than the betting markets are giving them credit for at this point in time. It is no fluke that the Giants are where they are in the NL West standings, yet they find themselves a big underdog yet again on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
This is a great pitching matchup with Kevin Gausman and Walker Buehler and that means a low total of 7 for this game, but what is of more interest for me is actually the fact that the Dodgers are a -145 favorite at BetOnline Sportsbook to wrap up this quick, little two-game series.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants should go viral on social media for doing a Rodney Dangerfield “No Respect” bit. San Francisco went into Monday night without losing multiple games in a row since losing three in a row to the Dodgers from May 21-23. In fact, the Giants had only lost multiple games in a row five times going into that spot on Monday night.
You have to give this team a ton of credit for winning a lot of games and leading the strongest division in baseball, at least from the standpoint of grading the three best teams in it. The Giants have been terrific at home, good on the road, and also extremely consistent. They’ve won one-run games. They’ve won in blowout fashion. They’ve rarely been blown out. They’ve actually been walked off on seven times, so those are seven games that could have gone either way.
Why the Giants keep getting priced in the sports betting markets like a second-class team is crazy. It is especially crazy with a top-five offense in baseball and an offense that got even better with the returns of Brandon Belt and Mike Yastrzemski earlier this month.
It is even crazier with Kevin Gausman on the mound tonight. Gausman heads into this start with a 1.49 ERA and a 2.39 FIP in his 96.2 innings of work. Gausman has struck out nearly 31% of batters faced and has only walked 5.5% of the batters that he has faced. He has also only allowed seven home runs. He was terrific last season and still allowed eight homers in 59.2 innings.
Career-best numbers across the board are what we’re seeing from Gausman. Maybe some in the baseball community think his numbers are simply too good. That’s perfectly fair and reasonable. The crazy thing about regression with a 1.49 ERA is that Gausman’s ERA could go up by allowing two runs in eight innings. Sure, he probably won’t run a sub-1.50 ERA the rest of the way, but Gausman is clearly a guy that has figured it out.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have had a strong offensive profile for most of the season, though they are lacking in the SLG department. They’ve made a lot of their hay on offense by drawing walks and creating offense by volume. What I mean by that is that the Dodgers are among the league leaders in plate appearances with a runner in scoring position. As a result, they’ve had more chances to drive in runs than a lot of other teams. The more chances you get, the more runs you are inevitably going to score.
Walks have been a huge part of that equation and Gausman has only issued 20 free passes out of 364 batters. The Dodgers may need to find a different approach on offense. That’s not to say that they can’t. Their struggles against lefties have lowered their overall numbers, but they’re one of the most productive offenses in baseball against right-handed pitchers. Gausman is a right-handed pitcher.
The Dodgers, even with that lack of power, entered Friday’s game as the only team in the NL scoring over five runs per game on average. The lineup is just relentless and so many guys work so many counts that it is really hard to turn the lineup over and get through innings unscathed.
Walker Buehler heads to the hill with some pretty good numbers of his own. The 26-year-old has a 2.51 ERA with a 3.69 FIP in his 96.2 innings of work. Buehler hasn’t racked up strikeouts at the same rate this season and his velocity is even down a little bit, but it hasn’t stopped him from being an effective pitcher that limits walks and still has more than enough swing and miss.
Buehler has allowed 13 homers this season, but has also only allowed 89 hits + walks on the season, so he’s been able to limit the damage those home runs have done. Ten of them have been solo homers.
Giants vs. Dodgers Free Pick
The Giants are getting disrespected again here, but if this is expected to be a low-scoring game, you do have to respect what the Dodgers have in the bullpen. The one problem for the Giants this season has been the high ERA from the bullpen. They have a good record in one-run games and have had a lot of leads to play with, but the bullpen is a little shaky.
Still, I’d take my chances with Gausman for the 1st 5. He should be able to keep the Giants at bay. Buehler probably does the same, but he has a penchant for giving up more long balls and that could make all the difference.
Pick: San Francisco Giants 1st 5